I just spent a few days in Lisbon (Portugal) to meet with software CEOs, entrepreneurs and VCs. What is most striking when you get there is that the city, just like elsewhere in Portugal, is completely turned towards international business.
With the financial crisis still in every mind, I was interested to know what software CEOs and VCs were actually thinking of the situation and how they adapt, survive and possibly thrive.
In spite of Portugals huge debt, cost reduction and suffering GDP, CEOs remain optimistic. In a small country, you have to think global. Growth is flat here! said Carlos, a software CEO. Thus a significant percentage of software company revenue is international. Each company is turned towards Spain, a natural sales partner, and Europe - but more and more towards Brazil, seen as a new, but tough, Eldorado. Despite a cultural advantage, Brazil is not an easy market and not Europeanized, said a VC. From an M&A standpoint, Portuguese companies could represent probably the best entry to Brazil for strategic buyers, he concludes.
With more than 200 years of world commerce domination, there is a lot to learn from Portugal.