Startup Pirates is a one-week program that enables aspiring entrepreneurs to get inside the startup world and learn how to develop a business idea. I had a chat with Inês Santos Silva, co-founder of the program. Here’s what she had to say.
What were the reasons behind the creation of Startup Pirates?
In 2011, when we looked at the entrepreneurship scene in Portugal and in Europe we realized that access to business tools that could be used by entrepreneurs was not easy. Universities weren’t paying close attention to entrepreneurship and clearly not preparing students to create their own company. Tools like the business model canvas and methodologies like Customer Development and Lean Start were just starting to become mainstream, and we saw an opportunity to democratize the access to these tools with a very hands-on approach.
You are present in 17 cities, in 9 countries. Are there further expansion plans?
It’s true that we already had programs in 9 countries and right now we are working with teams in 16 countries, mainly in Europe and South America, to soon have programs there. But we don’t want to stop here. We have plans to expand even further to more countries and cities. We are working hard to get there.
What are the main advantages for startups taking your program?
We don’t work with startups. We work with individuals that have an idea or want to understand better how to create a company. We position ourselves as a pre-accelerator where individuals have access to workshops, mentoring and a space to develop ideas. Some on them eventually create startups after the program, others don’t. Startup Pirates is the perfect kick-start for any idea.
What’s the main quality an entrepreneur must have to drive a startup to success?
I really believe in the importance of hard-work. Most successful entrepreneurs I know work really hard to build their companies. However, hard-work is not enough. Vision, leadership skills and commitment are essential for anyone that wants to start a company.
You have set a Pirate Code, a kind of code of conduct. Of all the items, which one do you find the most important?
It’s almost impossible to pick one. All of them make sense and are very aligned with what we believe at Startup Pirates. But I truly believe that passion drives us. So my favorite is: “Every Pirate shall be passionate. The passion for what we do is what set us apart from surrenders.”
How do you see the startup landscape in Europe and, in particular, in Portugal?
Over the past 3 years there was a boom in the startup scene, not only in Portugal but almost everywhere in Europe. Clearly some cities are more developed, like London, Berlin, Paris or Dublin, but cities like Porto, Lisboa, Milan, Budapest or Barcelona are becoming more and more interesting.
When I look at the Portuguese startup scene it’s unbelievable how much it evolved and matured over the past couple of years. The big accelerators are looking at Portugal as a very interesting pipeline, we see more and more startups getting investment, and the only thing missing is a success story. As soon as we have that, Portugal officially becomes a tech hub.
What startup is currently on your radar and why?
I see so many great startups and entrepreneurs around me, that is difficult to pick one or two. However, since you insist I’m going to mentioned two that are lead by female entrepreneurs: Talkdesk and Asap54. Great startups, great teams and working on huge markets.
To find out more about Startup Pirates visit http://startuppirates.org/