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Beta-Start: the acceleration program wraps up with 17 startups ready to support tourism’s recovery

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The innovation consultancy Beta-i and Turismo de Portugal support the development of new projects in the industry.

LISBON - Beta-Start, the pre-acceleration program for startups developed by the collaborative innovation consultancy Beta-i, has just finished its edition dedicated to tourism with the support of Turismo de Portugal (Portugal’s Tourism). After three months of intensive work, a group of 17 startups from 11 countries, in the pre-seed or seed phase, received mentoring from Beta-I, experts, and special guests, to transform their ideas into a structured business model, valid and prepared to start operating in the market.

As part of the Shift to Start - Tourism Edition initiative, the project comes at a time when the tourism industry needs new business models, services, and digitalization more than ever. To intensify the development of pilot projects in the sector, 17 startups, selected from 55 applications, participated in three intensive boot camps over 90 days, 24 workshops, and dozens of training sessions with 25 mentors, to learn how to validate their potential solutions in the market, design a customer-oriented business model, test and structure their revenue and cost models, and finally build presentations for customers and investors.

Five finalists were then selected to present their business to a group of potential clients and investors composed of NEST - Tourism Innovation Center, Turismo de Portugal, and LC Ventures, Portugal Ventures, and Core Angels. Among them were the Portuguese Borasurf, a platform that allows surfers and travelers to discover the local surf community and expand their network, and the Family Workstation, a program designed to help parents travel with their children while working remotely, ensuring all the logistics of childcare. The finalists also included Germany's Itinderary, which wants to help travelers make decisions with the ease of a swipe on a cell phone, Israel's Pinsteps, which offers a new form of communication between travelers and travel guides / bloggers through digital services, and the winner of the program, Spain's DisVoize, which developed an application that allows tourists to follow audio guides through their cell phones and headsets, thus reducing the risks of contagion in times of pandemic caused by shared equipment.

According to Eduardo Sette Câmara, Head of Acceleration at Beta-i, "we are proud to celebrate the end of the first edition of Beta-Start dedicated to the Tourism sector, in a moment as crucial as the one we are living in. We have successfully brought together a group of startups with digital solutions that can support the recovery of this industry and solve some of today's biggest challenges, such as promoting low-touch interaction at all points of the tourist journey, creating increasingly circular and green services, integrating tourism into the new remote working mode, and promoting rural areas and local products. Through this intensive program, they are now ready to start closing deals with partners we have established and create pilot projects with real impact on the market."

According to Sérgio Guerreiro, Coordinating Director of the Portuguese Tourism Knowledge Management Department, "this program was an excellent opportunity to understand how we can build a better future for the Tourism sector in Portugal. We are going through a period in which we should take the opportunity to develop tools that will help us overcome these challenges and make the sector more resilient, and the startup ecosystem has proven, once again, its value during these last three months of intensive work."

The group of participants in the 1st edition also included other Portuguese solutions, such as Lisbon's Be Present, an online store of high-quality local products for unique and sustainable gifts, Faro's Let's go World, which is a platform that allows planning and booking a trip with just one click, Quarteira's Meduse, a platform that creates tailor-made trips based only on the user's interests and destination, Lisbon's MobiFast, Lisbon's Mobiast, an application that aggregates all shared mobility applications and allows you to unlock vehicles and make payments to different companies in a single app, and More than Workout, a company that wants decrease the seasonality of different locations in the country by organizing sports events, and Siberfy, a platform that connects everyone interested in fitness, either in your hometown or in different locations during the vacations.

The Shift to Start - Tourism Edition draws on Beta-i's 10-year track record and accumulated experience in mentoring, business development, ecosystem acceleration, and collaborative innovation. Responsible for the conception and management of the Lisbon Challenge considered one of the Top 10 best acceleration programs in Europe for several years, the consultancy also has a strong experience in the Tourism sector, with the development of programs and events such as The Journey, Lisbon Tourism Summit and SOL Mobility.

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