Lancelot LDN’s Strategy for European Growth

All media and tech companies are looking for growth, and supporting that growth has been Lancelot LDN’s mission from day one.  We provide a Growth As A Service model for media and tech companies, developing scalable sales operations and marketing infrastructure to support accelerated growth into Europe, reducing local hiring costs and expansion overheads by 60%.

But let’s look at how we got here.

1.  The Entry Point

 

All media and tech companies are looking for growth, and very often that means looking at INTERNATIONAL Growth and breaking new markets.

One of the critical steps to tap into new markets is breaking into Europe.  And in Europe, the UK is the biggest and most strategic market to break, with Global CEO’s ranking it as 3rd most important country for investment, jointly with Germany, behind only US and China.  In fact, despite recent political turmoil and Brexit, business bosses are ever more bullish about UK in PwC’s 26th annual Global CEO Survey:  Only 9% selected UK as growth market in 2020, now up to 18%.

This is the first key market reality behind Lancelot LDN, which initially led to our existence:  deliver a London based headquarters to our clients

 

2.  Follow The Money

 

A decade ago, the global financial crisis and high unemployment rates led many Portuguese individuals and entrepreneurs to seek opportunities outside of the country’s limited economy. The small domestic market also compelled startups to focus on global expansion from the outset. However, today the situation has changed. Portugal not only boasts a thriving community of domestic tech companies, but it is also attracting foreign investment and talent in the tech sector. The government and local entrepreneurs are actively providing support and resources to foster innovation and continue this growth. Portugal has invested heavily in its economy in recent years, which has helped to spur a digital based economic revival.

Portugal has been the fastest-growing European tech hub since 2017 until the market growth was interrupted by the pandemic. But 2021 has already been the year of recovery for Portugal’s software market.

Sherlock Holmes used to say that if you want to solve a mystery, you should follow the money.  And the money clearly indicates the Portuguese Tech Boom:

  • Home Heroes
    • Online luxury fashion platform Farfetch, coding software provider OutSystems and cloud-based contact centre Talkdesk where the first to put Portugal on the technology map. 
    • A new cohort of startups are coming through the ranks, with companies such as Unbabel and Uniplaces growing rapidly.  For a country of 10m people, Portugal has produced a rather impressive number of large tech businesses for its size.
    • Startups based in Lisbon are worth  €2.1 billion as of 2022 – a three-fold increase from half a decade ago.
  • Investment
    • Last year, Lisbon welcomed its highest ever number of foreign investments in the software & IT industry, the sixth year of growth in this regard.
    • The city’s venture capital market has increased fourfold in volume of transactions, compared to 2017.
    • Attracting non-EU tech talent to Portugal has become easier thanks to Portugal’s Startup Visa and incentives for returning expats (50% income tax discount).
    • Foreign investors also gain from Portugal’s non-habitual tax resident regime, essentially a ten year tax break for skilled professionals living in Portugal.
    • The arrival of the incubators (Lisbon now has some 32 of these).
  • Talent
    • Companies like Cloudflare, Google and others have chosen Lisbon as a base:  Lisbon’s tech growth has been tremendous and [the city] is doing a great job of attracting talent. It has the potential to be the next great European technology ecosystem… We chose Lisbon because of its strong tech talent, quality of life, time zone and political stability,” says John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer of Cloudflare.
    • The location and time zone of the country are advantageous for international travel. Being the closest European country to the US and Canada, it supports easy accessibility for international travel. The country has only a one-hour time difference from Central European Time and shares the same time zone as the United Kingdom, which makes it convenient for scheduling meetings and conducting business with both European and North American partners.
    • Educated and diverse tech talent at a competitive cost.
    • Portugal ranks 26th out of 63 countries in the World Talent Ranking, with a talented tech workforce of 90,000 programmers. Although this number may not be the highest in Europe, Portuguese developers have a strong technical education, excellent proficiency in English, and hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies, making them a valuable asset to any company.
    • The Global Skills Report 2021 highlights that Portuguese developers possess advanced skills in computer networking, database development, and software engineering. Additionally, according to HackerRank, Portuguese developers are among the most skilled in Java, SQL, and Python.
    • Not only do they possess top-notch technical skills and a strong educational background, but the cost to hire software developers in Portugal is also relatively low.
    • The city is attracting an increasing number of foreign residents for four consecutive years, resulting in about 90,000 new arrivals in 2019.
    • The city is known for its reputation in attracting and retaining talent and is quickly becoming a leading technology ecosystem in Europe, often referred to as “the California of Europe” or “the warm Berlin.”
  • Events
    • Lisbon attracts a plethora of International events given its infrastructure, location and climate.
    • The most relevant of which is the Web Summit, the largest and most important global tech conference. The latest edition gathered roughly 80,000 attendees, including some 2,000 startups and 1,500 investors.

This is the second market trend driving Lancelot LDN’s growth;  tap into the digital ecosystem in Lisbon, extending it’s benefits to our clients.

3.  The Result

 

As a result of these two strategic directions we have setup headquarters in London and Lisbon, looking to service our clients across Europe.  We currently run operations from two hubs:

London

  • The European HQ for Lancelot LDN
  • UK Commercial and Operations Team
  • Client teams

Lisbon

  • The European Commercial and Operations Team
  • Marketing Team

The difficulty for an incoming player is that Europe is a highly fragmented territory, despite the (mostly) common marketplace.  They will absolutely need local market experts to succeed and that is where Lancelot LDN comes in.   Our ambition is clear:  to help our clients achieve a 60% reduction in local hiring costs and expansion overheads for their European operation.