Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


Six Portuguese startups  presented their business projects to venture capital funds in China, in an online session held on Wednesday to “open doors” to investment in the Guangdong Hong Kong Macau Greater Bay Area.

"We are looking for investment and knowledge, especially in the Chinese market, where we have no contacts. We are looking for someone to establish that bridge”, said Gabriela Gonçalves, representative of ProBio Vaccine, a Portuguese company that develops oral vaccines for fish in aquaculture, during the “928 Invest Connect Grater Bay Area” session.


Renee Pan, from the Gobi China investment fund, was one of the speakers to approach the Portuguese company, asking whether the strategy for entering the Asian giant could involve “alliances with local companies”.


Gabriela Gonçalves  stressed that Chinese partners can provide support with information and “establish platforms to incorporate the vaccine into fish food, supplying it to local farmers”.


Still according to the Portuguese entrepreneur, “China is a great entry point” for the ProBio Vaccine products, not least because the country’s aquaculture sector “has losses of more than 1.2 billion dollars [1.15 billion dollars]. euros] due to fish diseases”.

Among the companies present at the session was Inclita Seaweed Solutions (ISS), a marine biotechnology business that develops functional ingredients based on seaweed extracts.


Approached by Gobi China, José Sarmento, the company’s product and market development technician, considered that one of the competitive advantages of ISS is “the innovative approach to the extraction method”.


ProBio Vaccine and ISS are two of the six finalists of the “928 Challenge”, a competition for ‘startups’ between Portuguese-speaking countries and China, Marco Rizzolio, co-founder of 928, explained to Lusa.


“We took the best Portuguese [‘startups’] that were in the finals and created this post-event”, noted Rizzolio, noting that the idea is “to open doors” to candidates for the Chinese market.


“For anyone in the world of ‘startups’, you know that attracting investment is very complicated, the process is difficult, it’s a very closed world”, he stressed.


Marco Rizzolio also hopes that the AICEP Global, Portugal’s  Trade & Investment Agency , one of the co-organizers of this exchange of contacts, will be able to present the companies to investors in China, “the second largest market in the world for equity risk”.


Mário Ferreira, director of AICEP in Guangzhou, capital of the province of Guangzhou, assumed himself as “a kind of engineer who wants to build new bridges between Portugal and China” and expressed willingness to support Portuguese companies in the dialogue.


According to the organization, this was the “first contact between Portuguese teams [of ‘startups’] and investors in the Greater Bay Area”.