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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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New Technology Enterprises – NEOTEC Initiative

The NEOTEC Initiative – New Technology-based Enterprises supports the creation of technology-based companies with growth potential by higher education students and researchers in particular.

The New Technological Enterprises (NEOTEC) initiative was designed and is monitored by Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), is funded by UMIC and the Knowledge Society Operational Programme, and is implemented by the AdI – Innovation Agency (site in Portuguese).

116 NEOTEC enterprise initiatives (site in Portuguese) have already been approved since mid-2005, of which 61 have been completely set up.

There are several characteristics of this selection of enterprise initiatives that are worth mentioning:

  • The entrepreneurs have high-level qualifications: 448 have higher education degrees, including 174 PhDs and 114 master’s.
  • Recruitment forecasts for the next five years for this selection of enterprises indicate that they will create jobs for a further 154 PhD degree holders, 175 master’s degree holders and 565 graduates.
  • 76% of the entrepreneurial teams include both people with academic experience and partners with experience of working in enterprises.
  • 65% of the new entrepreneurs have international professional experience.
  • 57% of the enterprises being set up include academics who were trained or who have worked in R&D institutions abroad.
  • 26% of the entrepreneurial teams include people who have gained entrepreneurial experience in international enterprises.
  • The core technology of 65% of the projects setting up enterprises is protected, or is in the process of gaining protection, through patents or copyright.
  • Finding partners for funding through taking a stake in the shareholder risk capital is an objective for more than 50% of the entrepreneurial projects.
  • 20% of the entrepreneurial projects have already found partners to invest and 32% already have entrepreneur partners.

A range of Portuguese technology-based SMEs were set up in the area of ICT from universities and/or research centres, chiefly during the 1995-2002 period, and have enjoyed high growth and are now significant international players. Examples of these are:

  • Chipidea is the top global supplier for silicon analogue/mixed-signal microelectronics intellectual property (IP), aimed at rapid growth market segments in wireless and fixed communications, and consumer digital electronics and content. According to the data for 2005, it tops the world ranking in both analogue/mixed-signal IP and data conversion, coming in second in the world for USB and Audio/Power/RF PI, with global market shares of 20%, 22%, 19% and 19% respectively. Annual growth is 41%, 53%, 105% and 102% respectively. It employs some 312 people in different locations around the globe, including more than 260 engineers, of whom 18 hold PhDs and 52 MScs. It was founded in February 1997 by three professors from the Electrotechnic and Computer Engineering Department at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), with R&D activities at the Telecommunications Institute based at IST. Chipidea has enjoyed double-digit annual growth, joining the group of the 500 European enterprises with the highest growth, and is financed by cutting-edge investors in technological areas. Based in Portugal, it has engineering centres in Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Poland (Gdansk), Belgium (Leuven), China (Macao, Suzhou), Norway (Trondheim) and France (Caen), and has continuously attracted and retained talented engineers of strategic importance for projecting world-class analogue/mixed-signal circuits and systems that satisfy the requirements of today’s demanding consumer products. It has professional marketing services and backup organisations in the USA (Newark-New Jersey, Austin-Texas, Carlsbad-California, Campbell-California), in several European countries (Portugal-Lisbon, United Kingdom, Ireland, Paris-France, Leuven-Belgium), in Israel (Tel Aviv), in China (Suzhou, Taiwan), in Japan (Tokyo), in South Korea (Seoul) and in Singapore in order to ensure it is in sync with current requirement trends that designers need for world-class products. In 2005, it received the 1st Entrepreneurship Award of the INSEAD Alumni Association, and the CMS Gold Award of the Year 2005 for developing a high-speed, high-performance sub-micron analogue-digital converter in the scope of its cooperation with CERN – European Nuclear Research Center (CERN), and in 2003 it received the World Quality Commitment International Star Award (WQCISA) in Paris. In August 2007, Chipidea was incorporated in the MIPS Technology Group, based in the USA and which is the second biggest IP semiconductor design company in the world and the biggest in analogue IP after purchasing Chipidea, the global market leader for independent analogue and mixed signal IP independent suppliers. MIPS was founded in 1984 by John Hennessy, professor and now President of Stanford University, who at the time led the field in RISC processors. MIPS is number 1 in a huge array of high-volume, high-growth market segments: Cable modems (95%), cable STB (76%), commercial colour copiers (73%), VoIP applications (72%), DVD recorders (70%), colour laser printers (62%), digital TV (59%), WLAN access (55%), DSL modems (52%), Internet Backbone (40%), satellite STB (30%).
  • Novabase was set up in May 1989 by a small group of researchers from the IST - Instituto Superior Técnico and the INESC – Systems and Computer Engineering Institute, initially working in the information systems area. It employed 1,650 people at the beginning of 2008. Its turnover was 313 million Euros in 2007, after growing 20% from 2006 to 2007 and 16% from 2005 to 2006. Its business areas are: Consulting (Financial Services, Government & Healthcare, Telecommunications & Media, Business & IT Consulting, Advanced Custom Development, Business Intelligence, Enterprise Applications & Integration and Multisourcing Services), Engineering (IT Infrastructures, Ticketing & Transport Solutions), Digital TV (cable TV, High Definition TV, Mobile Content) and Capital (Risk Capital). Novabase has been on Europe’s 500 list since 2000, which is a ranking of the European companies that are growing the fastest and creating the most jobs (217th in 2007, 98th in 2006, 141st in 2005, 123rd in 2004, 15th in 2003).
  • yDreams is a technology solutions company that was founded in June 2000 by internationally-renowned specialists in information technology, image processing, geographic information systems and environmental engineering. It developed from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa’s Faculty of Sciences and Technology and the IMAR – Sea Institute’s Ecological Modelling Centre, where it is based. The enterprise currently employs more than 150 people and develops groundbreaking patent-registered technology in a number of areas, namely in spatial data mining, interactive media, enhanced reality and advanced interactive games. It develops products, bespoke solutions and services for four main markets through several divisions: Advertising, Entertainment, Education and Culture, and Environment. yDreams has built an outstanding reputation for creative technology use, both in Portugal as in all the other markets where the enterprise operates, including the Netherlands, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Brazil and the USA. In 2005, yDreams was rewarded as one of the emerging European enterprises to watch in the telecommunications area and was selected for examination and broadcast on CNBC Europe. The company’s business profile was divided up into four blocks and broadcast from 23rd to 28th February 2006.
  • ALERT Life Sciences Computing, SA is a company focussing on the development, distribution and installation of integrated clinical software applications in a completely paper-free environment that can be intuitively used by the healthcare industry. The enterprise was founded in 1999 and employs more than 260 people. It has premises in Portugal (in Porto, where it originated), Spain, the Netherlands and the USA (in Virginia, California, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania). Its products have been adopted by 64 hospitals and 105 primary healthcare centres, and provides paperless services in 16 hospitals. The company has experienced three digit annual growth over the last three years.
  • Link Consulting was founded in January 1999 by a group of researchers at the INESC – Systems and Computer Engineering Institute, and has roughly 150 employees. It provides consultancy services for company architecture, advanced ticketing systems for public transport, transport management and integrated management systems specialising in logistics and advanced distribution. It has undertaken projects in Portugal, Angola, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde, Spain, France, Israel, Luxemburg, Morocco, Mozambique, Sao Tomé and Príncipe and Switzerland.
  • SISCOG is a company that provides decision-making support systems software for planning and managing resources in transport companies, especially railway companies but also aviation firms. It was founded in 1986 by two artificial intelligence professors at the Instituto Superior Técnico and currently employs 45 people. Its crew management product is installed in a diverse range of clients: NS Reizigers (Dutch Railways), CP (Portuguese Railways), NSB (Norwegian State Railways), WAGN-West Anglia Great Northern Railway, Metropolitano Lisboa (Lisbon Underground, Portugal), DSB S-tog (Copenhagen Suburban Trains), DSB (Danish State Railways), VR (Finnish Railways), Deutsche Bahn AG (German Railways), London Underground. Other clients include: BRISA (National Lease for Motorway Concession in Portugal), IBERIA (Spanish Airlines). In 1997, SISCOG received the American Association for Artificial Intelligence’s Innovative Application Award and an Honourable Mention in the Silicon Prize. In 2003 it received the Innovative Application Award again, and was nominated in 2006 for the 2006 Computerworld Honors Laureates where it was classed among the Top 5 information technology companies in the transport sector.
  • WIT-Software was founded in 2001 and is based at the Universidade de Coimbra. It develops applications for the telecommunications industry, in particular for mobile communications operators and for enterprises that need to integrate business applications with mobile equipment. It currently employs slightly over 20 people and has enjoyed an average 30% annual growth since it was set up. Its clients include: Vodafone, P&G, Panasonic, SIC, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Telefónica, Alcatel, and Banif.
  • ISA – Remote Management Systems is a telemetry enterprise that provides innovative remote management systems for a broad range of applications: gas, oil, chemical products, water and sewage network, industry, the environment and domotics. It was founded from the Universidade de Coimbra’s Faculty of Science and Technology in 1990 and has roughly 40 employees. Its clients include: Shell Global LPG, BUTAGAZ, BP, Repsol YPF, SHVGas/PrimaGaz which give it a position as global leader as a telemetry provider for the gas and oil sectors. It has also developed electronic data acquisition systems for highly demanding laboratories, namely the European Space Agency and nuclear fusion laboratories. ISA has installed 15,000 remote monitoring systems in more than 20 countries over the five continents, from Finland to Australia via the Middle East, Africa and Brazil. 70% of its results count as exports from Portugal. In 2006, it received the Innovation Award at the Business Utilities Awards and came second in the Business Performance Award. It has offices in Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Israel, South Africa and Brazil.
  • Critical Software provides critical information system solutions, services and technology for missions and business. It provides client support in different markets, including telecommunications, the public sector, industry and the aero spatial and defence sector. The enterprise was founded in 1998 by a research group at the Universidade de Coimbra’s Faculty of Science and Technology linked to the Informatics and Systems Centre at the university. It currently employs some 280 people and has premises in Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto (Portugal) and San Jose (California, USA) and in Southampton (United Kingdom). It experienced 80% annual growth between 1999 and 2001 and 50% each year over the 2000-2004 period. Some of its many clients include Alcatel Space Industries, ChevronTexaco, Delphi Delco Electronics Sys., Det Norske Veritas, Deutsche Telekom A.G., ESA – European Space Agency, Eumetsat, FOI-Swedish Defence Research, Honeywell Space Systems, IBM, Infineon Technologies, NASA, SAAB Technologies, Siemens S.A., VCS Gmbh, Vodafone S.A., VTT Finland and Westland Helicopters. In 2005 it received the International Engineering Consortium’s Infovision Award for the best Broadband Appliance.

Some technology-based ICT SMEs that were set up over the same period from established economic groups have also experienced high growth and a significant extension of their international presence. Examples of these are:

  • Enabler is an international business information and services technology enterprise which provides value added to some of the world’s best-known retailers. It employs more than 300 people and had a turnover of 30 million Euros in 2005. Enabler’s success is based on major experience of the retail sector it gained as a former part of the SONAE group and on the successful balance it strikes between innovation and pragmatism. Founded in 1997 in Porto, the enterprise grew quickly and now has offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Brazil, and clients in many countries in Europe and increasingly in North America, South America and Asia. Its clients consist of some of the world’s main retailers, including Tesco, Nisa-Today’s, Sonae, AVA, Esprit and Despar. In 2006, Enabler was incorporated in the WIPRO Technology Group based in India..
  • WeDO Consulting is an information systems consultancy firm that started in 2001 and which now has 240 consultants. It has offices in Portugal, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt and Malaysia. It was chosen by the Yankee Group, a consultancy enterprise in the USA that has been active in the telecommunications area for 30 years as one of the world’s leading companies in guaranteeing and supplying high profits. Its many clients include: Brisa, Via Verde, Açoreana, Vodafone, Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, Vimpelcom, Amena, Auna, TeliaSonera, Oi, Telemar, Telefonica, Brazil Telecom, Optimus, Novis and AIS.
  • Altitude Software is an information systems supplier for contact centres. It was founded in 1995 and employs 260 people. It has offices in 14 countries, namely in the following cities: Lisbon, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris (Europe), Austin, Chicago, Toronto (North America), Manila, New Delhi and Beijing (Asia), Mexico City and São Paulo (South America), Dubai and Tel Aviv (Middle East) and Cape Town (Africa). There are 700 installations of its products operating in 15 countries with roughly 150,000 licensed users. It has partnerships with systems integration leaders such as: Accenture, Cap Gemini, Siemens Business Services, Atos, Origin and Soluziona. It also enjoys business partnerships with Avaya, British Telecom, Crane Telecommunications, Dimension Data, Devoteam, Cofratel, and NextiraOne, and maintains development partnerships with different enterprises, such as Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Nortel, Oracle, Philips, SAP, Siebel and Siemens. Customers include: Transcom, Spanish Red Cross, Otis Zardoya, Vodafone, Credit Agricole, Credit Mutuel, SNBrussels Airlines, Renfe, Telefónica, Repsol, Amena, Teleperformance, Santander Central Hispano, BRE Bank, Portugal Telecom, Flemish Regional Government, Saudi British Bank, HSBC, Dun & Bradstreet, Sitel, Franklin Templeton, Provident Bank, Coopervision, TeleTech, Unibanco, Vivo, Banco Itaú, Telemar, among others. It received the Customer Inter@ction Solutions® Magazine’s 2006 Product of the Year Award, was voted Best Multi Channel Contact Center Solution at the ContactCenterWorld.Com 2006 Member’s Choice Awards, in 2005 it won the Call Centre Solution Of The Year award at the Channel Network Awards and also the Best Outbound Contact Centre Solution award at the ContactCenterWorld.Com's 2005 Members' Choice Awards, as well as the 2004 ContactCenterWorld.Com Members' Choice Award.
Last updated ( 24/10/2011 )