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In the Media: “Partnership creates growth opportunities for students and researchers”

The partnership between the Unicorn Factory Lisboa and the Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) was featured in the Spring 2024 issue of The Link, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science Magazine. 


n October 2023, the Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) became the first research institution to partner with the Unicorn Factory Lisboa, based in Hub do Beato, an initiative by the Lisbon City Council to support startups and scaleups in creating sound products and business models, achieving sustained accelerated growth in Lisbon. 

In this interview, Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal National Co-Director and President of ITI, highlighted Portugal’s growing prominence in fostering highly innovative companies despite the country’s size. He emphasized the role of CMU Portugal’s talent in contributing to the country’s tech landscape: “There are many projects and partnerships that benefited from the wide network of CMU Portugal talent and many leaders that, one way or another, contributed back to the country as academic leaders, entrepreneurs or by sharing their experiences with younger researchers,”. For instance, some startups like the SaaS cloud banking platform, Mambu, and the world’s first RiskOps platform, Feedzai, started as CMU Portugal student projects. These companies have attracted more than $200 million in venture capital investment: “While many of these global companies have headquarters in the U.S. or other financial markets, they share the Portuguese DNA,” said Nunes.

The partnership between the municipality of Lisbon and Fundação Santander Portugal Fund supports startups to scale up through the Unicorn Factory. Throughout the interview the CMU Portugal National Director highlighted the importance of nurturing talent to manage global digital products, which is facilitated by international collaborations with educational institutions like CMU: “Some of the Unicorn companies said it was very hard to find people with experience and skills to manage global digital products,” explained Nunes, adding that “with the help and funding of Fundação Santander, we are bringing this to Lisbon in partnership with several schools and faculty from CMU.”

Nuno Nunes ended by emphasizing that the impact of the partnership can be measured by the success of its researchers and alumni: “The impact comes after these young, talented researchers create new companies and get jobs in world-class companies or universities,” said Nunes, “even if they are not based in Portugal.” 

More information about the ITI and Unicorn Factory Lisboa partnership here