Record Breaking Investment and Business Growth in Porto

Portugal's "second city" getting a well-earned a second look

Porto has been experiencing a business and tourism boom over the last decade, but the last few years especially have seen explosive results. Aside from the attractiveness of Porto from an import/export perspective due to its access to the Douro riverway and the Atlantic, it’s also attracting key investors and startups in its tech, real estate, and production arenas thanks to its hard-working 230K inhabitants, 1.9 million of which live and work in its metropolitan center. But it's not only the locals that are building the city up from the inside out, it's also big companies and innovative newcomers.

The Ceetrus Group evaluated investment opportunities in Porto in October 2020 to bolster the ongoing success of their brands Auchan, Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, and their ownership/management of Alegro shopping centers in Portugal, The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, and the councilor for Economy, Tourism, and Commerce, Ricardo Valente guided the CEO of Ceetrus Internacional, Benoit Lheureux and the CFO, Benoit Chang along with 15 other members of the organization through the various policies that the Municipality of Porto has developed in order to make the city more sustainable.

This comes as especially important after the news that Ceetrus Group's Alegro Shopping center in Alfragide, Lisbon was awarded the BREEAM certification for its work in attaining a negative carbon footprint and implementing smart practices toward reduced waste. According to, the award is "in line with Ceetrus Portugal's global corporate social responsibility strategy for all its business areas: negative carbon, positive territory."

After leading the executives on a tour of the Porto Innovation Hub, councilor Valente presented the group with the competitive advantages of Porto as an ideal destination to invest and scale, emphasizing the myriad investment opportunities the city has to offer, especially within the realm of sustainability. To date, there has been no report on the final decision, but things are looking good for Porto not only from a green city perspective but also from an investment and business growth point of view.

In July 2021, the half-Porto, half-USA-based Portuguese startup SWORD Health received the second-largest series C capital injection ever received by a Portuguese company. The injection was made by North American venture capital society General Catalyst, who already made investment bets on the tech companies Airbnb, Snapchat, and Stripe. According to Invest Porto, “since its foundation in 2015, the Portuguese tech company already obtained 135M$-worth capital injections. A report released in February by The Startup Cities Alliance (SCALE), placed SWORD Health as one of the national startups with [huge] potential to become a unicorn company, evaluated in at least 1 billion dollars.”

In terms of exponential business growth, Critical TechWorks, a Porto-based company that began as a joint venture by BMW and Portuguese company Critical Software, is aiming to end the year 2021 with 1400 employees under its belt - that’s a target of 400 new hires. This aggressive hiring frenzy encompasses everything from C++ engineers to software developers and java scriptwriters, proving that things are moving fast in the North, and we should all be taking more notice, especially considering that the company had an annual turnover of 57 million euros in 2020. Luckily for Lisboetas, Critical TechWorks is extending job roles to include its southern sister city in which it has a secondary HQ, so you can still live in the capital while helping the Porto company continue grow. 

Find out more about what Porto can offer your business in terms of growth and investment at the upcoming IPBN Porto Conference on December 2nd at the Porto Innovation Hub. Registration is open— and opportunity awaits! 

Executive Partners