2019 is the year of Artificial Intelligence in Portugal and you need to know why

With a fair amount of investment coming from its own government, and especially from the European Commission, Portugal’s tech market has radically transformed in the past few years.

So much so that AI startups are a growing slice of the country’s tech market these days. They are many and they are thriving.

Along with such a competitive, innovative environment, it was only a matter of time for Portugal to become a harbour for great technology events, such as Web Summit, which is currently on its eleventh edition and recently announced that it will keep hosting the event in Portugal for another 10 years.

With all we have just said in mind, here is a guide into Portugal’s AI universe. In case you need an excuse to attend an AI event — and combine it with a dream vacation -, or you are just curious about these exciting new startups, again, we have got you covered.

Startups to Blow Your Mind


Three years have passed since James won Best European Startup by Money2020. Since then they have grown as a solid Fintech, opened offices in New York, and are a constant mention in lists such as Wired UK’s Europe’s 100 Hottest Startups. What James can do is quite unique, an assistant that allows credit-risk managers to create predictive models. It is no wonder they are one of Portugal’s great names in AI.


Another power name on the scene is Feedzai. Helping banks and commerce prevent payment fraud with AI, this Fintech has really shown what they can do to the European tech market. Feedzai has some incredible numbers, 30 million transactions going through their systems per day, and 10 out of the largest 25 banks in the world protected by their services, are just some of the impressive stats that Feedzai showcases on their website.


DefinedCrowd describes itself as a “scalable AI platform that fits your global enterprise data needs”. What they do is really impressive and to the point: they train the data of your company’s AI. With offices in Lisbon, Porto, Seattle, and Tokyo, DefinedCrowd is all over the map and commits to using data for good. Neevo by DefinedCrowd, created in 2015, searches and selects appropriate datasets for their clients. It looks like the future of AI has already met its crowd.


It may look like something from the future, but it is happening right now, Jungle uses AI to predict when your company’s electrical assets will fail. We are talking about massive wind turbines, and heavy machinery such as power transformers, which make — and sometimes break — the renewable energy industry. Jungle shares its time between Lisbon and Delft, in The Netherlands, and their exciting journey is just beginning.


Unbabel has had an ever impressive journey since 2013. This translation startup combines AI and human translation to deliver multilingual customer support to large-scale businesses. Among their clients are names like Skyscanner, Pinterest, and Trello. Unbabel brings together the best of both worlds, using the power of AI, allied to the attention to detail that only human tailored translation can provide.

AI events you do not want to miss

CIRP — Design as exponential technology (8–10 May) is a three-day event packed with interesting topics to look at. The idea behind the conference is to keep Design as its focus, and, at the same time, combine it with other fundamental topics, such as AI. CIRP takes place in Póvoa de Varzim, at The Axis Vermar Hotel, by the beach — which always provides a great reason to show up -. The city is also in the metropolitan region of Porto, so you’ll be certain to have a great time and a lot to see and do.

Culturgest Conferences Cycle is a series of events promoted by Culturgest and Lisbon University. It is all about AI, and it is all free of charge. You can start right now, on 17 April with two consecutive talks on AI: Applications (the good and the bad). Then on 15 May get ready for Implications: Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence — robot ascension. The last set of talks on the cycle is on 5 June, Speculations: Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence Compatible Human.

All the talks take place in Lisbon and you can find out more here.

Talkdesk is promoting a workshop on Clustering with Python on 24 April, at Talkdesk offices, in Porto. In this workshop you will learn the basics of clustering and machine learning. Now, do you want to hear the best part? The ticket costs €0! To attend the event, you must register on their website. There is a limit of 40 participants, so hurry up! Oh, and in case you still need a little push, they are also including some free beer.

On 14 May, Lisbon hosts IDC — Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Leadership Forum 2019. Among this year’s featured companies are NOS, Accenture and Microsoft Portugal. Tickets start at €300 and you can get yours here. IDC is filled with opportunities for businesses to come together and discuss the latest trends on AI and Big Data.

VISUM 2019 takes place in Porto. From 4 to 12 July you will be sure to have a lot of new and exciting things to learn in the areas of Machine learning, Deep Learning, Interpretability, Computer Vision, Robotic Control and much more. The idea behind VISUM is to be a non-profit summer school to gather upcoming PhD candidates. The programme will have you busy from 9am to 9pm, so this truly is a summer school you do not want to miss. You can get tickets for the whole event starting at €400, or just a one-day ticket for €100 — hurry up because prices change at the end of April!

LXMLS is Lisbon’s Machine Learning School for this summer. Hosted at IST (Instituto Superior Tecnico), the event is jointly organised by Google and other Portuguese startups such as Feedzai and Unbabel. At LXMLS’s 9th edition you will find a programme full of innovation and hands-on experiences. From Demo Day, to Labs, to a Gala dinner, you will be sure to have a great time while at LSMLS. Registration begins on 6 May and ticket prices start at €300, get your at http://lxmls.it.pt/2019/.

An excuse to visit Lisbon in the summer? Sign me up! From 10 to 12 July is the 31st International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering and for the first time it takes place in sunny Lisbon. The conference is full of fresh topics and a great range of them are AI related. It even has its own SEKE Awards for the best papers and presentations. There is a lot of detail and attention invested on SEKE, you can get a special discount to stay in the hotel where the event is hosted, and if you show up two days before you can also check their Co-event, the International DMS Conference on Visualization and Visual Languages (DMSVIVA2019). And, of course, all that with one single ticket. Prices start at €515, register at the event’s website.

MVML has not only a cool name but also a full programme for you to enjoy. The 5th International Conference on Machine Vision and Machine Learning is the place to be for AI minds. With an exhibition area, a symposium, workshops, and of course, Lisbon, you can get quite busy in these three days. The event will be hosted at the 5-star Real Palácio Hotel and, in case you were wondering, yes, you can get a special discount to stay in the hotel if you attend MVML. Early bird tickets sell until early May, so hurry up, the event is hosted from 21 to 23 August, in Lisbon.

Let’s say you are attending only one conference on AI this year, which one should it be? I have four letters for you: EPIA. The Portuguese Association for Artificial Intelligence (APPIA) hosts this conference every year — this is its 19th edition — and it only gets bigger and better. Main keynote speakers in 2019 include professors from all over Europe bringing together the sharpest minds in AI and a full schedule that will definitely grab your attention. This year’s EPIA is in the charming town of Vila Real, from 3 to 6 September — in the heart of the Douro Valley wine region — at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro campus. Register soon and you can still get your early bird ticket, prices start at only €50.

This article may be updated throughout the year as events release full programmes and new events appear, so make sure to check back now and then for updates.