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Pedro Nunes Institute of Coimbra – Company Incubator and Accelerator

The Institute Pedro Nunes (IPN) was created by the University of Coimbra in 1991. It is a private non-profit institution of remarkable relevance.

The Institute was created with the purpose of disseminating and promoting innovation and technology transfer, establishing the link between the scientific and technological environments and the productive sector. The IPN contributes to a transformation not only of the business in itself but also of organizations, promoting a “culture of innovation, quality, accuracy and entrepreneurship.”

Its model is based on the relationship between the university and the organisation and focuses on three pillars that reinforce and complement each other: research and technological development; incubation and acceleration of ideas and companies; and, finally, specialized training and dissemination of science and technology.

The incubation and acceleration of innovative technology is supported by the incubator and IPN´s accelerator. The incubator was founded in 2002, a joint initiative led by the IPN and the University of Coimbra. It was named IPN – Incubator – Association for the Development of Hatching Ideas and Business Activities.

In 2010, the IPN – Incubator received the international award for the best technology-based incubator. Its support to companies during their first four years of life has been found to be crucial. It facilitates access to scientific and technological systems and provides an environment to broaden knowledge in areas such as quality management, marketing and contact with National and international markets .

The accelerator, in turn, provides support to companies with more than five years of life that despite having a strong position in the market need capital to continue to grow. Currently, the incubator has created 2,000 new skilled jobs whereas the accelerator has created another 500.

A few successful companies, previously supported by the Institute, have already moved ahead independently. Critical Software SA, for instance, was founded in 1998 and specializes in developing software solutions and information engineering services. It operates in areas as diverse as aerospace, defense and security, health, financial services, automotive, government, etc.

Critical creates information systems for NASA and Crioestaminal was the first umbilical cord blood bank in the Iberian Peninsula. These two companies have become autonomous, although still connected to the IPN through a virtual incubation program.

Feedzai Lda developed a specialized credit card processing software to combat fraud that is now used by some of the most powerful companies in the world, thus making trade safer for business customers. This company has also managed to achieve a structure and size that has allowed it to leave the incubator, having now offices in the IPN accelerator as well as several other locations, such as Lisbon, Porto and the United States. It is currently on the list of the 50 companies with the greatest potential and growth in Europe. It it said, it may become the first “unicorn company” (billion-dollar startup) born in Portugal.

About 90 companies are still part of the IPN through physical or virtual incubation. The IPN is a great asset to Coimbra and to all technology-based companies. This business accelerator promotes not only the regeneration of the economic fabric of the city, but also of the rest of the country as well as internationally. The growth of “technology-intensive enterprises” in Coimbra and their internationalization has been the goal of IPN for more than 25 years.



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Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
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