Maria Costeira

Maria Costeira

Profile

Time in tech 13 years
Current role Head Advisor for Health & Nano Technologies + Angel Investor + Managing Partner @ JiTT.travel + Co-Founder @ Agentif.ai
Place of origin Coimbra

Tell us more about you:

Early years and where you came from?

Born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Coimbra. My mum always says that there was something in the water of our neighborhood, because of all of ‘its’ kids are pretty unique: from Pedro Bizarro of Feedzai or Bruno Carrilho from Cerveja Musa, to less known individuals but equally valid, everyone has tried to have a “positive”impact in society. Did college in the UK, started to work in USA for an American multinational, AMC Entertainment Inc, the largest theatrical company in the world, which I ended up running its operations across Europe, living every couple of years in a different country. Master in Oxford and specialized in M&A in Stanford, I got to run the assets under management of a PE firm, which gave me the chance to acquire my first tech company NuVison (a professional 3D company form Portland, USA). Was based on this firms knowledge that I founded with Ami Dror (Israeli) and a Slovene investor, XPAND, which got to be one of the leading 3D companies in the world, with a JV with Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. By diversifying (acquisition of an Israeli firm)  I entered the medical space, mainly medical devices, which I became extremely interested upon, and been working ever since.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

Having always worked internationally, I returned to Portugal last year. Carlos Oliveira, ex- Secretary of State for Entrepreneurship, challenged me with 2 projects: the INL (the International Nanotech Lab, an Intergovernmental Organization created to foster interdisciplinary research in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience) and with Startup Braga, in the sense of creating a leading incubator for the country, mirroring our Silicon Valley experience and creating a true entrepreneurial ecosystem. Further than that, I had also come across years ago in a websummit in Dublin, with a Portuguese tech startup up from Portugal ventures portfolio, JiTT.travel, which i followed since, and ended up joining the team, to transform its core business from B2C to B2B, and making it a world player.

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

Start-up Braga, the INL, CeNti and Universidade do Minho, we created the First nanotechnology-based startup incubator and accelerator in the country, and one of the few in the world. I have the unique privilege of being the Head Advisor of the program, so I get the chance to work with outstanding people and projects that want to have a positive impact in the world: from early state metastasis detection to more effective water treatment filters;

SBS pre-seed Fund has the objective of financing projects that are at a stage that require minimum funding for product/business validation;

At JiTT.travel we intent to establish ourselves as the only full services company for the Travel & Tourism industry, bridging technology and content. My main focus is the internationalization of the business and the professionalization of the organization.

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What part of what you do, you love the most?

Every day I learn something new, everyday I am challenged to question my own thoughts and acquired knowledge. Helping people transform and idea into real products/businesses, and very importantly, helping them to sell it!

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How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

I think and operate at a global scale. From Japan, to Latin American, or USA, I know the specifics of these cultures and markets, and have an established distribution network, from B2B to retail, which are of strategic importance for the business development of the national startups. 

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

You can do whatever you set yourself to! Be open minded to learn everything and from everyone you get the chance to; talk to people; be passionate about the things you like; self confident and most importantly work, work, work!

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.

The days really vary depending:

1) am I traveling (big chance I am)

2) I am not traveling but with which zone of the world i am working/conferencing with. If Asia, mornings are really busy if the Americas or New Zealand, days end really late!

Said this, I am a morning person (unbearable with overwhelming energy) and my day starts early, much before 6. Coffee, news reading (I refuse to watch TV news), emergency emails, and some playing/laughter with the loved ones. From there on wards, everyday tends to be different. Even if I am in Portugal, I spend my days between Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto and Braga, so not a specific routine I can relate to. I try to get to the gym at the end of the day for some spinning or Pilates: some days I succeed!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Suck it, and move on!“ 

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I am a hardware girl! 3D, VR, AR, robotics, my kind of stuff! I am fascinated by holograms!

Links that you want to share?

INLStartup Braga - http://www.investbraga.com/startup/index.php?slang=en_US

INL - http://inl.int/

JITT.Travel - https://www.jitt.travel/en/

Anything else you want to share?

Science is cool!