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INESC TEC is at the center of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that Portugal has been consolidating in recent years, around technology-based startups. As a leading organization in science-based innovation since its inception, INESC TEC has been supporting the development of technology-based companies over the years, strengthening this area by investing in the creation of organizational support structures.

In 2007, the Center for Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CITE) and LET-In: Laboratory of Technological-Based Companies were created, acting as service that comprehends the pre-incubation of new business projects, or startups in a test concept, with a strong technological development component and an innovation laboratory to support the development of ideas for new products or services.

CITE is in charge of coordinating LET-In, and the laboratory relies on a highly interdisciplinary team, with a strong assurance from top management, consisting of members of the INESC TEC Board of Directors, consultants, researchers, university professors and grant holders with academic training in the Engineering, Economics, Management and Sociology fields, and with extensive professional experience in Valorization and Transfer of Technology, Innovation Management and Technological Entrepreneurship.

In addition to the internal team, LET-In also relies on a network of mentors formally established and the INESCTEC Alumni network, important to establish formal relationships to support entrepreneurial activity.

In order to strengthen its position, INESC TEC also provides four fundamental services:

  • the Technology Licensing Office (SAL), responsible for the protection and licensing of Intellectual Property;
  • the Business Development Services (SAPE), which establishes and supports Research and Development (R&D) collaborations with business partners;
  • the Legal Support Service (AJ), which provides legal advice and technical intervention in the areas of human resources, institutional relationships, contracting projects, and public procurement of goods and services;
  • the Communication Service (SCOM), which plans, prepares, organizes, and monitors internal and external communication actions, promoting and boosting the institution's knowledge, image, and prestige at internal and external levels.

These internal organizational structures have played an important role in the effective positioning of INESC TEC as an organization capable of competing in the field of innovation at  national and international levels, supporting and promoting business initiatives, and contributing to the modernization and strengthening of the capacities of the region and the country.

These services have successfully ensured the integrated collaboration between researchers (as technology providers) and companies, entrepreneurs and investors (as promoters or facilitators of technology commercialization), thus reinforcing the commitment to the creation of highly qualified jobs, the sustainability of the institution and the expansion of the scientific and technological capacity of the region and the country, through extra incentives to investment in R&D.

LET-In Scale Up

Recently, and in order to improve the monitoring of companies and graduated projects, LET-in created a model that aggregates the provision of services:

  • Innovation Management, through EIMC services from the EEN Innovation network and specialized consultancy services from CITE;
  • Specialized consultancy in the development of new services and products, through the Innovation Laboratory;
  • Access to national and international R&D financing programs;
  • Specialized consultancy in Business Models and Value Chains;
  • Specialized consultancy in Industry 4.0.

Pre-incubation services for projects or technology-based startups in the seed phase. They include:

  • Consultancy for business development and market tests;
  • Technological consultancy and access to resources, namely to INESC TEC research groups;
  • Development of business and technological partnerships considered vital to the implementation of the seed phase, which includes access to the INESC TEC partners’ network, support in the development of technology and business profiles and their promotion in the EEN network, and facilitation of contacts through the Business Development Services (SAPE);
  • Facilitation of contacts and presentation to investors, as well as support in accessing national and international financing programs;
  • Participation in Innovation Laboratories;
  • Dissemination in social networks and the media through INESC TEC's Communication Service;
  • Access to meeting rooms and auditoriums according to pre-defined rules, up to a limit of 8 hours per month;
  • Access to non-permanent workstations in open spaces and access to the Internet and local printer network;
  • Access to the mentoring network and Alumni network.


20% reduction in current amount for the the provision of services:

  • Access to specific technological equipment;
  • Technological development;
  • Specialized consultancy in IP management, technology transfer, and licensing support, through the Technology Licensing Office (SAL);
  • Legal consultancy carried out internally or via a partner, through the cooperation agreement established between INESC TEC and Law Firms;
  • Secretarial support.

Until the end of 2017, LET-In Catalyst promoted the second edition of the Accelerator Startup Porto Accelerator, in partnership with ANJE.

INESC TEC also provides a permanent incubation space for projects that focus on developing solutions with INESC TEC, or for internal research groups that seek to explore INESC TEC's R&D results.

The use of this incubation space cannot exceed 9 months (for instance, all INESCTEC spin-offs used dedicated spaces during periods between 9 to 12 months).

Occasionally, startups that have gone through LET-In Capacitação or Let-In Catalyst can also request the services of tax, social and commercial domiciliation, inbound and outbound mail, and telephone assistance.

LET-In Pré Seed

The LET-In Pré Seed aims to strengthen and support the exploration of R&D results in the main technological domains of INESC TEC, and to promote qualified and creative entrepreneurship, acting in two complementary aspects: training of researchers and development of seed projects.

Capacity building of researchers, namely on their active participation in the processes of valuing and transferring results from R&DT, through a set of workshops and acceleration programs on the development of soft skills - which resort to methodologies to support the valorization of technology.

The following services are available:

  • Access to acceleration programs;
  • Access to the mentor network:
  • Access to specialized workshops;
  • Dissemination and promotion actions.

Seed Projects: aims at supporting technical and commercial proofs of concept and the development and validation of prototypes.

Researchers can access these services by submitting a project without an established company, and a selected internal manager will help them develop and monitor a personalized work plan based on Lean methodologies. The program lasts between 3 and 6 months, aiming to carry out the first proofs of concept.

The following services are available:

  • Business consultancy to carry out technical, commercial, and organizational feasibility studies and implementation plans, including investment strategy;
  • Consultancy in IP management, technology transfer, and licensing support;
  • Access to technological resources and equipment, namely to INESC TEC’s groups and their partners;
  • Development of business and technological partnerships considered vital to the implementation of the seed phase;
  • Facilitation of contacts with investors and access to financing programs;
  • Access to meeting rooms up to 8 hours a month;
  • Access to non-permanent workstations in open spaces and access to the Internet and local printer network.
Business Ignition Programme

The Business Ignition Programme is an initiative focused on valuing and developing business models for technologies developed in academia.

With 3 editions, this program was built according to a 12-week acceleration layout, aiming to identify and develop strategies for exploring and commercializing technologies.

In addition to INESC TEC, Universidade do Porto Inovação and CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research are partners in the project. One of the key indicators of the project is the creation of 5 new technology-based companies.

Startup Porto Accelerator

The Startup Porto Accelerator is an acceleration program that runs in two editions, and aims to support startups with a disruptive and technological profile.

Focused on the training of entrepreneurs on quick growth processes and ways to become skilled at effective communication and strategic promotion, it aims to contribute to the creation of 20 new technology-based startups in the web & mobile areas.

This project is promoted in liaison with the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs.

Other projects

Enterprise Europe Network - Portugal


As a partner of the national consortium of the International Network to support innovation and internationalization of SMEs, INESC TEC is responsible for providing specialized services in the fields of intellectual property, international partnerships, promotion of participation of companies in international events, technological and market consultancy services, internationalization support services, among others.


Enterprise Europe Network EEN-Innovation


INESC TEC is a partner of the national consortium, in charge of supporting around 30 companies by providing KAM - Key Account Management – services, within the scope of SME Instrument and EIMC - Enable Innovation Management Capacity. INESC TEC has focused mainly on supporting startups in the Northern region.


Scale Up Portugal Project


The project aims to identify European startups - in a scale-up phase - with international expansion potential, thus supporting the strengthening of relationships with relevant stakeholders; the improvement of activities to prepare for internationalization; facilitating access to finance and markets, particularly within the European Union.


Passaporte para o Empreendedorismo


A contract for the provision of Technical Assistance Services to projects supported by the initiative. As part of this initiative, INESC TEC supported around 30 projects.



Entrepreneurship Training and Coaching for University Spin-Offs


European project focused on the development of business and soft skills in academic spin-offs, through the development of training modules and their integration in academic curricular programs.


Centro de Excelência para as Indústrias Criativas e Inovação do Polo das Indústrias Criativas do UPTEC


As co-promoter of the PINC I project, INESC TEC was responsible for monitoring entrepreneurship projects in the area of ​​creative industries.


Tec-Empreende, Programa de Empreendedorismo Tecnológico


Acting as a co-promoter the project, in partnership with ANJE, INESC TEC developed coaching and training activities in the area of ​​technological entrepreneurship. As part of this project, 10 new technology-based startups were created.



INESC TEC was the driving force behind the FINICIA Platform, having monitored more than 20 business projects through its mentoring services.

Our Spin-offs

Pre-incubation of 2nd Generation Spin-offs