Though a mature economy in many regards, healthy government support and a broadly nimble environment make Portugal an excellent base for AI in the next two decades.

Rui Paiva

General Manager, WeDo Technologies

WeDo Technologies was founded in 2001, and our first customer outside of Portugal was in Brazil. Today, 95% of our business is outside of Portugal. We have customers in around 20 countries and offices in 10. WeDo Technologies has 600 employees from 20 nationalities. We work mainly for the telecommunications market, and our customers are companies in this field. We have around 200 customers worldwide whom we work with to increase their revenues and fight fraud. While we also have customers outside the sector, most of our work is in telecoms. We have tested our software on other industry verticals, such as 7-Eleven, Best Buy, and Sberbank, and have been able to deliver highly successful projects with a strong return on investment. We wanted to prove that our software can be used in other markets, for which we already received market validation. Going forward, this can be a promising growth avenue.

António Miguel Ferreira

Managing Director, Claranet

We started investing in opening data centers and building computer and storage platforms where our customers could host their applications and data. We were the first private internet service provider in Portugal back in 1995. Claranet entered the market by acquisition in 2005. We completely shifted our business toward IT services rather than telecommunications and are now one of the three largest IT service providers in Portugal. We now have a business worth around EUR100 million in revenue in Portugal alone, with 600 people, four data centers, and partners of the three hyperscale public cloud providers: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud. Microsoft is a major and important partner for us, not just in cloud services, but also in more traditional IT services. We host data and applications for our customers and manage those platforms on their behalf. We are their IT service arm, and can host between our data centers on Azure, Amazon, or Google.

Ricardo Pires Silva

Executive Director, SAS Portugal

On the global level, SAS has 14,000 employees in more than 100 countries. We are an analytics leader, and though it is a challenge for us to keep analytics popular, we have been doing this since 1976. Contrary to popular belief, SAS has been using AI for 40 years. Although there was not enough data or computer processing capacity to make it possible in the past, the algorithms we use today were mostly written four decades ago. A factor that continues to make SAS a great place to work is that it is still a private company. As a multinational, we do have pressures and quarters, but we are able to think long term without pressure from shareholders to obtain dividends. Therefore, SAS has been able to have the patience to wait for returns and freedom in decision-making. We grew our main operations in finance, banking, and insurance, the latter of which makes up half of our business. And when the democratization of analytics began, we started broadening our solutions to other markets.

Bernardo Correia

Country Manager, Google

Google has been in Portugal for almost 15 years and has traditionally reflected the size of the Portuguese economy and the opportunities available. That said, we are proud of having expanding significantly in the recent past. Two important milestones in our journey in Portugal were the acquisition of Digisfer, a Portuguese startup incorporated through Google Street View, in 2015 and the launch of Atelier Digital, Google's digital skills training program, which has now trained over 35,000 people in Portugal. The company's milestone for summer 2018 was an international service center in Oeiras announced in conjunction with the Portuguese prime minister. Google looks at Portugal not just through the lens of the domestic market, but primarily as an international hub for talent and a service distribution center for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Some of our best brains in the field of AI originate from Portugal.