Portugal Ventures Invests in the Ocean
Sep 25, 2015
“Friday, Ciência e Engenharia do Lazer, S.A.” (Leisure Science and Engineering) is developing manned submersibles to explore the ocean floor and houseboats for recreational boating and leisure activities. By deciding to invest in the company, Portugal Ventures is reinforcing its investment in technology-based companies that are taking advantage of the unique characteristics of nautical tourism and the vast potential of the Portuguese economic maritime zone. The company, incubated in and with head offices at the Pedro Nunes Institute of Coimbra, is led by Professor Fernando Seabra Santos, former Rector of the University of Coimbra and recognised expert in civil engineering, marine hydraulics and water resources. The team of promoters is made up of Professors of the University of Coimbra, experts in various fields of engineering, and Architect José Barra. Friday is developing technologically advanced devices and equipment for leisure, focused on recreational boating activities and tourism. The first stage is to create submersibles for underwater exploration missions and inspections, capable of lasting up to 8 hours and which can reach a depth of 300 metres. The development of houseboats for inland bodies of water is also planned. The submarines developed by Friday appeal to everybody’s imagination and desire to see the bottom of the ocean and to explore it, reaching depths that are unattainable by the average diver. Each submarine will be equipped with an innovative navigation system, robotic arms and other mechanised devices, to give the two or three explorers in each submersible a unique interactive sensory experience with the seabed. Professor Fernando Seabra Santos says that “hobbies and leisure activities are growing throughout the developed world" and that "a significant number of business opportunities created as a result of this are related to the diversified use of bodies of water, both inland and maritime, providing a suitable environment for the expansion of recreational boating activities in countries that, like ours, have a high level of technical expertise in the field and can offer particularly favourable natural conditions. " He also highlights the fact that "although the existing conditions for doing these activities are particularly favourable, the potential market for these types of products has no limit and, therefore, our company’s ambition will necessarily take on a global dimension". The investment in Friday by Portugal Ventures stems from the Call For Entrepreneurship , an initiative which has led the company to invest in more than 25 start-ups and to contribute to the revitalization of a community of more than two thousand potential entrepreneurs. For his part, the Chairman and CEO of Portugal Ventures, Professor José Epifânio da Franca, says that “The business initiative led by Professor Seabra Santos has a futuristic and ambitious vision of underwater exploration for leisure, scientific and professional activities, and is our first investment in the sector of ‘Ocean Economy’. It is our hope that the bold and ambitious example set by Professor Seabra Santos will be a strong incentive for the vast national scientific and technological community to embrace technology-based entrepreneurship projects that can contribute to the structural change of our economy, making it more modern and globally competitive”. Friday is being incubated at the Pedro Nunes Institute , one of the more than 40 entities that are part of the Ignition Partners Network of Portugal Ventures’ Ignition Programme, which regularly supports the promoters in the qualification and submission of their projects to the Call For Entrepreneurship. This initiative makes access to venture capital investment possible for innovative or science and technology-based projects in the early stages of their business life cycle. The projects selected by Portugal Ventures may benefit from an investment of up to 750 thousand euros, at the most 85% of the project’s total funding needs. Pre-registration for the 7th Call For Entrepreneurship is now open and projects can be submitted from 28th April. Through its 4 annual calls for the submission of projects, the Call For Entrepreneurship aims to contribute to the development of a modern and competitive economy, open to the world, based on knowledge, innovation and highly qualified human capital. Some of the venture capital funds managed by Portugal Ventures are co-financed by the European Union through FINOVA , managed by PME Investimentos , COMPETE and POR Lisboa . About Friday:
With a view to integrating the Seas and Oceans in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, as is taking place in Portugal, the synergies between Leisure, Sport, Culture, proximity to Nature, Recreational Boating and the Tourism, Hotel and Catering Industries are the key elements to promote, with the objective of consolidating new policies to foster the Ocean Economy. It is thus, in a growing market for tourism enlightened by a cultural and/or scientific matrix, inclined towards Nature and with clear proximity to bodies of water, that Friday is seeking its audience and developing its business, answering the call for autonomy, for energy and environmental sustainability, for merriment, for responsible relaxation, for a weekend spirit, transforming each new product into a box of surprises and each new mission or stay into a unique and unforgettable experience.