“We looked at a number of centers for startups throughout Europe and were attracted straight away to Lisbon. There is great Government support and enthusiasm for startups, it’s well positioned between our Asian and US offices, it’s a cost-effective city in which to base a fintech and it’s a beautiful place.”
HolyWally has announced the opening of an office in Portugal, its first base in the European Union, as the Singapore-headquartered firm looks to expand its B2B2C wallet-as-a-service platform across the globe,
The company was chosen as one of just eight high-growth companies for the 1st cohort of the scaling up program run by the Unicorn Factory Lisboa, an initiative supported by the Lisbon City Council.
The Unicorn Factory, which will support 20 scaleups per year, was created to expand Lisbon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, from startups to scaleups. It works as an engine for economic growth and a driving force for innovation, attracting talent, new projects and investment.
“We were attracted straight away to Lisbon”
HolyWally was looking for an office to begin its move into Europe when it was chosen to join the program. It has already recruited a team to begin work at the Unicorn Factory’s hub offices.
John Rutledge, co-founder and CEO of HolyWally, said: “We looked at a number of centers for startups throughout Europe and were attracted straight away to Lisbon. There is great Government support and enthusiasm for startups, it’s well positioned between our Asian and US offices, it’s a cost-effective city in which to base a fintech and it’s a beautiful place. The Unicorn Factory is a superb idea. Those who join the program, and we were very happy to be chosen, get great support from a growing ecosystem that is dedicated to the startup and scaleup scene. It’s a model for how central and regional Government support should be channelled to companies looking to make that all-important breakthrough.
“We have already begun building our Lisbon team, both development and sales, and we’ll be investing in those teams over the year and beyond. The great advantage is that you have a fantastic pool of talent there, so recruitment is not a problem. And being part of the scaleup program means we get introductions to the biggest companies in Portugal and top-level investors. It also gives us an initial foothold in Europe from which we can develop our sales effort on the continent. We have companies talking to us about our product and this gives us the ideal base from which to begin those discussions.”
HolyWally was founded in Singapore in 2020 by John Rutledge (CEO), Veljko Vasic (Partnerships Lead) and Ivan Bajalovic (Development Lead).