HomeInterviewsShilling, Interview With Managing Partner Ricardo Jacinto

Shilling, Interview With Managing Partner Ricardo Jacinto

Shilling Capital Managing Partner Ricardo Jacinto
Shilling Capital Managing Partner Ricardo Jacinto

Shilling Capital, the Lisbon, Portugal-based VC arm of Draycott SCR, recently launched a $50M opportunity fund. In conjunction with the announcement, Managing Partner Ricardo Jacinto replied to our questions about himself, the firm and the overall strategy, and shared with us some thoughts about the future of the tech landscape.

VCWire: Hi, can you please tell us a bit more about you? What’s your background? 

Sure thing. Before joining Shilling, I worked as a Consultant at one of the Big Four firms. I also worked in Strategic Planning at José de Mello, one of the largest economic conglomerate companies in Portugal, where I held a relatively comfortable and stable job. However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with where this career path was taking me, so I decided to roll the dice and join this tiny venture capital firm that no one had heard of called Shilling. And I’ve never been more proud or happy about this choice. Alongside my role as an investor, I’m also the co-founder of Elecctro, a one-of-its-kind IoT Cloud platform for the vending and unattended markets.

VCWire: Can you introduce your firm? 

Founded in 2011 with a bold mission to transform Portugal’s economy, we began as angel investors driven by our experiences as founders and business people who have poured blood, sweat, and tears into building companies. This firsthand experience gives us a deep understanding of what our portfolio companies are going through.

At Shilling, we’re not just investors; we’re founders ourselves, which allows us to empathize deeply with the challenges and triumphs of the startups we support. We take pride in our broad investment approach—we’re not limited by sector. If we believe an investment can change the world and drive economic growth and job creation, we’re ready to back it.

We see ourselves as community-centric and very proud of the vibrant community we have built. This strong network supports our portfolio companies and fosters collaboration and innovation across the ecosystem.

VCWire: What is your overall strategy?

At Shilling, we follow an agnostic strategy that drives us to invest in key industries and disruptive technologies that will shape the future. We believe in people and ideas, regardless of the industry. Portugal is our base, but we’re looking for promising founders and startups all over Europe. 

Through our two funds, we invest in startups and scaleups with high growth potential in sectors such as AI, consumer products, marketplaces, FinTech, HealthTech, Web3, SpaceTech, and ClimateTech. While the Shilling Founder Funds focuses on pre-Series A (with tickets up to €1M), the newly announced Shilling Opportunity Fund targets companies at the Series A stage and beyond (with tickets up to €3M).

Finally, we run on a disruptive profit-sharing model, sharing our funds’ returns with our portfolio founders and founder LPs. This applies to both funds mentioned above.

VCWire: Beyond capital, how do you support startups? 

At Shilling, we do things differently. We aren’t just limited to capital, we make them a part of the family. When we invest in a company, they become “co-owners” of Shilling and share in the profit, as I mentioned previously, through the adopted profit-sharing model.

Our goal is bigger than just making money. We’re constantly on the hunt to find the next generation of amazing startups and help them grow. Shilling wants to be their mentor, cheerleader, and secret weapon. We’ve got a network of over 200 incredible founders, Founder LPs, and operators, who share ideas, learn from each other, and win together. 

No matter where we invest, we want to leave a positive impact. We’re all about building strong startup communities everywhere we go because when startups win, everyone wins!

VCWire: What can you tell us about your LP base? Are they helpful? How? 

We’ve got some amazing folks backing Shilling. Founders, CEOs, and advisors in the Portuguese startup scene, including some of Portugal’s unicorns. Successful entrepreneurs such as Diogo Monica (Founder at Anchorage), Vasco Pedro (Founder at Unbabel), Marta Palmeiro (Founder at StudentFinance), Sofia Pessanha (Founder at CareRev) or Marvin Liao (Former Partner at 500 Startups). Our investor base is one of our strongest assets. We get how meaningful connections are, so we leverage our network to open doors for all the founders we invest in. It’s a win-win for every side.

VCWire: What do you like to see in founders?….And what don’t you like to see in them? I mean, is there something which impresses you at first glance?  

When evaluating founders, I am particularly impressed by their background and vision. I like to see grit, resilience, ambition, persuasion, and perseverance in founders. It’s important for them to have a clear understanding of the market and a compelling vision for its future, along with a strategic approach to achieving their goals. Additionally, having a strong team with complementary skills and great drive is crucial. These qualities are essential for navigating challenges and driving the company’s growth and success.

VCWire: Please, tell us a bit more about the portfolio. You can list five startups whose paths have made you particularly proud of.            

We’re all about backing cutting-edge businesses that are making a real difference. We love companies using tech to shake things up in important areas like healthcare, software, online shopping, and even cybersecurity. We’re also big on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and we’re always looking for new Fintech and Insurtech companies that are changing the game. We’re super proud of all the businesses we’ve helped along the way, like Unbabel, Coverflex, Talka, Rows, Bizay, Casafari, and Kencko. These are just a few of the amazing companies that are making a mark on the world!

VCWire: Which sector/s would you bet 2 cents on in the next five years?  

If I had to bet on sectors for the next five years, I would confidently place my 2 cents on ClimateTech and SpaceTech. ClimateTech is becoming increasingly crucial as the world faces the pressing need to address climate change and environmental sustainability. Innovations in this sector are likely to attract significant investment and attention, driving growth and development.

On the other hand, SpaceTech holds a huge potential as advancements in technology make space exploration and commercialization more viable. The increasing interest from both private companies and governments in space exploration, satellite technology, and even space tourism points to a burgeoning industry with vast opportunities.