Dutchies abroad: PakketMail, living the life in Lisbon

How do Dutch entrepreneurs work abroad, especially in places you wouldn’t think of? Logistics startup PakketMail enjoys the work-life balance in Lisbon, Portugal.

Started in 2012 in Maastricht, Mark Bastiaansen (CEO) and Jorn Spiertz (COO) entered the Lisbon Challenge accelerator this year to gain experience in operating internationally. Now, the startup is planning to base its HQ in Lisbon.

PakketMail offers a delivery system for webshops, which uses multiple carriers to deliver packages on the most efficient way possible.

Gut feeling

Co-founder Jorn Spiertz: “The move abroad was a gut feeling. We didn’t had any international experience and didn’t know if people in other countries have the same needs as in The Netherlands. We wanted to test those needs in a completely different market, especially in one where e-commerce is less mature.”


And different it is. Portugal isn’t known for its access to venture capital. And just like Italy, the country still deals with the aftermath of the economic crisis. For instance, youth unemployment is high.

But according to Spiertz, that’s a benefit for startups as there is a huge amount of talent waiting to be employed. Which of course is essential for a fast scaling company.

Although there isn’t much funding available in Portugal, Spiertz applauds the financial support from the Portuguese government in startups and entrepreneurship. “There are a lot of subsidies available for (foreign) entrepreneurs.”


“Also, the cost of living is low here. Compared to other European capitals, Lisbon is cheap. The salaries are lower, so costs for employers aren’t that high”, says Spiertz. Another plus: “Everyone in Lisbon speaks English very well.”

PakketMail enjoys being in Portugal, and the co-founder rather talks about a work-fun-balance instead of a work-life-balance: “Lisbon has 300 days of sun every year and a really nice climate. We’re a 15 minute drive away from the perfect waves to surf.”

Frontpage image by Sharon Hahn Darlin (Wikimedia Commons)

Lorenz van Gool
Lorenz is co-editor-in-chief of StartupJuncture. As a freelance editor and journalist, he writes about startups, innovation and (e)-business. Loves to report from conferences. Really likes cleantech and journalism startups. You can ask him anything about dinosaurs. Twitter: @lorenzroman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Read on