Lisbon is one of the most inviting cities in Europe, and it has quickly been stepping up its game in the tech and financial scene. And why are so many people thinking about getting a Golden Visa? We spoke with Nikhil Divecha, financial advisor of moviinn, and Alex Spann, the founder of Offchain City – two Golden Visa investors who are working to make more room for innovation in this country.
Alex has been enthralled from the get-go “due to the openness of the lifestyle you meet fascinating people - great Portuguese people, but also remarkable expats who have chosen to build a new life in Portugal. Over time those relationships develop into communities. I found myself working in London, but having my friend base, the people I identified most with, over here.”
Aside from that, Portugal routinely rates as one of the best places to live, with great food, great weather, and beautiful landscapes. It is simple for expats to integrate, and it is a reasonably priced country (especially compared to other Western European countries). But that is only the tip of the iceberg.
For both Nikhil and Alex, community is key. Alex had worked in London for a few years and craved a quality of life he couldn't find in the UK, but what drew him to Portugal was the network of people he discovered, as “people who move to Portugal are generally open-minded changemakers.” Besides “nature and the culture”, that’s what you find in Portugal and not elsewhere. “Of course, there are other hot spots for the crypto community which compete with Portugal, such as the UAE or the US - and they’re hard to beat - but what truly stands out is the sense that you can really connect with other like-minded people”, Spann notes.
He also wished for more time with his family and a better balance between work and leisure, and this is precisely what he discovered in Lisbon. “In London everything is about work - you have less time for yourself, your health, your relationships. My business is my focus, but my health and relationships are also key to my success, so I really don’t want to sacrifice those things. To have more time to be with people and to be in nature, it’s a good life, and it’s what we’re here for. It’s more balanced,” Alex explains.
After all, what is it about Portugal that attracts so many brilliant and talented individuals? According to Nikhil, it's a combination of its people - who are kind, capable, and humble - and the country's untapped potential: Hospitality and tourism are appealing to investors, but there’s also potential in agriculture and technology, with the latter truly booming as the country becomes a hotspot for techpreneurs from all over the world.
Fostering Innovation at all Levels
Alex reports that in Portugal he found a lot of willingness to adopt changes at a policymaking level, which in turn allowed Offchain to become the first crypto fund to be approved by the country’s financial market regulator, CMVM (Portuguese Securities Market Commission).
When asked if he'd still move to Portugal if he hadn't made any connections within that community, he had an interesting response: “If we were talking about how things worked five years ago, I would probably not choose Portugal. But everything is moving so fast now with a lot of innovation, and a community that is contributing a lot towards boosting the Portuguese economy.”
Over the last five years, all of this has taken form and there is a soft infrastructure in the country that enables things to get done, allowing people to do the things they want to.
This is now Portugal's reputation abroad: a place for creating, innovating, and collaborating, a country where your ideas can take shape and where you can get things done.
Offchain’s Crypto Investment Fund; combining crypto and real estate to purchase a Golden Visa
Offchain is all about innovation, and they've successfully launched a Golden Visa program that enables investors to combine crypto and real estate investments, thereby allowing them to diversify their portfolios and reduce risk. “Investors who are interested in the Golden Visa can put 400K into real estate because it’s safe, but they might still be willing to invest 100K into crypto and get some risk exposure”, Alex explained.
The option of including the crypto offer is, however, new, and Alex hasn’t come across another fund that offers crypto and can give access to citizenship programmes. Of course, there are quite a few crypto funds out there, but not within the jurisdiction that focuses on citizenship programmes - Offchain and Portugal are clear innovators in this matter.
Partnering with moviinn
Alex found it easy to collaborate with moviinn. "One of our core founders had a fantastic experience working with moviinn, and we were in desperate need of a partner with expertise in all the ins and outs of the Golden Visa application process - moviinn was exactly what we needed” he explains.
With Offchain's groundbreaking crypto offer, and moviinn's excellence and expertise in dealing with the Golden Visa process and application, this partnership has everything it needs to succeed and reach clients who are eager to invest in the country in the long term.
“What really matters to us is that we find investors who want to get involved with the country and contribute to its economic growth - and we are quite careful in how we select our clients, as well,” Alex says.
It’s safe to say that there is a new wave of Golden Visa investors coming to Portugal, nurtured by one-of-a-kind projects such as Offchain and moviinn, which support them all throughout their journey.
End-to-end support: What sets moviinn apart
When choosing to invest in a Golden Visa, it’s important to know the client’s needs, and as much as possible about their investment portfolio. Nik’s goal is to find the right fit for each of the people he advises.
“My goal, as moviinn's financial advisor, is to assist our clients in making decisions, by guiding them through the various market options.” He adds, “We want to make them feel confident in their decision; this is a 6- to 7-year investment, and it is critical that they select an area of investment that fits their profile and investment portfolio.”
Divecha, moviinn financial advisor
To do so, moviinn analyzes each of their clients' needs, and assists them in determining the best investment option. Their commitment to transparency, and the fact that they have no ties to a specific fund, set moviinn apart from other Golden Visa investment agencies: “As a result, we are completely independent and mostly focused on finding the right solution for each person who comes asking for our support," Nik explains.
And moviinn is there from start to finish. From the discovery phase, in which a client learns about the country and determines if it is a good fit for their profile, to the moving phase, where they assist each person in getting started with the administrative and bureaucratic aspects of moving to Portugal: choosing the right visa, opening a bank account, learning how to navigate the healthcare system, and so on.
The moviinn community has really become an essential part of the process. For example, making strong connections with like-minded people is key to successful integration, and one of the main reasons why people continue to select moviinn over other Golden Visa agencies.
Both Alex and Nikhil had previously applied for Golden Visas on their own in the past, and while they were ultimately successful, the process was not easy for either of them. It was certainly a hard journey. Not everyone may be up to the task of navigating the bureaucracy and complexity involved in the process, and that's why they think it's so important to have a service like moviinn to guide consumers through the maze of options.
A New Generation of Golden Visa Investment
“We’ve reached a tipping point now,” says Alex, reflecting on how much things have changed over the last five years, since he took the steps to invest in a Golden Visa. “People are staying in Portugal, and they’re staying to build things and to contribute something back”.
Smiling, he adds, “The new generation of Golden Visa investors is completely different from anything we’ve seen before: it’s a community of people who want to collaborate with each other, create roots in this country, and ultimately contribute to its growth and innovation.”
He is right to talk about a tipping point. Five or six years ago Portugal needed shot of new blood but now its become an unacceptable avalanche. The property market has become artificially inflated and Portuguese people are struggling to keep up with prices. Its time to say 'enough' and stop these promotions. However with many companies making money out of relocation to Portugal its unlikely to slow down any time soon which will not be good for the country or its people.
By harold from Algarve on 19 Aug 2022, 11:42
Buying crypto is not 'investing', but gambling with very high stakes. Be prepared to lose all. I think news articles that discuss crypto should be forced by law to carry a disclaimer warning readers of the risks. Since there is no asset backing or income stream from crypto, and it is not readily accepted as a means of exchange, its value can quickly plummet to zero. Fool's gold and another Ponzi scheme in the making.
By Billy Bissett from Porto on 19 Aug 2022, 12:33
What is it always with the crypto currency topics in Portugal News? It should by obvious by now even to journalists that almost all of them are scams.
By Florian Faber from Beiras on 21 Aug 2022, 08:19
Harold, as a Portuguese, thank you for your comment. I appreciate it when people see our side.
By Raquel from Beiras on 21 Aug 2022, 10:37