Digital Business Ecosystems

1st Edition - (Date:18 September 2015 to 11 December 2015)
This Course is currently running at the Department of Industrial Engineering, FCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The Digital Business Ecosystems is a course aimed at imparting practical skills and training, regarding Digital Businesses, Startup Development and the Startup Ecosystem. Its objectives are:
  • In depth understanding of Digital Business and the unique opportunities it offers to Startups.
  • Understanding the digital ecosystem and its various actors.
  • Learn the processes and stages of development of a Startup.
  • Practical experience in developing a Digital Business

Currently this course is being given to students of Industrial Engineering at the New University of Lisbon, but will be openly shared over this platform so that other students can also benefit and use this course.

Course Structure

  • What is a Digital Business?
  • What are its unique characteristics that can be exploited
  • Different Types of Digital Business (Startup genome, lean analytics classifications)
  • Expanding scope - Internet of things, gadgets, hardware

  • Why an ecosystem is important
  • NESTA City Report Excerpts
  • Accelerators - historical evolution and role
  • University Incubators
  • Incubators, co-work spaces
  • Business Angels, VC funds
  • Meetups, Events
  • Social Networking Platforms - F6S, Founder Dating
Task for the next class
  • Identify the main actors in the Lisbon Ecosystem:
    • Accelerators
    • Incubators
    • Co-work Spaces
    • Angel Investors
    • Venture Capital Funds
  • Present them in a short presentation explaining their starting date, and a brief profile.

  • How to have Idea
  • Empathy and User Needs
  • Hypothesis and testing through User Inetrviews
  • Validation through Trials
  • Examples of Idea Development and Pivots
  • Metrics to watch out for
  • Digital Technologies popularly used
  • Open Source
  • Data Mining and Processing
  • Hardware Interfaces
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Production Outsourcing
  • Skillsets to look for.
  • Team Building
  • Establishing inspiring team culture
  • Management
  • Common Founder Mistakes
  • Startup Life Cycle
  • Types of Business Models
  • Lean Product Management
  • Revenue and Pricing
  • Brand Building
  • Customer acquisition
  • Business Sustainability
  • How to find a mentor?
  • How to attract the attention of a mentor?
  • How to keep a mentor?
  • Idea of Passion
  • Pitching Prelimineries
  • How to get into a Startup Accelerator
  • Succesful Pitches
  • What Investors look for
  • How startups grew without external financing
  • Later-stage Advice
  • How to turn products into companies


Visit an accelerator, incubator or co-work space, and identify a startup of your choice, preferably one that has a had a market launch. (Planned visit to Beta-i or Startup Lisboa)

Prepare a questionnaire that covers the following aspects:

  • Idea inspiration, triggers
  • Pivots or changes made along the way
  • How team was assembled
  • Cross competencies of different team members
  • Trace historical evolution of the startups with current stage
  • Identify Business Model and revenue model
  • Identify metrics (Current no. of users, geographies, revenue, profits, investment, etc)
  • Identify factors in the ecosystem that impact them the most - Accelerators, Incubators, Work Spaces, Regulations, availability of talent
  • How would they rate the current ecosystem in Lisbon with respect to above mentioned factors
  • How they intend to internationalise 

You are encouraged to use this class to launch your own startup which you can continue even after the scope of this class. If you already have a business idea, and want to include other members outside the class, for this assignment feel free to do so (for example including programmers, designers). Ideally there should be at 3 students from the class in each group, but if you are having team members from outside then at least 2 members from the class are necessary. It is very much encouraged if you can find outside skills, especially programmers to build a working model of your idea.
Platform to be used for idea development:
You will be developing a Business Model, Strategy, Pitching, Implementation and Execution skills related to this startup during the period of the programme.



This course is supported by through the provision of their Technology Platform for Business Model Development.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 644847