Incubated at Vodafone Power Lab’s centre at UPTEC – the University of Porto Science and Technology Park – Zarco enables anyone to be a host in their own city and provide unique, personalised experiences to travellers. Conscious of the enormous local knowledge that is not being tapped by the labour market, Zarco wants to attract qualified professionals and is offering very attractive and competitive conditions.
Zarco’s name was inspired by the adventurous spirit of the Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco. It enables travellers to book a local travel partner in their areas of interest, simply and intuitively.
Recognising that tourism is one of the sectors that has been growing fastest in Portugal, supporting the growth of the local economy, Zarco wants to contribute positively to this market with a business model that aims to be a personalised alternative to traditional travel tours, with differentiated services. Zarco would like a foreign architect, for example, visiting Porto, Lisbon, Braga, Coimbra or Guimarães to get to know the city through the eyes of a Portuguese architect who lives in the area as a local. One of the most famous characteristics of the Portuguese is the warmth and kindness of our welcome to visitors.
With huge potential to change the personalised travel business, Zarco won the support of Vodafone Power Lab when it entered the competition for the UPTEC Start-ups School, a training programme that is supported under Vodafone Portugal’s entrepreneurship and innovation stimulus programme. Since November, Zarco’s founders have had free use of the co-working space at Vodafone Power Lab at UPTEC and received mentoring and training from Vodafone professionals, who have helped them to understand the ins and outs of the long, hard process of turning an idea into a business.
That is, in essence, the unique feature of Vodafone Power Lab: to help Portuguese entrepreneurs at an embryonic stage by giving them a place to work when they most need it, and then allowing them to create their own start-ups and successfully bring their businesses to market.