Home > Start a Business > Empresa Online vs. Rauva: Which is Best for Company Setup?

Empresa Online vs. Rauva: Which is Best for Company Setup?

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 31 January 2024

16mins read

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If you're starting a business in Portugal, there are a variety of platforms you can use to get your company officially off the ground. In this article, we will focus on two of the best: Empresa Online and Rauva.

Empresa Online is a digital service offered by the Portuguese government to simplify the business registration process. It's the online counterpart to the physical Empresa Na Hora service, offering a quick way to get your business up and running without the need for in-person visits.

On the other hand, Rauva is the modern entrepreneur's dream come true. It's not just about business registration, but an all-in-one platform designed to help you conduct business at every stage. From company creation to banking solutions, Rauva is the go-to for small businesses looking for a seamless, integrated experience.

Both Empresa Online and Rauva promise to streamline the process of starting a company, but which one truly delivers? Let's dive in and see which option is better for the modern-day business owner!

What is Empresa Online?

Empresa Online is a digital platform introduced by the Portuguese government to revolutionize the way businesses are registered in the country. It's part of the ePortugal portal, a broader initiative to digitize various public services, making them more accessible and efficient for citizens and state and local governments alike.

Here's a closer look at what Empresa Online brings to the table:

  • **Digital Convenience:** Gone are the days of waiting in long queues or hopping from one office to another. With Empresa Online, the entire business registration process can be completed from the comfort of your home or office. All you need is an internet connection and the required documents.
  • **Quick Turnaround:** The platform boasts a swift registration process. Once you've submitted all the necessary documentation and it's verified, your company can be officially registered in a matter of hours.
  • **Pre-Approved Business Names:** To expedite the process, Empresa Online offers a list of pre-approved business names. While this can speed things up, it might limit your options if you have a specific company name in mind.
  • **Integrated Services:** Beyond just registration, Empresa Online provides access to other essential services like Social Security, Tax Authority, and more. This integration ensures that you're compliant with all legal requirements from day one.
  • **Transparent Fees:** The platform provides a clear breakdown of all associated costs, ensuring there are no hidden surprises along the way.

Empresa Online is great for the average business owner and fitting for most businesses in Portugal. However, being great isn't the same as being the best. Can Rauva's services top Empresa Online? Let's see!

What is Rauva, The All-in-One Business Partner?

Rauva isn't just another business registration platform; it's a revolution in how business owners approach starting and managing their businesses in Portugal. Built by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs, Rauva understands the challenges of the modern business landscape and offers solutions that are both practical and innovative.

Here's a snapshot of what makes Rauva stand out:

  • **Tailored Solutions:** Rauva offers bespoke solutions tailored to the unique needs of each entrepreneur, ensuring that you get your business decisions right from the start.
  • **Beyond Registration:** While Empresa Online is a business registration service, Rauva encompasses all kinds of small-company solutions, including invoicing, certified accounting, and even expense management.
  • **User-Friendly Interface:** With a focus on simplicity and clarity, Rauva's platform is designed to be intuitive. Even if you're new to the world of business, navigating through Rauva's services is a breeze.
  • **Transparent Pricing:** No hidden fees or complex pricing structures. Rauva believes in transparency, ensuring that entrepreneurs know exactly what they're paying for.
  • **Expert Support:** Rauva's team isn't just about tech; it's backed by industry experts who offer invaluable insights and advice, ensuring that your business is on the path to success.
  • **Flexibility in Naming:** Unlike the pre-approved naming system of Empresa Online, Rauva offers more flexibility, allowing businesses to choose a company name that truly represents their brand and vision.

What’s the Difference Between Empresa Online and Empresa Na Hora?

When diving into the world of Portuguese business registration, two services pop up: Empresa Online and Empresa Na Hora. While they might seem similar at first glance, they serve distinct purposes.

Empresa Na Hora:

  • **Instant Registration:** Empresa Na Hora translates to "Company in an Hour," and, as the name implies, is a service that allows entrepreneurs to register their business in a physical location within an hour.
  • **Pre-Approved Names:** This service comes with a list of pre-approved company names from which entrepreneurs can choose, making the process quicker but less personalized.
  • **Physical Presence:** To use Empresa Na Hora, one needs to visit a designated state's office in person, making it less convenient for those who prefer online solutions.

Empresa Online:

  • **Digital Platform:** Empresa Online is a digital service that allows entrepreneurs to register their businesses from the comfort of their homes or offices.
  • **Flexible Naming:** Empresa Online offers more flexibility in naming than Empresa Na Hora, but there are still some guidelines to follow.
  • **Documentation Upload:** All necessary documents can be uploaded online, streamlining the process and reducing the need for physical paperwork.

In essence, Empresa Na Hora is a quick, in-person solution with pre-defined names, whereas Empresa Online offers a more flexible, digital approach to business registration. But what about Rauva?

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The Process: Empresa Online vs. Rauva

Navigating the business registration landscape can be daunting, especially when you're presented with multiple options. So, let's break down the process of using both Empresa Online and Rauva, highlighting their respective advantages and potential drawbacks.

Empresa Online Pros and Cons


  • **Digital Convenience:** Register your business from anywhere without the need to visit a physical office.
  • **Flexible Naming:** Unlike Empresa Na Hora, you're not restricted to a list of pre-approved names.
  • **Integrated Platform:** Empresa Online is backed by the Portuguese government, ensuring a level of trust and reliability.


  • **Learning Curve:** For those unfamiliar with digital platforms, there might be a slight learning curve.
  • **Limited Support:** While there's a helpline, it might not offer the personalized guidance some entrepreneurs seek.
  • **Language Barrier:** The platform is primarily in Portuguese, which might pose challenges for non-native speakers.

Rauva Pros and Cons


  • **All-in-One Solution:** Rauva isn't just about business registration. It's a comprehensive platform offering financial solutions, banking, and more.
  • **Expert Guidance:** Get personalized assistance throughout your business journey, ensuring you make informed decisions.
  • **English Interface:** Catering to a global audience, Rauva offers its services in English, breaking down language barriers.
  • **Transparent Pricing:** No hidden fees or surprises. Rauva clients know exactly what they're paying for!
  • **Speedy Process:** With Rauva's streamlined approach, get your business up and running in no time.


  • **Newer Platform:** Being a newer entrant, some might be unfamiliar with Rauva. However, its growing reputation and positive reviews are quickly changing that.

Comparison Table: Empresa Online vs. Rauva

FeatureEmpresa OnlineRauva
Platform TypeDigital Government ServiceComprehensive Business Platform
LanguagePrimarily PortugueseEnglish
PricingVaries based on servicesTransparent and upfront
SupportHelplinePersonalized Assistance
Additional ServicesLimited to registrationBanking, Financial Solutions, and more
User ExperienceStandard digital interfaceUser-friendly, modern interface
SpeedFastFaster with integrated services

By comparing Empresa Online and Rauva side by side, it's evident that while both platforms offer valuable services, Rauva provides a more holistic, user-friendly, and supportive experience for entrepreneurs, especially those who might be navigating the business landscape for the first time.

Steps to Register: Empresa Online vs. Rauva

Starting a business is a thrilling journey, and registering your company is the necessary first move. Let's dive into the step-by-step registration process for both Empresa Online and Rauva, so you can decide which route is best for you.

Empresa Online Registration Process: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Access the Platform: Visit the official Empresa Online website.

2. Create an Account: Sign up using your personal details.

3. Choose Business Type: Select the type of business structure you want to establish.

4. Name Selection: Unlike Empresa Na Hora, you have the flexibility to choose a unique name or use the pre-approved list.

5. Submit Documentation: Upload the necessary documents as per the selected business structure.

6. Payment: Pay the registration fee online.

7. Wait for Approval: Once submitted, your application will be reviewed. Upon approval, you'll receive your business registration number.

8. Finalize Details: Submit any additional requirements or documentation as promptly as possible.

Rauva Registration Process: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Visit Rauva: Head to the Rauva company creation page.

2. Choose a Package: Rauva offers different packages tailored to various business needs. Select the one that fits you best.

3. Provide Business Details: Enter your desired company name, business entity, and other essential business details.

4. Upload Documents: Rauva's platform will guide you on the specific documents needed, and all you have to do is upload them directly.

5. Expert Review: Rauva's team will review your application, ensuring compliance and complete legal protection.

6. Secure Payment: Make a secure online payment for the chosen package.

7. Receive Confirmation: Once approved, you'll get a confirmation email with your business registration details.

8. Ongoing Support: In case of trouble, continue benefiting from Rauva's extended business services, including certified accounting and invoicing.

Registering Comparison

  • **Speed:** Empresa Online's platform is designed for online registration, but Rauva's end-to-end digital service ensures a swift and efficient process without any hiccups.
  • **Professional Assistance:** Rauva's team of experts is always on hand to guide you, ensuring that every step of your registration is smooth and compliant.
  • **All-in-One Solution:** Beyond just registration, Rauva offers a plethora of tools and services to help businesses thrive and grow in the competitive market.
  • **Cost Transparency:** While Empresa Online has a clear fee structure, Rauva prides itself on transparent pricing with no hidden costs, giving businesses clearer financial foresight.

When pitted against each other, both Empresa Online and Rauva bring valuable offerings to the table. However, Rauva's all-inclusive approach, coupled with its emphasis on user experience and business growth, positions it as the go-to choice for budding entrepreneurs in Portugal.

Cost Comparison: Empresa Online vs. Rauva

When starting a business, understanding the costs involved is crucial. You don't want to be spending that precious venture capital on unnecessary fees, especially if you're still not a registered agent in Portugal.

Both Empresa Online and Rauva offer competitive pricing structures, but it's essential to delve deeper to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.

Empresa Online:

  • **Initial Registration Fee:** While Empresa Online offers a relatively low fee for the initial registration, there may be additional costs for specific services or documentation.
  • **Annual Renewal:** There's an annual fee associated with maintaining your registration with Empresa Online. This fee can vary based on the type of business and any additional services you might need.
  • **Hidden Costs:** It's essential to read the fine print. Some services might come with additional charges, especially if you require expedited processing or specialized documentation.


  • **All-Inclusive Pricing:** Rauva prides itself on transparent pricing. The initial fee covers everything from registration to professional assistance, ensuring there are no surprises down the line.
  • **No Annual Renewal Fees:** Once you're registered with Rauva, there are no hidden annual renewal fees. Your initial investment covers you for the long haul.
  • **Value-Added Services:** The cost of registration with Rauva also includes access to a suite of business tools and services, ensuring you get more bang for your buck.

Cost Comparison

In terms of sheer value, Rauva's transparent and all-inclusive pricing model offers a clear advantage. Not only do you save on hidden fees and annual renewals, but you also gain access to tools and services designed to support your business's growth.

In short, Empresa Online is like a one-way ticket into the business world, whereas Rauva accompanies you throughout your everyday business operations in the long term.

Tips for a Smooth Registration Process

Whether you're opting for Empresa Online or Rauva, following these expert tips can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience:

1. Research and Understand the Requirements: Before diving in, take the time to understand the specific requirements of each platform. While Rauva offers a comprehensive guide and dedicated support, familiarizing yourself with the basics can expedite the process.

2. Gather Essential Documents: Both platforms will require specific documentation. Ensure you have all necessary papers, such as identification, proof of address, and any business-related documents, ready and in order.

3. Seek Professional Assistance: Don't hesitate to seek expert advice, especially if you are new to the world of business. Rauva offers professional assistance as part of their package, ensuring all legalities are handled correctly.

4. Plan Your Business Name: While Empresa Online uses a pre-approved list, Rauva offers more flexibility. Regardless, remember to keep a few names in mind in case your first choice isn't available.

5. Stay Organized: Keep all your documents, emails, and any correspondence in one place. This organization will be invaluable if you need to reference something later.

6. Ask Questions: If you're unsure about something, ask! Both platforms offer support, but Rauva's dedicated team can provide in-depth answers to ensure you're making informed decisions.

7. Stay Updated: Regulations and requirements can change. Regularly check the respective platform's website or subscribe to updates to stay informed.

8. Review Everything Before Submission: Before hitting that 'submit' button, double-check all your information. A small error can lead to delays, so ensure everything is accurate.

9. Be Patient: While both platforms aim for a swift registration process, there might be times when things take a bit longer than expected. Understand that these processes are in place to ensure everything is legally sound.

10. Celebrate Your Milestone: Once you've successfully registered, take a moment to celebrate. Starting a business is a significant achievement, and you're now one step closer to realizing your entrepreneurial dream!

Remember: the key to a smooth registration process lies in preparation and understanding. By following these tips and leveraging the support and tools available, you'll be well on your way to a successful business launch.

Things to Keep in Mind When Registering a Business in Portugal

Regardless of the service, there are a few things every business owner should keep in mind when trying to become a registered agent in Portugal:

Selecting the Right Business Structure/Business Entity

There are several types of legal structure available in Portugal, from the Sole Proprietorship and S Corp-style SA to the Limited Liability Company (which is typically customized by an operating agreement document).

Large and small businesses alike need to be aware of the pros and cons of each business structure to see which one is most fitting for their company. For each structure, there are specific rules concerning liability, membership, and taxes.

Getting a Tax Identification Number for Your Business

In Portugal, the Tax Identification Number for businesses is the Collective Person Identification Number (NIPC), which can be requested via the ePortugal portal. This number is essential for performing tasks such as hiring employees, and it's sort of the Portuguese version of the United States' Employer Identification Number.

Essentials for Foreign Business Owners

The process of creating a business in Portugal as a foreigner starts way before business registration. As a sole business owner, there are some things you should check off the list before becoming a registered agent:

1. Get a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF): It's pretty much impossible to create a new business in Portugal without getting an NIF Number first. This is an important first-step for most business decisions in Portugal, and vital for everything from renting a house to registering Intellectual Property.

2. Open a Portuguese bank account: Having a Portuguese bank account can extensively facilitate all processes concerning new corporations and small businesses.

3. Set a business location: If you're opening a business in Portugal but you still don't live in the country, do your best to decide on the best business location before contacting Empresa Online or Rauva. Settling on a business name beforehand is also recommended!

4. Research the local business structure requirements: A Portuguese Limited Liability Company is very similar to an American LLC, but a Portuguese SA is much different from an American S Corp (for example). What we mean is that there are major differences between the legal structures in Portugal and other states, so don't forget to do your research!

5. Learn the language: "Través de" is different from "Através de," and "para empezar" is different from "para iniciar." Portuguese people hate it when foreigners mistake Portuguese and Spanish, so make sure to learn a little something about the local language and respect Portuguese business etiquette.

Empresa Online vs. Rauva: The Verdict

Thanks to platforms like Empresa Online and Rauva, starting a business in Portugal has never been more accessible! Both offer unique advantages tailored to different needs:

  • **Empresa Online:** Provides a government-backed solution, ensuring a streamlined process for those familiar with the Portuguese business landscape.
  • **Rauva:** It's an all-in-one business partner. From its digital-first approach to the inclusion of professional legal assistance, Rauva offers a comprehensive package designed to support business owners at every step of the way.

While Empresa Online is a solid choice for those who prefer a more traditional route, Rauva's holistic approach, combined with its emphasis on user experience and support, makes it an ideal choice for modern entrepreneurs, especially those new to the business world.

In conclusion, Rauva's commitment to simplifying the business registration process, coupled with its suite of post-registration tools and services, positions it as a top choice for those looking to embark on their entrepreneurial journey in Portugal.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the main difference between Empresa Online and Rauva?

Empresa Online is a government-backed platform focused on business registration in Portugal, whereas Rauva is a private, all-encompassing business app.

How long does the registration process take with both platforms?

While both platforms aim for a swift registration process, Rauva's digital-first approach often results in quicker turnarounds, especially when all required documents are in order.

Are there any hidden fees associated with Empresa Online or Rauva?

Both platforms are transparent about their pricing. However, it's always a good idea to review the detailed cost breakdown to avoid surprises. Rauva's all-inclusive packages often provide better value for comprehensive services.

Can I get legal assistance with my registration on Rauva?

Absolutely! Rauva includes professional legal assistance in its packages, ensuring that entrepreneurs have expert guidance throughout the registration process.

Is it necessary to visit any physical offices for registration?

With Empresa Online, there might be instances where physical visits are required. Rauva's digital-first approach minimizes or eliminates the need for such visits, making the process more convenient.

Which platform offers more post-registration support?

Rauva stands out in this aspect, offering a range of tools and services designed to support businesses post-registration, from financial solutions to growth tools.

How do I choose between Empresa Online and Rauva?

Consider your specific needs. If you're looking for a straightforward registration process with added benefits like legal assistance, financial tools, and post-registration support, Rauva might be the better choice.

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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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