Something significant and exciting has hatched in Brazil. It wasn’t apparent five years ago. It seems like overnight an industry of exciting and innovative startup companies are popping up in Brazil along with a sophisticated investing community. This combination of new cutting edge technologies and bold startup capital has brought an excitement to the Brazilian business community that hasn’t been seen since the days of privatization.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Latin American Cities Conference in Rio de Janeiro with TIG's Director of Technology, Ryan Donnelly, in April of this year. The subject of the conference was “Advancing Entrepreneurship And Innovation”. Ryan has been putting in many hours helping the development of startup WeDemand, a platform for crowdfunding of concerts and other live events. This novel concept, of the fans deciding which acts they want to see, was born is Brazil and now being exported to the USA. Present with us at the conference were Internet business leaders such as Marcio Kumruian, the founder and CEO of Netshoes, and Kevin Efrusy, partner at Accel and an early investor in Facebook. What made this event unique was the presence of new startup accelerators, who seem to be just as aggressively searching for new innovative companies to invest in as those innovative companies are searching for capital. This is creating a perfect storm and the result is a flourishing market of talented and innovative startup and new capital investment companies in Brazil. Also in attendance at the conference was Felipe Matos, COO of Startup Brasil, a project set up by the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology that provides capital for startup companies with innovative ideas. Benjamin White, founder of 21212, perhaps Brazil's premier startup accelerator, active with Internet and social media startups, was present at the event as well. There was pure excitement at this event where new ideas can seem to begin to take form right before your eyes. It is important to note that present in the Conference were also mid-stage investment capital leaders like Francisco Alvarez-Demalde, founder of Riverwood Capital Partners. These types of investment firms are critical for companies who have successfully started and that are now ready to move to the next level.
This growing industry of innovative technologies and their application to new communication devices is making life easier and changing the way Brazilians live and do business. The growing number of serious and savvy angel investment groups and accelerators is helping to push these new technology-driven products and services into the marketplace. I am thrilled that The Interamerica Group is entering into this dynamic industry in Brazil through its association with new tech companies like Park Mobile, the pay-by-app parking technology company, and WeDemand. We expect significant growth in this sector this year and the next. This is not a fad. This coming together of creative tech startups and an early stage investment ecosystem is a game changer. With the incorporation of the Internet and mobile devices, this new industry with a powerful entrepreneurial spirit is setting a new course for business and lifestyle in Brazil.
As Brazil continues to mature in its traditional industries like banking, oil, and mining, be aware that a new industry, seldom seen in emerging markets, has sprung to life in the country. Innovative high tech startups and investors are carving out a place within the Brazilian economic landscape. Although not quite Silicon Valley, the growing technology startup sector in Brazil is here to stay.