Country Guide

Brazil

Brazil
Mike Ajnsztajn

Guest Editor

Mike Ajnsztajn

Founder at ACE Startups

Mike Ajnsztajn is the founder of both ACE Startups, a leading Brazilian tech accelerator and seed investor, and GVAngels, an angel investment group investing in Brazil’s early stage startups. He is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the venture capital and private equity industry, and a leader in Brazil’s startup ecosystem.

Guest editors are local ecosystem leaders: successful founders, investors, or thought leaders. Have someone in mind? Nominate a country guest editor.

Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.

Startup ecosystem summary

Key Startup Cities

São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Florianópolis

Connected Country Ecosystems

US, China, Latin America, UK

Differentiators

  • Big consumer market that continues to expand due to increased technology and internet access
  • One of the main global players in agribusiness
  • High unemployment rates leading people to entrepreneurship

Challenges

  • High tax rates 
  • Social inequality
  • Lack of basic infrastructure
  • Troubled and insufficient basic education
  • Outdated legislation

Editor's Guide

Introduction

There are 12,000 active startups in Brazil, most of which follow the SaaS business model and target the B2B segment. The southeastern region of the country includes the largest number of startups due to the majority of the economic representativeness within the city of São Paulo. But, there are also technological centers that stand out in the South like Florianópolis, and in the Northeast like Recife.

The main challenges that Brazilian startups face are the lack of talent and the high tax burden or bureaucracy in legal aspects. Brazil already accounts for most of Latin America’s investment, about US$1.3 billion, and is increasingly attracting the attention of large international funds.

Brazil currently has nine unicorns, most of which operate in the B2C segment.

Outlook

Startup engagement is a very relevant trend going on right now with Brazil’s large corporations. There are currently over 140 active startup engagement programs, and half of these programs are accompanied by startup investment funds. Initiatives to support entrepreneurship are emerging and access to entrepreneurial education is increasingly being incentivized. 

Brazil has 9 active unicorns in the ecosystem, including Nubank, Fifth Andar, 99, Stone, Gympass, among others. These startup unicorns actively contribute to the emergence of the next generation of entrepreneurs in Brazil.

Focus Industries

Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.

AgtechBrazil is a global leader in the production, exportation and importation of crops such as sugarcane, coffee, soybeans, wheat and corn. Agribusiness represents 25% of Brazil’s GDP and is currently going through a technological transformation due to the startup ecosystem.
FintechDigital banks have increasingly gaining momentum in the Brazilian market, growing at an average rate of 147% per year, This growth is driven by a large concentration of banking within large banks, and the fact that a high percentage of the population does not have access to traditional banking services. Other attractive fintech segments worth following include loans and insurance.
HealthtechThere’s a massive opportunity for disruption and growth in the Healthtech industry because of the inefficiency of a public system that cannot meet the high demand and concentration of the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals. New technologies are being developed to increase both operational and financial efficiency.

Featured Tech Startups

Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.

Startup Showcase

Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.

NOALVO was born to help media professionals not to lose their nights of sleep, from media planning, negotiation and buying, to campaign execution. It deals media with multiple vehicles at the same time throughout Brazil and strives daily to bring media options to small and medium advertisers who previously had no access to them. Clients only need to create campaigns and then track the results.

Talent

Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.

  • Technical TalentUndeveloped
  • Marketing TalentAdvanced
  • Experienced TalentModerate
  • International TalentUndeveloped

Interested in becoming more involved in this ecosystem and connecting with local ecosystem leaders? Let us know.

Country Snapshot

Economy

Startup funding
Startup funding
US$1.3 billion (2018)
Standard of living
Standard of living
Global rank: 101
Innovation
Innovation
Global rank: 66
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Global rank: 98
Annual GDP growth
Annual GDP growth
1.1% (Global avg. 3.0%)
Ease of doing business
Ease of doing business
Global rank: 124
Ease of starting a business
Ease of starting a business
Global rank: 138
Research and development
Research and development
1.3% of GDP (Global avg. 2.3%)
Contract enforcement
Contract enforcement
Global rank: 58

Sources

Startup Funding: LAVCA
STANDARD OF LIVING: International Monetary Fund - GDP per capita (PPP)
INNOVATION: Global Innovation Index
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Global Entrepreneurship Index
ANNUAL GDP GROWTH: World Bank
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS: World Bank
EASE OF STARTING A BUSINESS: World Bank
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: World Bank
CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT: World Bank

Society

Population
Population
212.6 million
Government
Government
Federal Presidential Republic
Stability
Stability
Global rank: 74
Internet usage
Internet usage
70.4%
Smartphone usage
Smartphone usage
41.3%
Literacy
Literacy
90%
Population under 15
Population under 15
21%
Median age
Median age
32.6

Sources

POPULATION: Worldometers
GOVERNMENT: The World Factbook
STABILITY: Global Innovation Index
INTERNET USAGE: International Telecommunications Union
SMARTPHONE USAGE: Newzoo
LITERACY: World Atlas
POPULATION UNDER 15: World Bank
MEDIAN AGE: The World Factbook

Community

Active Investors

ACE Startups (Sao Paulo): Former startup accelerator, now seeks to invest in early stage startups, from seed rounds to series A. Since 2012 it has had 14 exits.
(Source: ACE Startups)

Astella Investimentos (Sao Paulo): Astella Investimentos is a São Paulo-based early-stage venture capital investor for “heroes,” or entrepreneurs looking to make a large-scale impact on consumers. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Bossanova Investimentos (Sao Paulo): Bossanova Investimentos is a Brazilian Micro-VC focused on pre-seed stage technology companies.

Canary VC (Sao Paulo): Canary VC is a seed stage fund that trades 10-15% equity for investments in tech companies that are at a critical juncture in their growth. They focus on the vision of the entrepreneur and the strength of the starting team as they select their ventures. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Confrapar (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte): Confrapar is a Brazilian fund manager focused on technology companies with offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. Confrapar invests up to USD$12 million in each company and currently has 10 technology companies in its portfolio. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

DGF Investimentos (Sao Paulo): This Brazilian venture capital firm focuses on small- to medium-sized enterprises in the Brazilian technology market. They have already made over 40 investments, with several successful exits. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Kaszek Ventures Brazil (Sao Paulo): This Brazilian and Argentinian venture capital firm focuses on high-impact technology companies that want to operate in Latin American markets. Kaszek provides not only capital but also hands-on mentorship, networking, product development, team-building, and plenty of resources to help entrepreneurs develop viable businesses. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Monashees+ (Sao Paulo): Monashees+ is a global venture capital firm based in São Paulo that invests in innovative entrepreneurs at the early stages of their ventures. Their portfolio includes companies that are improving people’s lives through tech, such as Rappi, VivaReal, and Petlove. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

ONEVC (Sao Paulo): ONEVC is a Silicon Valley and Brazil-based generalist seed-stage venture firm focused on investing in entrepreneurs that tackle multi-billion dollar markets with solid product-market fit.

Redpoint eVentures (Sao Paulo): Redpoint eVentures is an early stage venture capital firm located in São Paulo, Brazil. The firm is partners with Redpoint Ventures and e.ventures in Silicon Valley and boasts an impressive portfolio of 15+ companies, including big names like Rappi and Gympass. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

SP Ventures (Sao Paulo): SP Ventures is the investment manager of the São Paulo Innovation Fund (FIP), with LPs such as Desenvolve SP, FINEP, FAPESP, Sebrae-SP, CAF and Jive Investments. The fund has a total amount of R$105 Million, focused on technology-based startups in the state of São Paulo, prioritizing Agtechs, Healthtechs and Fintechs companies. (Source: SP Ventures)

Startup Angels (Sao Paulo): Startup Angels is an international network that inspires and enables angel investors worldwide, with an office in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Valor Capital Group (Rio de Janeiro): Valor focuses on US/Brazil cross-border opportunities and is based in New York, Menlo Park, and Rio de Janeiro. They look for early to late-stage US or international technology companies seeking to expand to Brazil, as well as Brazilian technology companies. Valor Capital Group companies solve the problems that face the middle class, especially in the fields of education, financial services, and health. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Warehouse Investimentos (Sao Paulo): This venture capital firm based in São Paulo is focused on technology and “green tech” startups with high-growth potential. Generally, Warehouse Investimentos does not invest in companies with over USD$8 million in yearly revenue already. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

incubators

Hub SP (Sao Paulo)

InovAtiva Brasil (Country-wide): InovAtiva Brasil is a free program that has nurtured over 540 startups funded by Ministry of Industry, Economy, and International Commerce, and the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE). (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Lemonade (Belo Horizonte)

Nexus Hub (São José dos Campos)

SEED (Belo Horizonte)

accelerators

Darwin Startups (Florianópolis)

Oxigênio Aceleradora (Sao Paulo): A startup accelerator focused on the financial services industry.

Startup Farm (Sao Paulo): This is the biggest and most active startup accelerator in Brazil with over USD$100 million in captured investments and a portfolio of over 250 startups operating in 110 countries. Sponsored by Visa and IBM, the Startup Farm operates out of Google’s São Paulo campus. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Wayra Brazil (Sao Paulo): Wayra is a top international accelerator operating throughout Latin America to improve telecommunication technology. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Startups Raising Capital
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Startups Hiring
There’s more to be discovered! Help us showcase this startup community by adding information.
Coworking Spaces/Hubs

Alfa (Florianópolis)

Cubo (Sao Paulo)

Plug (Sao Paulo)

Sapiens Parque (Florianópolis)

conferences

CASE (Sao Paulo)

Hacktown (São Rita do Sapucaí)

StartSe Events (Sau Paulo): Events organized by Brazilian ecosystem builder/education company StartSe.

Startup SC (Florianópolis)

Whow (Sao Paulo)

meetups

Coders in Rio (Rio de Janeiro)

Government Programs

ABVCAP: The Association for Private Equity and Venture Capital of Brazil is a non-profit focusing on venture capital and private equity in Brazil, raising industry standards and promoting global best practices in Brazil. ABVCAP is one of the only VC initiatives by the Brazilian government after the country suffered heavily in the 2008 financial crisis. The organization strives to facilitate relationships between international and local investors. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

ACATE (Florianópolis)

Apex Brazil Corporate Ventures Program: This Brazilian government program is designed to promote Brazilian products abroad and works to encourage corporate venture capital investments in Brazil by bringing investors there and hosting networking events with the entire Brazilian VC community. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

BH-TEC (Belo Horizonte)

Start-Up Brazil: Based on the Start-Up Chile model, this incubator program is a project by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communication that partners with local accelerators to help bring startups through the phases of development and lasts 12 months. (Source: Nathan Lustig)

Startup Rio (Rio de Janeiro)

Universities

Insper (Sao Paulo)

StartSe Courses (Virtual): Online courses offered by Brazilian ecosystem builder organization StartSe.

UNICAMP (Sao Paulo)

Tech Publications

Contxto Brazil: Latin America's go-to site for tech and startup news. (Source: Contxto)

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Contxto

Santander InnoVentures leads US$5 million investment in a55

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Santander Bank’s corporate venture capital (VC) arm, Santander InnoVentures led a US$5 million investment in […]
May 30th, 2020
LatAm List

Accountfy raises $6.5M led by Redpoint eventures and HDI Seguros

Share thisLatamList – Accountfy, a Brazilian SaaS platform recently announced a new round of $6.5M (R$33M) in funding led by Redpoint eventures and HDI Seguros.  The […]
May 29th, 2020
LatAm List

Brazil’s President vetoes use of fintechs to distribute emergency aid

Share this byKatie TincelloMay 29, 2020No comments1 minute read LatamList – President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed a government bill that allows the use of fintechs for the […]
May 29th, 2020
Contxto

Accountfy raises US$6.5 million with Redpoint eventures and HDI Seguros

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Accountants at Brazilian, Accountfy, recently added US$6.5 million onto the startup’s “assets” column in its […]
May 29th, 2020
Contxto

Stone acquires healthtech Vitta and invests in 3 other startups

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Fintech Stone is making its debut into healthcare (sort of). Expanding its scope, the Brazilian […]
May 28th, 2020
Contxto

Fashion startup, houpa, is in vogue with investors, raises US$2.3 million

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Fashion marketplace houpa is looking sharp! The startup recently raised R$12 million (around US$2.3 million) […]
May 27th, 2020
Contxto

Escale buys Cobmax, proving CX is more important than ever

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Customer acquisitions startup, Escale, acquired customer-acquiring Cobmax (say that three times fast) and made the […]
May 27th, 2020
Contxto

Fintech Brex raises US$150 million in Series C extension

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – Brazilian-founded Brex raised an investment for US$150 million as an extension of a previous Series […]
May 26th, 2020
LatAm List

Companies join forces to increase COVID-19 testing in Brazil

Share this byKatie TincelloMay 26, 2020No comments1 minute read LatamList – Dozens of companies ranging from healthcare to logistics and payments have come together to create […]
May 26th, 2020
Contxto

Brazilian retailer, Via Varejo, acquires fintech Airfox

Share thisDon’t worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too! Contxto – More often than not, it’s banks that buy out fintechs. But this time around it’s […]
May 25th, 2020
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