Country Guide

Brazil

Brazil

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  • Outdated legislation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$2.49 billion as of 2019, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Brinc Brazil Food Tech Program (São Paulo): The Brazil Food Technology Accelerator Program was recently launched after the expansion of Brinc into the South American market. Brinc partnered with Lever VC, Grupo Baobá, Lifely VC, Outcast Ventures, Angel Ventures, Bioma Food Hub, and Food Ventures.

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
There’s more to be discovered! Help us showcase this startup community by adding information.
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)

Country Snapshot

Economy

Startup funding
Startup funding
US$2.49 billion (2019)
Standard of living
Standard of living
Global rank: N/A
Innovation
Innovation
Global rank: 62 (2020)
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Global rank: 98 (2022)
Annual GDP growth
Annual GDP growth
4.6% (2021)
(Global avg. 3.0%)
Ease of doing business
Ease of doing business
Global rank: 124 (2019)
Ease of starting a business
Ease of starting a business
Global rank: 138
Research and development
Research and development
1.2% 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

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

Society

Population
Population
212.6 million (2020)
Government
Government
Federal Presidential Republic
Stability
Stability
Global rank: 91 (2020)
Internet usage
Internet usage
81.3% (2020)
Smartphone usage
Smartphone usage
51.4% (2020)
Literacy
Literacy
93% (2018)
Population under 15
Population under 15
20% (2021)
Median age
Median age
34.3 (2018)

Sources

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

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

Are we missing something? Help us showcase this ecosystem by suggesting additional content. Join us as a Startup Universal contributor!

Clear filter
Add post
LatAm List

The Spaniards from K Fund cross the Atlantic to invest in LatAm startups

byAlejandra Cruz GarcíaSeptember 16, 2022No comments2 minute read There are new players wanting to invest in Latin America. The K Fund, one of the largest […]
September 16th, 2022
LatAm List

DeFi platform Credix raises $11.25M Series A to expand beyond Brazil

byAlejandra Cruz GarcíaSeptember 8, 2022No comments1 minute read Brazil-based Credix has raised $11.25 million in a Series A round led by Motive Partners & ParaFi […]
September 8th, 2022
LatAm List

BNPL fintech Pagaleve closes $25M Series A round

byCarolina GonzalezSeptember 7, 2022No comments1 minute read Henrique Weaver, Co-founder and CEO of Pagaleve The Brazilian fintech Pagaleve has closed a $25M Series A round […]
September 7th, 2022
LatAm List

Insurtech Latú Seguros raises largest pre-seed round in LatAm at $6.7M

byCarolina GonzalezAugust 26, 2022No comments1 minute read Paola Neira, founder of Latú Seguros Latú Seguros, an insurtech based in Brazil, has closed a $6.7M pre-seed […]
August 26th, 2022
LAVCA

IFC To Invest Up to BRL250m in Brazil’s Trademaster

(Pipeline) IFC agreed to invest up to BRL250m (~USD50m) in Trademaster, a Brazil-based credit platform for small retailers. Banco VC invested ~USD20m in 2021. IFC […]
August 22nd, 2022
LatAm List

Mexico’s Casai and Brazil’s Nomah merge to become LatAm’s strongest short-term rental player

Proptech startups Casai and Nomah announced their merger agreement that includes a capital increase from their current investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Loft and Monashees. The amount […]
August 19th, 2022
LatAm List

Votorantim and Temasek partner to launch $700M fund for Brazilian businesses

byCarolina GonzalezAugust 11, 2022No comments1 minute read Votorantim and Temasek announced a partnership to form a new investment fund called 23S Capital, in which they […]
August 11th, 2022
LatAm List

NG.CASH raises $10M to provide financial independence to young people in Brazil

byCarolina GonzalezAugust 10, 2022No comments1 minute read NG.CASH, a Brazilian fintech, announced it raised a $10M seed round led by Andreesen Horowitz (a16z) and Monashees. […]
August 10th, 2022
View more