Brazil 101: How to Get Smart on the Brazilian VC / Startup Scene

Hello everyone. Today I’m writing to you from the Startup Mansion. Launched by some of the smartest guys in the Brazilian startup universe (Daniel Hatkoff of Pitzi and Florian Hagenbuch & Mate Pencz of Printi), this place is a hotbed of Brazilian startup activity, and will serve as my home-away-from-home for the next month or so. It’s great to be surrounded by such a deep bench of startup talent during my time here.

The Mansion

The Mansion

Judging by its pillared facade, the Mansion really does resemble a small-scale version of its namesake… but inside, instead of a bunch of rich folks, you’ll find a bunch of startup guys and gals hard at work building businesses that will change the landscape of the Brazilian economy.

Startups at the Mansion

Startups at the Mansion

Awesome, right?!? Perhaps in a future post I’ll tell you more about exactly who is operating out of the Mansão, but first let’s address the topic at hand…

For my second post I thought I’d provide a quick rundown of some the resources you can use to “get smart” on the Brazilian VC / Startup ecosystem. I expect this to be useful for anyone considering coming down here to scope out business ideas, engage with VCs, or meet with startup founders. Those who are interested in the space from an academic or intellectual perspective will also find these materials helpful.

If you fall into the former category, and are actually visiting the country for business purposes, these resources will help you present and communicate in a more informed and intelligent fashion. They’ll also help you approach idea generation in a more geographically / culturally relevant way (more on this in a separate post). After all, you don’t want to be THAT guy… you know, the estrangeiro who comes down here with little-to-no market or cultural knowledge and thinks he can raise pre-product with nothing but a poorly conceived idea and an MBA… don’t be that guy! Instead, be informed and demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to understand current / trends dynamics and that you have at least a baseline understanding of local culture and the way it impacts how businesses scale in a Brazilian context. Doing this is not very difficult, and the resources I identify in this post (along with my blog of course :-)) will help you get there in no time.

I’ve broken down these resources into several categories: blogs, people to follow on twitter, people to follow on Quora, VC websites to explore… I am the first to acknowledge that this is not fully comprehensive, but I hope you all find it helpful in learning more about the local scene. Dive in!

Blogs. Probably your best and most up-to-date source of information on startups / VC in Brazil.

The Latin America Startup Blog. My friend Chris Johnson writes this blog. It’s probably the most comprehensive and insightful english language blog on startups in LatAm. His coverage skews towards Mexico (since that’s where he’s based), but still worth checking out.

Ted Rogers / Arpex Capital. Ted Rogers, another friend of mine and a prominent figure in the local VC community, maintains this blog. Very solid stuff, some unique and acti0nable insights here, definitely check it out. Ted – if you’re reading this – post more often!

A VC in Brazil. Rodrigo Baer from Warehouse Investimentos writes this blog. Good stuff. Take a look.

Brazil Venture Capital and Growth Equity. This guy is ex-Goldman, now runs his own health supplement startup out of SP. Some decent material here, and worth checking out, although more recently he’s been posting relatively infrequently.

The Next Web – Latin America. Great source for late-breaking news on the startup scene across Latin America. Posts are not terribly deep / insightful, but this is a great way to keep abreast of the latest happenings in the space. Who’s getting funded, what the bigger tech players are doing across LatAm, etc. Think of this is as a LatAm-focused Techcrunch of sorts.

PulsoSocial. Similar to Next Web. Techcrunch-style, LatAm-focused blog that does  a good job covering the latest developments in the space.

Startupi & Webholic – The top two Brazilian blogs covering the Brazilian startup / VC ecosystem. Written in portuguese.

Twitter. A list of folks who tweet about the Brazilian scene. Not comprehensive, but will get you started.

@21212com – probably the most highly-regarded incubator in Brazil

@bedy – networker-extraordinaire, one of the most connected women in the startup scene in Brazil. Venture Partner at 500 startups, responsible for identifying high-potential Brazilian startups

@DiegoRemus – Runs blog on Brazilian startups. Note: Tweets primarily in Portuguese

@EWbrazil – Entrepreneur Week Brazil

@nicholasreise – VC at Redpoint eVentures. Also a Wharton guy and good friend

@inhsieh – COO at Good friend and all-around awesome guy with a solid twitter feed

@vcbrazil – Ted Rogers’ twitter feed.

@TNWlatinamerica – self-explanatory

@pulsosocial – Pulso Social’s feed

@abracarioca – LATAM & Media Editor at The Next Web

Quora. Some folks / boards to follow on Quora.

StartupDealbook Brazil

Davis Smith

Edson Rigonatti

Mate Pencz

Other Resources. A few decks and other materials that I think you’ll find helpful in ramping up on the local space.

The Brazilian Startup Dealbook. Huge public google doc that tracks startup capital raising activity and exits in Brazil. Fantastic resource.

2012 State of the Internet – Brazil – Solid deck by ComScore showing latest trends in Brazilian Internet

Digital Marketing Survival Guide: Brazil – Text-light deck that does a good job of showing why it’s important to understand the nuances of Brazilian culture when building a tech-enabled business here

Webshopper – Midyear Update on eCommerce in Brazil – These guys put out great reports (in portuguese) on the state of eCommerce in Brazil. Brazil is forecast to do ~$20B in online retail this year. Not too shabby…

Redpoint eVentures Fund Launch Deck – Nice deck outlining why Redpoint is placing a big bet on Brazilian internet. In portuguese.

Local VC Portfolios. You might find it helpful to check out the types of companies Brazil-based VCs have been putting money into. Not comprehensive, but a decent start!


Mountain do Brasil

Warehouse Investimentos

Redpoint eVentures

That’s about it from me for today. Hope you found this helpful. Questions, thoughts, suggestions? Leave a comment below! I’ll be back soon. Ciao!


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