Monday, September 5, 2011

Predicta - Seeing the Writing on the Wall

If you've ever googled "Brazil venture capital" you've heard of Predicta. The company is a darling of the foreign press - The Next Web and Time, among others, have written glowing profiles.  Noted for its innovation, the company has presented at the Google I/O conference and produced several globally recognized web tools.

As if that wasn't enough, when the elevator in one of Sao Paulo's glitzy office towers opens to Predicta's logo on the wall, you are quickly assured this isn't Little League.

I was there to meet Phillip Klien, co-founder of Predicta.  The blogger who originally introduced us described him to me as "one of the greatest tech minds and entrepreneurs in Brazil."  He also studied at Tulane, so colorful Louisiana was our first topic of conversation.  However, we quickly turned to the exciting company he is building.  The recent The Next Web article covered the company's business segments well - so I'll just give a quick summary here.  

The company is divided into two segments: Technology and Service.  Within the Technology segment the company has BTBuckets, Site Apps, Maestro and its newest offering, PClicks.   

BTBuckets is designed to help sites serve up more relevant content to users by putting them in a profile "bucket".  So, for example, if in your previous visits to a site you always looked at the least expensive items, the company will begin to show you cheaper items immediately when you enter their home page (instead of a generic mix).  You are now in the miser bucket.  There are currently 10,000 sites running BTBuckets and the company just passed the 1 billionth customer interaction.

Site Apps is designed for website designers that want to incorporate features into a website but don't have the programming team or time to do it in-house.  For example, if you want to incorporate keyboard shortcuts in your site, there's an app for that.

The company also has Maestro AD, a display ad control software and PClicks, which does real time heat mapping of where your users are clicking, complementary to Google Analytics.

Lastly, the Services Segment does consulting to help websites maximize their page views and advertising revenue.

Phillip said they hire people from all over Brazil and have even started receiving resumes from Americans who want to move to Sao Paulo to work with them.  The company currently has around 150 employees, of which 45 are dedicated programmers.  

Although the door is closed, we are always available to see you.
If you need to, please come talk with us.

As I thought the tour was wrapping up, Phillip said "Wanna go see the 2nd floor?"  The company has another floor of the same building, equally full of people.  

One of the best parts of the office was the break rooms.  These weren't like the napping rooms of Goldman Sachs (real) - people were actually using them.  They had a library, video game room (below) and a few chic lounges where people congregated to drink coffee on couches.

It's no surprise that the company views its market as global. BTBuckets, SiteApps and PClicks have more users from abroad than from Brazil.  Phillip also expects that their next financing round will help the company continue its international growth.

One other fun fact - the walls of Predicta's office are made of a special type of transparent glass that allows teams to brainstorm with dry erase marker anywhere they are standing.  It seems that Malcom Gladwell (author of the recent bestselling book, Outliers) was right when he wrote in The New Yorker a few years ago that big ideas float in the air.  

P.S. The day before seeing Phillip I attended the business plan competition of FGV, one of Brazil's top business schools.   Check out these two winning companies - and

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