Sunday, October 2, 2011

Brazil's Young Companies Get a Boost

It was a recurring theme that I heard in my first meetings in Brazil - there's just not enough money available to young companies.  Over the past few weeks I've met with several movers and shakers who are working to change that.

21212 - Benjamin White

I met Ben in New York's temple to brunch, Bubby's.  He was head of MTV digital media before helping to  found Sling Media.  Together with Marcelo Sales, founder of Movile, Ben founded 21212.  The initiative aims to connect NYC with Rio de Janeiro, where 21212 is based, and to help entrepreneurs with networking, mentoring and financing.  They recently selected their first class of 10 startups (names so far unannounced).  The companies chosen receive an investment from 21212, re-locate to Rio, receive office space and have workshops/mentoring 2 days a week (workshops are posted on the website).

Anjos do Brasil - Cassio Spina

Brazil has a growing angel investor class - Anjos do Brasil aims to broaden and professionalize it.  A technology entrepreneur himself, Cassio founded Anjos to provide support to angels who have money and expertise but are new to investing.  The organization has pitch competitions (like the one I attended two weeks ago at FIESP on Av Paulista), angel investor workshops, standardized term sheets/documents and matching efforts between entrepreneurs and angels.

Endeavor

Endeavor is well-known to anyone active in Brazilian startups.  They are the largest incubator/mentoring organization in Brazil.  I stopped by their office a few weeks ago and spoke at length with Amisha Miller, LSE alum and leading researcher at Endeavor.  Endeavor aims to connect Brazil's top businesspeople with entrepreneurs of small to medium-sized companies.  The organization counts serial entrepreneur Daniel Heise (who I met with recently; by the end he was close to convincing me to skip LSE and stay in Brazil to do a startup), Edgar Bronfman (chairman of Warner music) and Reid Hoffman (founder of Linkedin) as some of its mentors (among a long list of other big names).   Endeavor generally looks for businesses with at least $1mm in revenue and huge market potential.  To be accepted as a "Empreendedor Endeavor" the company must agree to give 2% of its profits to the organization and in exchange gets access to its mentors, network and expertise.

The Next Web also had a great article a few months back on the key LatAm accelerators that you should check out.

P.S. I recently encountered some interesting Brazilian startups that you should keep your eye on - 1) Zoemob.com (cell phone tracking for children and families); 2) Magnetis.com.br (pre-launch but interesting team - focused on retail investors)

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