Day 4 Sao Paulo:
Bom Dia from Brazil!
Our first day in Brazil started with a rude awakening to what traffic looks like in a city like Sao Paulo with 20 Million inhabitants. Pro Tip: add an extra hour of commute to every journey. We were taken to an incredible lunch at one of the top restaurants in Sao Paulo to mix with investors and entrepreneurs in the area. Over 40 people involved in the local community shared with us a meal and their insights into the Brazilian startup ecosystem. These entrepreneurs enlightened us on the opportunities present to the budding entrepreneurs in the region.
The community of entrepreneurs in Brazil all share an incredible attitude of optimism and opportunity about their country. They see the fact that 200 Million people are quickly getting online and getting credit which make online transactions easier and easier. They are not alone in their optimism either, the european and american venture funds and entrepreneurs see this as a wide open market to replicate established ideas in and make them inherently Brazilian.
We met some young American entrepreneurs who had moved to Sao Paulo to tackle the local market. The idea is that it is easier to build a $100M company in Brazil than it is in the US or Europe these days. Brazil has a distinct logistical advantage that other countries in the region lack (good central post office system) which facilitates ecommerce. This alone could be a valuable metric if you were looking to get into ecommerce in other emerging markets.
Day 5: Sao Paulo
One of the most fascinating things we learned while meeting with local entrepreneurs was the obstacles they face in hiring and ramping up their teams down here. Employment laws are so anti-employer compared to the United States it makes you wonder who would want to risk setting up a company here. Employment and labor costs are so high that talent is comparable in price to San Francisco.
Despite the hurdles of setting up a business and staffing it, there is an incredible energy down here that will definitely create a slew of big multi-national, world class startups. I have no doubt that we will see the next Amazon pop up in Brazil soon. Which makes me wonder why isn’t Amazon trying to become the Amazon of the Amazon?