In 2011 Redpoint and eventures created a Sao Paulo-based joint venture known as Redpoint eventures focused on early stage consumer Internet startups in Brazil. It’s a $130 million fund that is operated independently from Redpoint but draws on the network and expertise from the Redpoint partnership and portfolio. We recently launched an innovation hub designed to support and house startups in the Brazilian ecosystem.
– Jeff Brody
The following post was written by Ann Williams, a venture partner at Redpoint eventures
São Paulo, Brazil has risen to one of the best cities in the world for startups. It’s the number one emerging market city globally in Compass’ most recent report, which ranks it as the 12th best city for tech startups alongside other leading hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Tel Aviv. The city accounts for 30 percent of Brazil’s high-growth businesses, compared to Rio de Janeiro’s eight percent contribution.
To further accelerate São Paulo as a top hub for startups, we launched Cubo, an innovative project that includes networking events, lectures, workshops, meeting points and a co-working space last month. With 50,000 square feet, four floors of space, and a 130-person amphitheater, Cubo is designed to support up to 50 startups. It was ideated and designed to bring people together – founders, investors, successful entrepreneurs and academics – to foster and strengthen the Brazilian ecosystem.
Because São Paulo is a large, sprawling city that’s spread out, Cubo helps condense innovators into a dynamic, close-knit community with access to investors, top-notch advisors, and serendipity that is so vital for the creative sparks and business connections typical of Silicon Valley and other thriving hubs of innovation.
Our firm, Redpoint eventures based in São Paulo, runs a sister fund to Redpoint Ventures and e.ventures. We co-founded Cubo together with Brazil’s largest private bank, Itaú Unibanco. We are passionate and ambitious about fostering Brazil’s startup ecosystem and supporting its avid, creative and entrepreneurial founders.
Other corporate supporters include Accenture, Cisco, and the global beverage company Ambev. Accenture has opened a “Digital Garage” within Cubo to showcase new tech innovations and provide mentoring for startups. Cisco will provide access to collaboration with its Innovation Center for the Internet of Things in Rio de Janeiro and support Cubo’s incubated companies through its Cisco DevNet program. Ambev’s sponsorship provides financial support as well as an endless supply of beverages for networking events on Cubo’s rooftop.
TechCrunch writer Julie Ruvulo recently wrote: “The not-for-profit venture between Redpoint eventures and banking giant Itau is the most ambitious co-working space I have seen aside from New York City’s Civic Hall.”
A recent survey of Brazilian entrepreneurs in May reveals that Brazilian startups need a strong, collaborative community and support to thrive. The two top services that the 500 founders polled value the most from VC partners are networking (86 percent) and strategic advice (74 percent).
Cubo will address many of the market gaps identified in the survey; most importantly a pressing need for networking, more possibility for synchronicity, and the sharing of experiences and strategic advice. We know that an ecosystem for entrepreneurship is essential for portfolio company success, and the launch of Cubo will make a significant contribution to efforts that make the Brazilian ecosystem stronger.
In a recent Fast Company article about the launch of Cubo, Redpoint eventures partner Anderson Thees was quoted saying: “We believe our involvement and our link to Silicon Valley will help foster the participation of the ecosystem – not only of the residents but especially of the community at large. Talking to players in the Valley, a lot of them say that we are similar in many ways to their ecosystem 15, 20 years ago. What we really have to do is make sure we close the gap faster. The ingredients are here.”
Moving forward, Cubo will offer at least one event every day like rooftop socials and skill-share sessions, often with special guests from the tech entrepreneurship world. Startups inside Cubo will pay a market rate to use the space and won’t have a time limit imposed on their stay.