We are inviting speakers to our 2017 annual conference and, among them, we will host one of the pioneers of Fintech in Brazil.
Before joining Accenture in 2014, Guilherme Horn was an entrepreneur for more than 20 years. He founded 6 startups and among them two of the most successful cases in fintech space in Brazil: Agora and Orama. Agora was founded in 2000 and sold in 2008 to Bradesco, for U$500 million. Orama was founded in 2010 and sold in 2014, after being awarded by Amazon with the Innovation Recognition in Las Vegas in 2013. In our interview, he talks about the business landscape in Brazil and the value of partnerships between corporations & startups.
BayBrazil: Accenture is promoting a partnership between startups & corporations, the UP Innovation Lab. Why did Accenture choose Brazil to host the project?
Guilherme: Accenture has an initiative called Fintech Innovation Lab, that runs since 2010 in New York, London and Hong Kong. In Brazil, we wanted to replicate this Acceleration Program but with two main differences: first, it’s not restricted to Financial Services, it also involves startups on Retail and Consumer Goods. And second it’s more a post acceleration program, with a go-to-market approach, which means we work with more mature startups.
BayBrazil: Will startups partnerships be the new innovation department for corporations, replacing R&D labs?
Guilherme: I think this is already a reality. But it’s not about replacing the R&D Labs, it’s about adding new minds and knowledge. Why do the companies have to limit their capacity of developing new products and services? Nowadays the companies can collaborate with startups all over the world, amplifying the capabilities. This is an era without boundaries.
BayBrazil: If corporates don’t get close to the startups, can they be overtaken in the innovation race?
Guilherme: We see in the various industries two types of companies: those which disrupt and those which are being disrupted. So, innovation is not an option to companies anymore. It’s a matter of being alive. Never in the history companies growth was so fast.
BayBrazil: Does Silicon Valley continue being an inspiration for Brazilian entrepreneurs? What are the most relevant clusters?
Guilherme: Yes, for sure. We’ve been leading a lot of initiatives that include visits to SV. A few days at SV is always a source of inspiration. The ecosystem there works very well, there is money, talents and market, so the key elements are abundant. I also go frequently to Israel, which is also an important hub of innovation, but the approach there is very different. In SV innovation comes from abundance, while in Israel it comes from scarcity. Israel was a desert 50 years ago, and it’s a very small country with no internal market.
BayBrazil: Do you think Brazil is developing its own startup culture or just mirroring the international environment?
Guilherme: I think we are evolving to develop our own vocation, and I think it will be more related to efficiency than to innovation, although Brazilians are very creative. As the U.S. market is always some years ahead, it’s very comfortable to copy business models that are already tested and validated there.
BayBrazil: Brazil is going through yet another political crisis. How is it impacting business?
Guilherme: I think Brazil is proving that politics and real economy are in fact uncoupled here. The main indexes of economy are increasing, still in a slow pace, but the trend is positive. Besides that, for startups moments of crisis are good periods for learning and validation. I founded 6 companies and the two most successful I started in the middle of a crisis. At Agora, the first three years were critical, with the market going down month after month. But on the fourth year, when the market almost doubled, we were prepared for that and became the leader in the country.
BayBrazil: It’s a pleasure to welcome Accenture as BayBrazil corporate member. Thanks for helping us to strengthening the ecosystem.
Guilherme: It’s definitely our pleasure, and we’re looking forward to working together with BayBrazil and joining the conference on Sep 21st.