This week BayBrazil is saying good-bye to two startups that we hosted in the valley, in partnership with Plug and Play Tech Center. The founders and teams of Eventick and SocialBase stayed in the region for three months participating in various meetings and events organized by P&P and BayBrazil.
BayBrazil: What makes your company different from other?
Radames Martini (Founder & CEO of Social Base): I will resume it in two words: reference and commitment. We are the most relevant Enterprise Social Network content provider in Brazil. Companies that are looking for a first experience with a social enterprise tool see us as the leader in the Brazilian market and use our high quality and specialized content to deploy the solution inside their businesses. And also we have a high commitment in delivering real business value to our clients throughout our onboard and ongoing process with an automatized and personal approach. That helps our clients perceive the first value much faster. Since launch in May 2012, through a strong inbound marketing strategy we are acquiring more than 500 new leads per month. Nowadays we have more than 2.500 networks created and an average of 300 new networks are created per month.
Thiago Diniz (Founder & CEO of Eventick): We started Eventick to solve a problem in the events that we used to organize in Brazil, this is the first thing the make us different. Additionally, we also have a great relationship with our event organizers and support a lot of entrepreneurs and developers communities.
BayBrazil: What are the most valuable lessons you learned during your time in Silicon Valley?
Radames: We learned a lot during the 3 months program in the Silicon Valley. The most important lesson was that you don’t need to be afraid to share your ideas with other people because in the end, the execution of the idea is what really matters. Sharing your ideas with other people helps you to validate what you are planning to do in the very beginning and the feedback will drive you to take the right path.
Thiago: We learned that to build a startup you have to push hard not only in the product side but also in the sales process and create a growth strategy.
BayBrazil: How will your company evolve from here?
Radames: We have been working very hard on improving our marketing and sales strategy for the last 3 months. Some of the methods/tactics we’ve learned in the Valley are already implemented and ready to go live. Now we have to measure how it is going to work and improve the process based on the metrics we established so far.
Thiago: First we are moving to Rio de Janeiro, so this is a big change. Then, we will realign some of our strategies.
BayBrazil: You come from different entrepreneurship clusters, in Florianopolis (Southern State of Santa Catarina) and Recife (Northeastern State of Pernambuco). Tell us about the startup scene in your region.
Radames: Florianópolis is one of the most important tech hubs in Brazil and the city is frequently called the Brazilian Silicon Valley. But in my point of view there is a huge difference between Florianópolis and Silicon Valley. I think Florianópolis stands out in the technology scene nationwide so it’s worth to compare, but if we consider infrastructure, support and even marketing for tech firms, the city is far behind from the Valley, despite several initiatives in recent years.
The startup scene is growing in Florianópolis. The event Startup Weekend happened in Florianópolis for the first time last month and more than 110 people joined it. There are a lot of startups in the region but I still see a lack of information and knowledge by the entrepreneurs and that’s why many of them are failing. But this is part of the process and I’m pretty sure that scenario is going to change in the near future. Some entrepreneurs (like me) are having the opportunity to came to Valley to learn what are the best practices for their businesses and sharing the information with those who don’t have the same opportunity. And, of course this information exchange will going to benefit the tech environment in the region.
Thiago: The main difference in our State is the capital Recife’s developers workforce. We have a lot of skilled engineers and developers. For entrepreneurs from Recife it is relatively easy to find great developers. For that reason we have been fostering the entrepreneurial scene in our city with a startup community called Manguezal (http://manguez.al).
BayBrazil: Are universities in your region fostering entrepreneurship? How Brazil can increase tech innovation?
Radames: Yes, there are universities fostering entrepreneurship in Florianópolis, especially UFSC and UDESC. Florianópolis has a remarkable potential to became an international hub for innovation. In addition to its many excellent universities, innovation centers, technology incubators and accelerators, the city is building a $1B technology and innovation business park (called Sapiens Park) for thirty thousand workers in five years. In my view Brazil has to tackle several points to increase innovation: lack of external funding (venture capital and public sources of funding), lack of qualified people in the labor market, lack of information about technology, difficulty in finding partners for product cooperation, lack of infrastructure, fragility of propriety rights, legislation, labor costs and taxation. But I see that Brazil has been improving in the last years and I’m very optimist that this changes are going to happen faster than most people think.
Thiago: The Computer Science department of UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco) is a pioneer on encouraging entrepreneurship among its students. Before the startup hype in Brazil, there were already some courses focused on building products for targeted markets. Also, there are a few incubators fostered by the department of CS. Nevertheless, most companies didn’t succeed as a new innovative business, but it sparkled the entrepreneur spirit in the community.