São Paulo: the biggest, strongest start-up ecosystem in Brazil

August 27, 2014

Jonathan Moules – Financial Times, 8/26/2014

The TechnoLatinas, as South America’s digital founders are collectively known, have a strong presence in the financial capital of Brazil.

São Paulo has the largest and most powerful start-up ecosystem in this most populous of South American countries, with a spread of companies from early stage to more established.

As the main financial centre of Latin America, it hosts almost all the offices of multinational corporations present in the region. There is also a big opportunity locally in terms of market size, thanks to São Paulo’s population of 11.8m.

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Students In Brazil Use Pattern Recognition Algorithm For Safe Driving

August 25, 2014

Empire State Tribune, 8/25/2014

Five students at the Santa Catarina State University in Brazil submitted a project to Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition subjects that functions as a pattern recognition system in a dashboard camera to detect the use of mobile phones of drivers while on the road.

The head proponent Rafael Berri, together with his friends, Alexandre Silva, Rafael Parpinelli, Elaine Girardi and Rangel Arthur introduced a solution to prevent drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. The camera monitors the pattern of the face, ears, and hands and other signs of ‘on the phone’ to lessen the chances of accidents.

Berri and his team said that drivers tend to fix their gaze straight ahead while on the phone. Thus, placing the dashboard camera in front of the driver is an ideal spot to effectively scan the patterns, according to MIT Technology Review. If the driver is caught while on the phone, the system sends a warning.

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‘Made In Brazil’ Under Pressure, Study Shows

August 20, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 8/19/2014

Brazil is more than samba and soccer. But the airplanes it makes and the soybeans it grows are coming under increasing cost pressures, making a number of manufacturers there lose ground to competitors in the U.S.

A new study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), made public on Tuesday, said that Brazil was one of a handful of 25 major exporters that was losing its competitive edge to other countries in the Americas.  In this case, the U.S. and Mexico are often beating Brazil to the punch.

“Improving the productivity of each worker is becoming an increasingly important factor in manufacturing competitiveness across the globe,” said Michael Zinser, a BCG partner. “This is especially true as the once-considerable wage gaps between developed and developing economies continue to shrink.”

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Brazil to Help Out Pressured Electric Companies

August 12, 2014

Paulo Trevisani and Priscilla Oliveira – The Wall Street Journal, 8/7/2014

Brazil’s government is again offering help to struggling power distributors caught between rising wholesale costs and controlled retail prices.

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday that it is making available 6.6 billion Brazilian reais ($2.9 billion) in credit lines to the sector. The funds will come from private and government-controlled banks.

The fresh money is meant to cover a gap in the power companies’ accounts, as a prolonged drought significantly reduced generation capacity in Brazil’s mainly hydroelectric generated power grid.

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Google ranked best tech workplace in Brazil

August 12, 2014

Angelica Mari – ZDNet, 8/11/2014

Google is the best technology employer in Brazil — and the majority of the other top 10 employers are also foreign, according to a list by The Great Place to Work Institute of the best companies to work for in the country.

The ranking considered 220 organizations which employ around 287,000 people in Brazil. Google and the runner-up, Brazilian document management firm Acesso Digital, have maintained their positions in relation to last year’s list.

The change in the top three is the appearance of Microsoft, now ranked as the third best tech employer in Brazil, replacing local engineering and software company Radix.

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Brazil readies big push on solar energy but companies are wary

August 12, 2014

Bernard Orr – Reuters, 8/11/2014

Grappling with its worst energy crisis in more than a decade, Brazil is making its first big move to develop a local solar power industry that could help reduce its dependence on a battered hydro power system.

In October, Brazil will hold an auction to negotiate energy to be produced exclusively by solar farms, the first ever of the kind in the South American country.

Power companies have registered some 400 projects for the auction, but many remain wary of the outlook for solar power in Brazil and say they need more clarity on investment conditions and financing before signing any deals.

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Brazilian Airline Azul Avoids Brazil’s Busiest Route

August 11, 2014

Christiana Sciaudone and Jessica Brice – Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/7/2014

Ask David Neeleman, majority owner of Brazilian airline Azul and founder of JetBlue Airways (JBLU), and he’ll say Brazil’s busiest route is just that: too busy. With more than 280 daily flights, the 45-minute trip between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is already the world’s most-served route. But while aviation disrupters such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways grew by going wing-to-wing against incumbents between major cities, Neeleman says his Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras will likely use slots it wins at São Paulo’s domestic airport to strengthen its hold on small cities other airlines don’t fly to.

The popular São Paulo-to-Rio de Janeiro run is dominated by rivals Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes and Tam, which is controlled by Santiago-based Latam Airlines Group (LAN:CI). Azul has been locked out of offering weekday flights to and from São Paulo’s Congonhas airport until now. The government will soon award new takeoff and landing times, and Neeleman estimates Azul will get 14 to 16 slots a day, making it the biggest winner. Still, he says that’s too few to make a big difference flying to Rio. “Do you want to go into a gunfight with a peashooter?” he asks. “If you only have 12 or 14 departures, 16 departures, whatever, it just doesn’t give you enough.”

Currently, Azul has only one slot per week at Congonhas, on Saturday afternoon, which it uses to fly to Rio. It would need many more on the route to threaten Tam’s and Gol’s dominance, says Raymond James Financial analyst Savanthi Syth. “There’s going to be a little more overlap here in the domestic market,” she says. The two leading carriers now have more than 200 Congonhas slots a day each. Avianca Brazil has 12 on weekdays.

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