The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in South America

Vinod Sreeharsha – Fast Company, 02/11/2013

1_Enalta

For catching Brazil’s ethanol industry as it stumbles. The São Carlos, Brazil-based company makes sensory and GPS software to monitor seeding and irrigation, which yields farmers a richer crop. That’s a big deal in this nation, where sugarcane–used to create ethanol–is an important part of the local economy. Last year, Enalta released a voice command product that overseves plants in real time. Net sales are expected to jump to $8 million this year, up from $1 million in 2011, after increased orders from three of Brazil’s top ethanol producers.

2_Mercado Libre

For creating the Latin American eBay, and providing locals with inspiration and sustenance. A Nielsen report last year said that at least 134,000 people in Latin America derive a main part of their income from selling on this Buenos Aires, Argentina-based e-commerce pioneer. The company continues to be the only NASDAQ-listed internet company from Argentina or Brazil, and its CEO and co-founder Marcos Galperin frequently serves as a mentor for entrepreneurs in the region. In fact, some of the region’s most notable players have grown out of MercadoLibre–including two on this list. Netshoes began by selling on the site, and MercadoLibre co-founder Hernan Kazah started Kaszek Ventures with former MercadoLibre CFO Nicolas Szekasy.

3_Prospéritas Capital Partners

For catalyzing the start-up scene in South America’s second smallest country. The Montevideo, Uruguay-based venture capital firm has already invested $11 million in early-stage Uruguayan companies in the IT, consumer web, and mobile sectors, and has had a wide range of successes: Its companies have become hot locally (like Hiddenbed, a furniture company) and have been sold abroad (like Interactive Networks, which was acquired by Mumbai-based Geodesic).

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