Web Summit Rio, day 2.
Investing in Latam
Eric Acher, Founder & Managing General Partner (Monashees ); Edith Yeung, General Partner (Race Capital); Renata Quintini, Co-founer (Renegade Partners), Ricardo Amorim, Co-founder (AAA Inovação)
- The article discusses a panel discussion on investments in Latin America and the current state of the startup ecosystem in the region.
- The speakers believe that the next 10 years will be better for the region, with opportunities for investment in various industries using technology to solve problems.
- Latin America has interesting characteristics that make it a viable place for investment, including a high level of internet penetration and social engagement.
- The article highlights the potential for Latin American startups to utilize AI to improve efficiency, generate global innovation and economy, and expand internationally.
- The article also emphasizes the importance of big ideas, patience, resilience, and support within the ecosystem for the success of Latin American startups.
How To Understand VC In Latin America
Rodrigo Baer,co-founder & Managind Partner (Upload Ventures); João Chebante, Owner & CEO (Sinergis)
- Latin America is a first-generation market for startups, and investors outside the region may not have the same references and expectations as in the US or Europe.
- Finding LPs to invest in Latin American startups is a challenge.
- Local investors may want their money back quickly, putting pressure on startups to show liquidity early on, while US foundations and endowments invest with a longer-term perspective.
- There is a shift towards less capital-intensive startups with recurring revenues, and due diligence is crucial before taking on investors or advisors.
- The key to success is developing the product and having strong economics and a clear vision, especially during tough times.
How To Choose a VC Fund That Fits Your Needs
Rodrigo Menezes, Partner (FM Derraik); Joaquim Lima, Partner (RIverwood); Frederico Greve, Managin Partner (DGF) Gustavo Cavenaghi, Head of investments (Kortex Ventures); Daniel Izzo (Co-founder, Partner, DIrector & Chief Executive (Vox Capital)
- The article discusses various discussions and conversations around investing, impact investing, and fundraising for startups.
- Different investment firms have different focuses, such as growth capital, early-stage tech companies, and impact investing.
- Investors prioritize scalability, strategic alignment with LPs, and measuring impact in addition to financial analysis.
- The decision to invest is based on the founding team’s potential and their product’s potential to scale and become a significant market player.
- Passion and dedication of the founder and the business model’s distribution potential are key points for investment models.
How To Build a Successful Fintech Company
Pete Casella, Founding Partner (Point 72 Ventures); Vitor Torres, Founder & CEO (Contabilizei)
- The article discusses building a successful FinTech company with guest speakers Vitor Torres, CEO of Contabilizei, and Pete Casella, founding partner of Point 72 Ventures.
- The importance of embedded financial services in business software to provide seamless and accessible financial products for businesses is discussed, particularly in emerging markets where businesses may be underbanked or have difficulty finding financial products.
- Vitor Torres shared his journey in founding Contabilizei and how they integrated accounting with banking solutions to provide a full-stack experience for their customers.
- The article also emphasizes the importance of finding the right partners and investors for a company at different stages of growth and how investors can help founders by pointing out the risks that need to be addressed and providing guidance on how to solve them.
- Lastly, the article highlights the importance of identifying risks and iterating towards building a business and the healthy shakeout of the investment industry in Brazil and Latin America that will lead to a better opportunity for founders to build successful companies.
From Silicon Valley to Rio – The Globalization of Venture Capital
Mathias Schilling, Co-founder & Managing Partner (Headline); Romero Rodrigues, Managing Partner (Headline); Artur Búrigo, Reporter (Folha de S. Paulo)
- Headline Ventures is a global venture capital firm with a portfolio of notable companies, focusing on building companies with the Silicon Valley idea around the world.
- Brazilian entrepreneurs can adapt better to the challenges of the market and understand customer pains earlier than others, but access to lasting capital and reliance on “tourist capital” are obstacles to growth.
- Brazil is still at an early stage of its ecosystem compared to markets like China and the US, but it has a huge market with many inefficiencies that provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to create businesses that solve problems and can eventually expand globally.
- The cost of capital has gone up, and digital markets have returned to normal market sizes, leading to a new environment of lower valuations and less money in the market.
- Startups should be cautious about their cash position, focus on capital-efficient business models, and adopt a global mindset to compete on a global scale.
Web Summit Rio, day 3.
Responsible tech in an era of hostile tech
Rebecca Parsons, CTO (Thoughtworks.)
- Rebecca emphasizes the importance of responsible technology and its impact on society and the environment.
- The responsible tech playbook is introduced as a tool to help companies incorporate responsible tech practices into their operations.
- Strategies for promoting responsible tech include changing methodologies, data protection, transparency, minimizing environmental impact, diversifying the workforce, and designing for accessibility and inclusivity.
- Lack of awareness, organizational resistance to change, and competing priorities are some of the reasons why companies struggle with responsible tech.
- The responsibility lies with the technology industry to make simple changes to maximize positive unintended consequences and mitigate negative ones.
How to build a product-market fit “engine”
Rahul Vohra, founder and CEO (Superhuman).
- Rahul Vohra, the founder, and CEO of Superhuman, presented his method for systematically identifying and increasing product-market fit (PMF), which he calls the PMF engine. This process helped transform Superhuman into an efficient email experience, reducing inbox management time and increasing productivity.
- The PMF engine operates in five steps: surveying users for their experience and disappointment level with the product, segmenting customers based on these responses to identify high-expectation customers, analyzing the survey results to understand the product’s benefits and its shortcomings, implementing changes based on the analysis, and continually tracking PMF scores to measure progress.
- The PMF engine stresses the importance of balancing the development focus between enhancing what users already love about the product and addressing their main objections. This balanced approach prevents stagnation and helps protect against competition.
- Since implementing this PMF engine, Superhuman’s PMF score rose from 22% to 58% over several quarters, demonstrating the effectiveness of this system. Rahul encourages other companies to implement this methodology to better understand their users and improve their products.
Creating a seamless customer experience in SaaS
Edith Harbaugh, CEO/Co-Founder (LaunchDarkly) and Caleb Silver, Editor-in-chief (Investopedia)
- The panel starts with Edith Harbaugh, CEO/Co-Founder of LaunchDarkly, discussing the growth of the SaaS market, which is estimated to reach $462 billion by 2028.
- Key capabilities of SaaS platforms include reliability, security, scalability, and the ability to solve customer needs.
- Enterprise SaaS platforms cater to larger organizations, while consumer-led platforms focus on individuals and small businesses.
- Edith shares her experience in scaling a company and emphasizes the importance of finding passionate talent.
- The session also mentions the importance of building trust with customers and using content marketing for SaaS solutions.
How can startups effectively manage the SaaS products they use
Don Muir, Co-Founder and CEO (Arc); Bianca Martinelli, partner (Alexia Ventures); Harry McCracken,Global Technology Editor (Fast Company)
- Bianca Martinelli, partner of Alexia Ventures, emphasizes that the adoption of SaaS products is increasing due to digital transformation, with trends including AI integration, verticalization, low-code communities, and product-led growth.
- The macroeconomic backdrop has led to decreased venture capital funding for Q1 2023, causing b2b SaaS companies to focus on becoming cashflow positive or having positive unit economics.
- Managing SaaS expenses is crucial, with companies advised to scrutinize every line in the P&L and measure the depth of ROI, and have a formal process for procurement and approval.
- Negotiating terms with vendors, communicating about tools being used, and providing training to team members on the software are important considerations for companies.
- Companies should avoid redundancy in their tech stack, consider AI adoption, and recognize the potential for Latin American founders to compete globally in the tech industry.
How will AI help building a shining SaaS future
Ross Saario, Chief Executive Officer (Intelipost); Mada Seghete, Co-Founder and Managing Director (Branch); David Ly, CEO (Iveda); Murilo Garavello, Content creator (UOL).
- The panel featured speakers from companies leveraging AI to improve business operations and customer experience.
- Companies such as iVeda and Mercado Livre are using AI to analyze data and improve performance across various industries.
- The speakers emphasized the importance of staying focused on customers and their needs while leveraging AI to improve efficiency and solve complex problems.
- AI can be used to free up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks and decision-making.
- The speakers advise caution in separating hype from reality when it comes to AI and to be methodical and thoughtful in its application.
Mastering online presence: Essentials skills for SaaS brand growth
Andrew Warden, CMO (Semrush),and Julia De Luca, Tech Investment Banking (Itau BBA).
- Andrew Warden from SEMrush emphasized the importance of understanding one’s audience, investing in organic marketing channels, and adapting to macroeconomic challenges. Monitoring competitors and using tools to understand audience behavior were also highlighted as effective strategies.
- AI’s role in market research was discussed, noting that while tools refreshing market research daily don’t currently exist, SEMrush is exploring AI applications for understanding audiences in real-time.
- Julia De Luca and Andrew Warden stressed the importance of humanizing B2B brands, citing the effectiveness of SEMrush’s lifestyle campaign. They also emphasized the role of customer stories in brand storytelling.
- The role of trust, credibility, and social media in brand growth was highlighted, along with the need to balance organic and paid marketing channels. In times of economic downturn, focusing on organic strategies was recommended to strengthen brand growth.
Marketers need to have their heads in the cloud
Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO (Sagwell)
- The panel discusses with Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO at Stagwell, about the fusion of marketing and technology and the need for marketers to adapt to stay relevant.
- Marketers must be customer champions, brand storytellers, revenue growth drivers, capability builders, technologists, innovators, and data-driven.
- A shark tank mentality is important, involving experimentation with technology to understand its usefulness.
- Automation with technology can be effective in areas such as media buying.
- Mark provides examples of successful technology innovation and suggests using a product called “Profit” to analyze news releases and determine which reporters are likely to cover them positively.
Why AI is improving customer experience in Latin America
Daniela Braga, Founder and CEO (Defined.ai); Murilo Garavello, Content Director (UOL).
- The panel starts with a discussion of the importance of leveraging AI for businesses to stay competitive.
- Conversational AI is replacing the old IVR system and improving customer experience.
- Ethically sourced data is essential for conversational AI, and specialized talent is required to build it.
- Regulations are lagging behind in AI development, and there is a debate on what applications should be considered right or wrong.
- Educating people about their data and understanding the technology they use is important, and explainability should be part of regulations.
How to use SaaS tools to engage and retain employees
Tony Jamous, Co-founder and CEO (Oyster HR); Silvina Moschini, Founder, Chairwoman and President (Unicoin); Fabricio Vitorino, Freelancer Journalist (Metropoles)
- Building an intentional culture that puts trust at the center is crucial for engaging and retaining remote employees.
- Redesigning the way companies measure results and create intentional ways of working can increase productivity, flexibility, and the ability to attract top talent.
- Effective leadership communication is essential to ensure fairness and equality across global workforces.
- Mission-driven businesses can attract and retain talented employees by providing a sense of purpose, community, and additional benefits.
- – The challenge of remote management can be addressed by having the right intentions when designing tools and systems that prioritize productivity, success, and well-being.
AI: future or fear?
Sarah Al-Hussaini, Co-founder and COO (Ultimate); Aline Oliveira, Co-founder (Traive); Gustavo Ribeiro, editor-in-chief (The Brazilian Report)
- A conversation about the potential of AI in different industries and its impact on jobs.
- AI has the potential to disrupt certain industries, such as customer service, but changes are happening slowly over time.
- Sharing real use cases and teaching teams to use AI technologies can help people better understand their potential.
- Clear regulations are needed to prevent AI from reinforcing human biases.
- – The launch of a generative product for customer support automation by Ultimate Govt highlights the importance of customization of tone of voice for businesses and consumers, and the use of large language models simplifies architecture and speeds up innovation for NLP-based products.
WebSummit Rio, day 4.
How to make products that people love
Mikael Vardanyan, Founding Partner and Chief Product Officer (Picsart); Sarah Al-Hussaini, co-founder and COO (Ultimate); Claudia Penteado, Contributor (Valor Econômico).
- The panel starts discussing that AI is expected to change jobs in customer service, with automation rates predicted to increase from 45% to 60%.
- However, this may not necessarily lead to job loss, as new roles like Automation Manager and Bots Manager are being created, paying 30-50% more than the average customer service agent job.
- The implementation of AI for customer support requires understanding the industry’s current processes and speaking with customers to provide a better user experience.
- Deep tech companies must be 100% adapted and configured to the use case they are in.
- To foster a culture of creativity, innovation, and user-centric thinking, companies should run experiments and take a more holistic approach to balance the present and future.
Do founders make good CEO’s?
Thibaud Lecuyer, CEO (Logg)i, Edith Haebaugh, Co- founder and Executive Chair (LaunchDarkly); Robson Privado, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer ( Madeira Madeira)
- The panel discusses when it’s appropriate for a founder to relinquish power and when it’s time to take control.
- Thibaud Lecuyer, CEO of Loggi, Edith Haebaugh, Co- founder and Executive Chair of LaunchDarkly and Robson Privado, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Madeira Madeira, agree that in the early stages of a startup, it’s challenging for the founder not to be the CEO, but as the company grows and matures, it becomes necessary to evaluate the founder’s ability to continue leading the company.
- The importance of self-awareness and humility for founders and CEOs to manage the complexity of scaling a company is highlighted, as well as the need for identifying gaps in skills and seeking external help.
- The speakers emphasize the importance of transparent and honest communication with the team to overcome adversity faced in starting a new business and creating a culture of honesty and transparency.
- Balancing motivation and discipline as a leader, breaking down goals into stages, and surrounding oneself with founders at similar and different stages of growth are also advised.
Tech in 2024: where is the money going next?
Fabio Carrara, founder and CEO (Solfácil); Trisha Kothari co-founder and CEO (Unit 21); Santiago Fossatti, partner (Kaszek).
- The discussion is about emerging trends and sectors for investment, including generative AI, climate tech, financial infrastructure, crypto, quantum computing, and biotech.
- Fabio Carrara,founder and CEO Solfácil, Trisha Kothari co founder and CEO of Unit 21 and Santiago Fossatt, partner at Kaszek. remain optimistic about the potential for technology despite market fluctuations and are focusing on more robust and profitable businesses with better value propositions.
- Investors in the tech industry see high expected returns in emerging markets like Latin America and Asia.
- Climate tech is seen as the biggest investment opportunity of the century and can be broken down into sub-sectors like power generation.
- The lack of diversity in investments is a concern, and companies are working to increase diversity in their portfolios and support underrepresented communities.
How to build a Brazilian unicorn
Gustavo Brigatto, founder and Editorin-Chief (Startups); Florian Hagenbuch, co-founder and president (Loft); Wagner Ruiz, co-founder and CFO (EBanx)
- Brazilian startups have been successful in producing more than 20 unicorns, with factors such as human and investment capital contributing to this success.
- Being a unicorn is not the ultimate goal, but rather a step towards building a successful and sustainable company.
- Softbank Latin American Fund’s entry in 2019 has been a game-changer for the Brazilian startup ecosystem.
- There are trade-offs and challenges that come with being a unicorn and going public, including the pressure to perform for investors and the need to adapt to new business models.
- Tough decisions, such as restructuring and layoffs, are sometimes necessary for the success of a company, but success is ultimately preferred over failure.