It’s a big year for Brazil. The World Cup is a few months away, the country is gearing up for the 2016 Olympics and the Presidential elections are later this year. Tremendous changes are in store for Brazil and this means tremendous potential. It’s no surprise then that the country’s entrepreneurship scene is quickly growing, accounting for over 50% of formal jobs.
There is no argument that Brazil is quickly becoming a leader in entrepreneurship but what about the socent scene? To learn more about the Brazilian socent scene IC sat down with Frederico Rizzo, co-founder of Broota, a virtual platform that connects entrepreneurs seeking capital with people seeking to invest in innovative projects in Latin America.
1. Tell me about your company, Broota Brasil.
Broota is an online marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with investors looking to participate in great ideas. It's also known as equity crowdfunding where people fund projects in return for an equity stake in that company. Broota started in Chile in the beginning of 2013 as the first company in Latin America to enable startups to raise capital online in the region. This first company to raise funds was a local brewery firm that pooled U$150k from 54 investors. Broota launched in Brazil last December and it is currently raising capital for its first project in the country: Broota Brazil itself!
2. What inspired you to start the company?
I spent one year studying to apply for an MBA. In January 2012, I knew I would quit my job in 5 months. One day, a friend of mine pitched me an idea he had that basically was a site to help entrepreneurs get support online. Bingo! I had always been an entrepreneur and I didn’t know of a place on the Internet where I could create a profile for my startup and engage stakeholders as the company grew. I knew about crowdfunding, but I thought the equity model was not allowed in Brazil, and moreover, I believed entrepreneurs could get more than money online: they could find talent, mentors, etc. So I started to work on a MVP that would basically combine crowdsourcing with crowdfunding.
In order to create this MVP, I shared the idea with a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for 15 years. This guy was starting a company as well, but he was so fascinated with my project that he decided to quit his company and pursue my idea instead (in Chile). And that’s how I ended up having a second chance to develop this idea in Brazil.
3. Where do you see Broota in 5 years?
I see Broota as the biggest network for entrepreneurs in Latin America, helping small companies to grow and innovative ideas to thrive. I see Broota enabling people to explore their full potential through entrepreneurship, no matter where they are located, who they know, or how they participate – executing, investing, mentoring, etc. In 5 years I hope we can channel over U$60million to approximately 150 small companies, just in Brazil.
4. What is the startup/impact investing scene like in Brazil?
Impact investing is a young industry everywhere so in Brazil it’s no different. The ecosystem has many structural holes in early stage financing, quality of entrepreneurs and effectiveness of current business models. And while there are many organizations, for-profit and non-profit, working to foster the entrepreneurial mindset and skills, just of few of them have a social focus.
5. What do you envision for this scene in Brazil?
For its size, abundance of natural resources and lack of social conditions, Brazil should have a significant role in the impact investing space. I hope our top universities have a stronger focus on this topic, fostering innovative business models early on in the career ladder.
6. How do you define impact investing?
I like the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) definition: investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
Want to learn more about Broota? Check them out here! And stay tuned for more features on Brazilian social enterprises!