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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

U.S. accelerator Plug and Play opens São Paulo headquarters

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Once again, the Silicon Valley-based accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center has crossed international borders and established new US$2 million headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil. 

This past April, the accelerator held a promotion event in the megacity to gauge interest in its services. Considering that over 300 people attended, Plug and Play concluded that a regional expansion would be worthwhile. 

With new office space also comes new goals, such as accelerating 30 companies with mentorship and investor networking over the next three months. It will also make contributions to 20 early-stage startups by the end of 2020, all while formalizing lenient financial obligations. 

“We aim to have a maximum 1 percent stake in the companies in which we invest,” said Andrea Sanchez, fintech director at Plug and Play. “We don’t want to intervene in what startups are doing, even to avoid conflicts with partners.”

So far, we know that one of these events will focus on fintech while the other will pertain to foodtech and agrotech, respectively. Being two prominent Brazilian industries, the group intends to further examine the supply and packaging chain for these sectors. 

“We focus on these sectors because we know that Brazil concentrates a lot of technology in the financial area and because food and agriculture represent a large part of the local economy,” said Sanchez. 

On September 18 there will be a launching event, tickets available here.

What is Plug and Play? 

Since 2006, Plug and Play has accelerated over 2,000 startups worldwide. Under this group’s belt are massive companies such as Google, Dropbox and Rappi. In addition to startups, it has also worked with corporations like Amazon and Coca-Cola. 

The office intends to provide programming to regional startups and large corporations, showcasing its methodology along every step of the way. Located in Vila Olímpia, the 600 square meter office will be an “open space” for entrepreneurs. 

“We want a light environment,” said Sanchez. “Our goal is to build a community and make people feel in Silicon Valley.” 

Partnerships

It even has five partners already lined up, including Elo, Claro, Sicoob Unicoob, Klabin Industries, as well as Suzano. Collectively, these partners will assist Plug and Play in developing its first two acceleration programs, the first of which will happen in March 2020. 

While these Brazilian industries yield much potential, Plug and Play hopes to work with enterprises from across Latin America. The group also has over 25 headquarters scattered across the world. 

Previously, Brazilian institutes such as the Albert Einstein Hospital and Banco do Brasil have received consulting services from the Silicon Valley accelerator. Regarding startups, Plug and Play have already invested in about 40 Brazilian ventures, such as logistics technology startup Logbee

Fellow accelerators  

There’s no denying that Plug and Play will encounter a distinct business culture in Brazil. Whether in terms of the Portuguese language or bureaucracy, there are bound to be a few differences.

For potential collaboration, Plug and Play will be joining the São Paulo ecosystem where there are various other local accelerators. These include ACE, Liga Ventures and Startup Farm. Since these Brazilian firms have roots within the ecosystem, the U.S. company may have some catching up to do upon arriving.

At the end of the day, some hope that Plug and Play doesn’t impose its methods.  

“Our domestic market is large and many companies are born with local characteristics,” said Felipe Matos, author of 10,000 Startups. “Plug and Play needs to be open to that.”

Despite this reality, some Brazilian ecosystem players consider this to be yet another sign that the economy is maturing.

“It’s a virtuous circle,” said Rafael Ribeiro, executive director of the Brazilian Startup Association (ABStartups). “Investments from big companies like give visibility and encourage other market names to enter the country.”

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

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