From September 26th to 29th, the Latin American tech community gathered in Sao Paulo as the city hosted Brazil Tech Week.
Brazil Tech Week was more than just a series of events. It symbolized a confluence of ideas, talent, and ambition, putting Sao Paulo and, by extension, all of Latin America on the global tech radar.
The region is brimming with innovation, fueled by a potent mix of youthful demographics, increasing internet penetration, and an entrepreneurial spirit that refuses to be quelled. Success stories from the region paint a picture of immense potential realized against the odds. For instance, Rappi, the Colombian-born delivery app, has revolutionized on-demand services across multiple countries, while Mexico’s Kavak has transformed the used car market, achieving unicorn status in the process. Brazil’s Nubank, a fintech titan, is rewriting the rules of banking, serving millions of previously unbanked or underbanked individuals.
However, it also spotlighted the challenges intrinsic to the Latin tech ecosystem – from navigating regulatory hurdles to addressing infrastructure inconsistencies. While the potential of Latin America’s tech scene is undeniable, these events served as a reminder that there are still hurdles to overcome in its journey to global prominence.
Kicking off with Itaú Future Day at Cubo
On the first day of #BrazilTechWeek, Itaú (the largest private bank in Brazil and financial conglomerate in the Southern Hemisphere), hosted Itaú Future Day at Cubo, setting the tone for Brazil Tech Week. Cubo, launched in 2015 by Itaú, is a platform that connects entrepreneurs, corporations, investors, and universities in one place to discuss technology and innovation. It’s a 12-story building home to hundreds of startups and PFG’s office in Sao Paulo.
Between the inaugural Itaú Future Day and the main event, VAMOS LATAM Summit, the week was peppered with many activities that brought together the tech community in more intimate settings. Leading venture capital firms like Alexia Ventures, Riverwood Capital, and Valor Capital hosted exclusive happy hours and dinners, providing attendees with prime networking opportunities. Organizations like Endeavor, a global community committed to driving high-impact entrepreneurship, further enriched the week’s agenda.
VAMOS LATAM Summit:
Culminating Brazil Tech Week was the VAMOS LATAM Summit, an initiative by Latitud, hosting an impressive 5,000 attendees. Events like these are not just gatherings; they are essential touchpoints to learn, share, and build upon the community’s collective wisdom. Platforms like this amplify the stories, lessons, and insights that are pivotal for the ecosystem’s continual growth and evolution.
Among the distinguished speakers was Ben Horowitz from a16z, synonymous with Silicon Valley’s venture capital scene. Horowitz’s presence and insights provided an invaluable global perspective, bridging the gap between the Silicon Valley powerhouse and the tech space in Latin America.
A Spotlight on Rapid Growth Leadership in LATAM
I had the opportunity to moderate a discussion that brought together three visionary leaders from the region: Eric Acher, the founder of Monashees, Lucas Vargas, CEO of Nomad, and Gerry Giacomán Colyer, CEO of Clara.
We delved deep into the challenges and opportunities of scaling in a region as diverse as Latin America. They shared insights on navigating market complexities, building resilient teams, balancing cash, and how to drive innovation that resonates with local audiences while maintaining a global appeal.
Until the next Brazil Tech Week
From the bustling streets of Sao Paulo to every corner of the continent, the message was clear: Latin America seems poised to be a formidable player in the global tech arena. The journey may be filled with challenges, but the region’s resilience, adaptability, and collaborative spirit shine brightly, promising a future filled with innovations, breakthroughs, and success stories. To everyone who attended, spoke, or merely tuned in from afar, this week was a testament to our collective dedication and ambition. Here’s to many more gatherings that celebrate the achievements, address the challenges, and set the stage for the future.