Rio is Alive and Kickin`

As I have family in Rio I come here often. As everyone that arrives in the city, I’ve always been amazed by it.  Normally, what struck me was the beauty of the city. Sometimes it was the violence but there was always a non-striking undertone of Decadence.

Since Rio stopped being the nation’s capital (1960), it is said that its importance in the National GDP has shrunk by 60%. It declined from  18,5% of the national GDP, 1950 to 12,3% in 1985. Today, it is at 11,3%.  As a there was a big migration from the city of Rio, to instate, you can imagine the feel of the city.

When I flew in yesterday, it was this very same undertone that I was expecting when I flew in yesterday. Yet, I was very pleasantly surprise to find a very different ambiance.  The hotel was packed, restaurants were full and the city was lively.

Today, I understood some of the reasons. I found a very exciting entrepreneurial community being developed around Pretrobras massive presence.  At UFRJ I visited and intreresting incubator that is focusing on the oil industry. Morevover, I got a glimps of Petrobras new research facilities

and the new technological park. Both being developed within university facilities…. a giant step for the almost communist Brazilian Academia. This blend of public educational investment and private focus on outcomes might prove to be a winning combination.

I also met with a very impressive incubator at PUC-Rio where it seems like a lot is happening as they are creating a support community for the entrepreneurs.

But, probably, my most impressive visit was to the Rio Investiment Promotion Agency where I learned a bit more about their ambitious plan to transform the Rio Harbour in to a center for the tech community, with VCs, Big Co’s, entrepreneurs and the rest of the community.

The idea is to use the warehouses in a similar manner to what we do at the Warehouse, hence the discussion.

Besides the project as a whole, which is something that would really help to foster entrepreneurship, I was amazed by the quality of the people that the Mayor brought on board. There were a McKinsey Partner, the Founder of IdeiasNet, a Principal from Naspers. All of them, committed to help build the community in Rio.

 I truly hope these guys are able to overcome the bureaucracy and the private sector embraces their effort to start really  firing Rio’s economy back up.

Guys, please count on us for whatever we are able to help.


Author: Rodrigo

A VC trying to help build up the industry Principal @ Redpoint eventures doing Seed and Series A investments in Brazil

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