Empresa transforma galpão em incubadora de negócios em SP

 Hoje na FolhaInspirada num formato tipicamente americano, que serviu de base para dezenas de gigantes atuais do setor de tecnologia, a Warehouse Investimentos inaugura no Brasil um modelo que aproxima a incubação de empresas nascentes e os fundos de investimento, informa reportagem de Camila Fusco para a Folha.

íntegra está disponível para assinantes do jornal e do UOL (empresa controlada pelo Grupo Folha, que edita a Folha).

Empresas de economia criativa de SP mudam para Vila Leopoldina

Encravado em uma rua industrial da Vila Leopoldina, zona oeste de São Paulo, onde até a década de 1980 estavam grandes metalúrgicas, o galpão da Warehouse pouco lembra a modernidade do Vale do Silício. O exterior rústico, porém, contrasta com a infraestrutura tecnológica e o cenário futurista das salas de vidro com as telas de cristal líquido que monitoram, em tempo real, mercados, finanças e transações das empresas iniciantes que funcionam no local.

“Trata-se de um campus do conhecimento. O galpão permite agrupar diversas empresas, e as paredes de vidro permitem o intercâmbio de ideias, essenciais para as pequenas crescerem”, diz Pedro Melzer, sócio da Warehouse.

A intenção da companhia, criada pelos empresários Pedro Melzer, Moisés Herszenhorn, Rodrigo Baer e Hélio Guimarães, é investir em até 11 empresas em dois anos.

O objetivo é impulsionar negócios nas áreas de tecnologia –comércio eletrônico, games e pagamento móvel- e energia limpa. “Essa é uma incubadora com pé na realidade. Os investidores ficam ao alcance dos empresários, disponíveis para debater o crescimento”, diz Baer.

O grupo pretende abrigar empresas com faturamento entre R$ 1 milhão e R$ 25 milhões. No momento, 65 empresas estão em fase de triagem.

Editoria de Arte/Folhapress

Leia mais na Folha desta sexta-feira, que já está nas bancas.


Foreign invasion! Brazilian Entrepreneurs: GET MOVING.

 We all know that Brazil is hot for foreign investments but lately we’ve seen a swell of foreign entrepreneurs trying their luck in the country.

We have met Germans, Dutches, Frenchs and many others coming to start their companies here. Mostly they are starting copy-cat companies, but so are most of the Brazilian entrepreneurs.

A striking difference, however, is how much more prepared they are to talk to a VC. They understand a funds motivation, the terms and the process. This makes negotiation much easier and investors much more confortable, despite their limited local knowledge.

Another interesting group of entrepreneurs we have met lately is returning Brazilians. People that have studied and worked abroad are now coming back to start their own thing. These group blends the best of both worlds and often have had startup experiences abroad.

In common, both groups have a much better education in entrepreneurial matters.  If Brazilian entrepreneurs want to be competitive in their fund raising, they better start preparing fast. Read a book on Basic VC investing such as “Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur”  and the “LAVCA term-sheet guide” to get started. That will not be enough, but is a good start. Networking with entrepreneurs that have raised Capital and mentors will also make the path easier.

Brazil’s future looks bright… let’s just hope that Brazilian entrepreneurs are the ones leading it.

Foreigners: Getting Started – how to open a company in Brazil

After a long while away from the blog I’m back.

I guess it was Mark Suster who made a comment on how you should trust VCs who pick up their wives calls as this is a good proxy to how they will deal with you once you are on the portfolio but that is no excuse.

I apologize to all of those that missed me but I got married and went on my honeymoon. When I got back… well.. You can imagine.

But I’ll pick-up where I left off.

An interesting entrepreneur asked me how do foreigners start companies in Brazil.  As I’ve seen an “invasion” of foreign entrepreneurs (likely to be my next topic) lately, I guess this is a relevant point.

Talked to my lawyers and here is the thing. If you are a foreigner with a residence visa, it is a little different from if you do not have such a visa.

If you do have a Residence visa, you will need to get an RNE (foreigners registration number) with the Federal Police.  (Be aware that this process may take a really long time… I’ve heard of year+).

Once you are done with it, you have to get a CPF (Brazilian Tax Payer Number) from Receita Federal (IRS). This is simple and rather quick. Try using a Poupa Tempo if you are in Sao Paulo

If you do not have a residence visa, you will need to hire a lawyer ( i can point you to some) and give him power of attorney to represent you in Brazil.

Now we really start the process of setting up the company:

1-You have to draft the shareholders agreement (Contrato social) and register it at Junta Comercial (commercial board).  Beware that companies in Brazil cant belong too ne single person, so you will need a partner, even if he has only 0.000001% of the company.

To register you will need to have copies of your ID’s , CPFs and proof of residence.  This takes about 2 weeks.

It is often that the shareholders agreement gets rejected due to some bureaucratic detail

2- Go online to Receita Federal (IRS) (www.receitafederal.gov.br) where you can start the process in order to get a CNPJ (corporate tax payer number). You will have to send a notarized copy of the registered shareholders agreement.  They should take about 2-3 weeks to get back to you with the number.

3- Once you have the number you can open bank accounts and fulfill most of your other operational needs. You can even start running the business.

But you are not done. If you are opening a commercial company, you have to go online to Receita Estudal (State IRS) in order to register with them.   Expect 3 weeks.

4. Whether you are opening a commercial company or not, you will also need to register with the city hall. Expect 3 weeks but this can be cone in parallel with the state registration.

5. Depending on the type of company you are opening other registrations may apply as ANVISA (FDA) for restaurants, drugstores, hospitals and so on. But as that is on a case by case basis, I’d rather not go into details.

Neither these steps are expensive (about R$150 each) but they often are very frustrating and long for someone that doesn’t understand all the details ( there is no how-to-open-your-company-in-Brazil-for-Dummies manual).

An easier and speedier option is to buy a shelf company (a company that has never been operational and was only created to be sold) from a respectable lawyer.  I can point you in the right direction if you need. They normally go for R$3000 to R$5000.

I hope I didn’t mix up any of the bureaucratic steps. If I did, please correct me.

I hope that helps!

PS: Pieter, an amazing Dutch entrepreneur,  leading http://www.escolherseguros.com.br added 2 observations (they were true at least in 2009/2010)
– You need to have set up the company and transferred the investment before you can obtain an investor visa (you’ll need to appoint someone else to manage it while you wait for your visa)
– No need to wait with the request for your CPF until you get the visa, get it rightaway, much easier



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.

Founders cant become a problem for the company

There has been an enormous amount of chatter over founder liquidity lately.

Here, our view is quite simple: A founder can’t become a liability for his company.

Obviously we want our founders to have skin in the game and to be fully committed to the company they are pitching us. At the startup of the company, this is key to give investors confidence.  As the value of this company is minimal, we want to know that it is not a free option for the entrepreneur and, therefore, like to see all his assets into the company.

We ensure that the founder is not in distress because we don’t want him worrying about other things but we also don’t want him to have a too comfortable of a life before the company makes money. (MBAs and Consultants, don’t pitch me talking about your forgone salary. Your opportunity cost will be all equity and, yes,  you will have to live a cheaper life for a while) You will be under a Minimal Viable Salary policy.

As the company matures,  the founder should rip some of the benefits of the value he has created, therefore, we change the comp scheme from MVS to something more market based in order to give you a little bit of a breathing room and take out the pressure for a quick sale.

For that same reason, we understand that $50M might not be enough for a VC but great for a Founder. Therefore, we are willing to let you take a large part of you chips of the table, not all… but a large part. In doing so, we balance so that the amount of equity you retain on the company is still meaningful for your personal finances but not so large that it will make you risk averse and not swing for the fences with the company.

This is all very tricky math as different people have different needs, but that is the basic logic behind it.

Feedback! Keep it short!

Based on great feedback, I’ll try to curb my excitement and keep my posts shorter!

I thank all those that are giving me feedback and ask the ones that are not yet, to please do so.

If this is going to be a blog for you guys to read, I want it to be fun and pleasurable.

PLEASE send me FEEDBACK and COMMENTS and I’ll react! I love when people engage with what I write and It makes for a better Idea exchange place for the community.

You and your VC – The dating game

Often entrepreneurs walk into the office, pitch and expect a check.  What they fail to realize is that developing the relationship with your VC is as close to a serious dating relationship as it gets. I know, VCs sometimes act as the prettiest girl in the room but still, they are desirable.

The beginning:  As with dating, odds of getting some serious attention go way up if some mutual friend makes the introduction. If this matchmaker also does the pre-selling, than it is much more likely that you will want to take them back to you house/office  😉

Of course you can go to single bars (meetups) and web dating sites (direct site contact) but this is less effective and demand a long time and effort in order to develop intimacy.

Either way, being passionate, upbeat and a good salesmen will earn you points but it is your idea (looks) that will make the first impression.

BUT More often than not, people will never pass this stage and will be qualified as “one night stands” . This happens either because they are jerks ( not that common) or simply because the chemistry wasn’t there.

Next Step :The whole dating thing is about getting to know each other. We want to know that besides your striking idea, you can also evolve and charm me in other ways.

Some entrepreneurs come in, pitch and when we call them back sometime later, in order to check something, they haven’t advanced at all.  Most exciting entrepreneurs I met, always had something new happening… always had advanced on something and would be willing to talk about it. It was also super effective when they would call me just to say hi (update me on a major advancement). This kept me thinking of them and excited about advancement.

At this stage, I also want to know that although you are and optimist and gorgeous, you also know your shortcomings and have plans on how to deal with it. Denial or stubbornness, will not get you points.

If we decide that we better meet your family (due diligence), please beware that I’ll go deep. I’ll talk to you mother, father and your co-workers.  Although I don’t really want to find anything that lets me down, I’d rather have it come out before we get too serious.

The parallel discussion about the relationship ground rules (term-sheet) is key. You have to be comfortable with the rules that will shape our relationship. These rules should be equitable and both sides should understand them.

While getting used to the other and the rules of the relationship is difficult, this discussions should be done in a way that keeps the relationship unharmed. These negotiations are not to be combative as you are both trying to build a longer term relationship

When you do finally decide to get married,  it is going to be a great moment for both sides. You will both celebrate and make it public. You will start then a honeymoon. Enjoy it!

Passed the honeymoon, demands will start and you will have good days and bad days together. Maintaining respect and working together to solve the problems is the only way the two of you will be happy.  As some companies will get funded by many VCs, this ends up being a polygamy and, therefore, much more complex.

Probably the hardest decision you will have to make together is when to have a baby (exit). And as with a relationship, you 2 will have very different perspectives. While the VC needs to guarantee X times their investment, the entrepreneur needs an absolute value to satisfy himself.  As with a kid, talking about this ahead of time, makes the relationship easier.

At last, once you’ve done it once, it is much easier to do a second time around.