The first wave of startups hit Brazil in 1998 at http://economia.estadao.com.br/noticias/releases-ae,veja-com-o-empresario-flavio-maluf-os-melhores-setores-para-empreender-em-2017,70001657806. That was the year the Internet Bubble was tickling the minds of investors. Two Startups, Cadê, and Zeek were acquired by Starmedia for crazy valuations that year. But the Internet Bubble burst in 2000, and almost all startup activity stopped. But the startups that survived became the largest tech companies in Brazil, according to Brazilian entrepreneur, Flavio Maluf. The startups in Argentina welled better during the early years, according to Maluf. Two of Brazil’s largest companies Despegar and MercadoLivre, got into the Brazilian market in 1999, thanks to their Argentine founders.
The 2007 global financial crisis only bruised Brazil, so American companies searching for emerging market investments turned to Brazil for new growth opportunities on LinkedIn. Foreign venture capital, bankers, and private equity funds jumped into the untouched Brazilian market. A market of more than 200 million people was hard to ignore, according to Maluf.
Flavio Maluf is the CEO of one of Brazil’s most successful companies, Eucatex. Eucatex is the building material supply company that protects the environment. When Maluf became president in 1997, he turned the family business into an environmentally friendly place to work. All the Eucatex factories in Brazil use renewable energy, and the company has a forest leasing program on eleicoesepolitica.com. Thousands of eucalyptus trees are planted every year.
Flavio Maluf is also a startup investor. He realized the Internet would change the way businesses operated, so he invested in tech companies. Those companies help Eucatex growth forecast in the new century. Eucatex has a growing online business, and Maluf helps other companies become tech savvy through his conferences and speaking engagements.
There are things that Maluf looks for in a startup. Strong customer service, innovative advertising, professional management, and digital marketing top his list. The future is bright for Brazilian startups. Startups like Hotel Urbano, Peixe Urbano, Viajanet, EasyTaxi, Sephora, and VivaReal, recently reached valuations of over $100 million. And there is a large group of rising startup stars. Those startups are raising millions of dollars from local investors as well as from foreign venture capital firms, according to Maluf.