"São Paulo is a thriving tech ecosystem, and on a constant path of improvement. More than unicorns, it is the result of solid commitment and the consistent work of people who really want to make a difference. Brilliant talents are here, including founders, researchers, investors, and community. It is a strong anchor to all the other amazing things happening all over Brazil."
Home to more than 24 million people, São Paulo is the largest economic and industrial center in the southern hemisphere and a vibrant startup hub. Its size and density offer founders a large market and ample opportunity for networking. São Paulo is home to 2,770 startups, the highest number by far in Brazil, including 11 valued at $1 billion or more. Success stories include Fintech Nubank which exited in a 2021 $41 billion IPO, and insurtech Justos, which raised both a $2.8 million seed round and a $35.8 million Series A the same year.
Brazil contributes more than 50% of data center investments in Latin America, and is home to the innovation and data centers of global titans such as Microsoft and Google. It is also the home to the regional headquarters of Airbnb, Netflix, and Amazon. According to Arizton, the Brazilian data center market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.26% from 2022–2028. There are 51 existing and 22 planned data center facilities in the country, with São Paulo being the nation’’s primary data center hub.
The University of São Paulo was ranked the best university in Latin America in 2023 by the Times Higher Education. With some of the best academic programs in STEM fields, the city’s businesses benefit from this talent pipeline. ACE Startups carried out more than 100 acceleration programs and was chosen three times as the best accelerator in Latin America. It is now seeking to invest in early-stage startups.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
In November 2022, Swedish company Zimpler announced plans to establish its regional headquarters here in order to introduce its payments solution to Brazil. A collaboration between Bank of Brazil and crypto firm Bifty allows citizens to pay their taxes using cryptocurrencies. The Central Bank of Brazil plans to introduce a Brazilian central bank digital currency by 2024. Digital bank Neon raised a $300 million Series D in February 2022, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $700 million.
São Paulo has emerged as a hub for Edtech companies in Brazil. Of the nation’s approximately 560 Edtech startups, São Paulo accounts for 38%. The German-Brazilian EdTech Hackathon is an annual event where experts from Brazil and Germany collaborate to create innovative solutions to digital education challenges. The second edition was held in São Paulo in May 2023.
Agtech & New Food
Brazil is home to around 1,700 Agtech startups, and the state of São Paulo is home to approximately 47% of them. AgTech Garage is one of the most important Agtech innovation hubs in Brazil, with a mission to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of Brazilian agribusiness. It has a network of more than 80 corporate partners and 1,000 startups. It launched its first FoodTech Innovation Circuit in June 2022 before being acquired by PwC in November Agtech TerraMagna raised a $40 million Series A in January 2022.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to São Paulo
São Paulo is the most populous city in South America with a population of more than 24 million people. Brazil has the largest consumer market and GDP in South America, and a large portion of its population and economic activity is concentrated in the states of São Paulo and nearby Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, providing a huge market for São Paulo-based startups.
Only an hour from the coast and the Port of Santos, Brazil's biggest and most important port and the busiest container port in Latin America, startups in Sao Paulo have good access to international logistics links. Additionally, the city is home to four airports, one of which is the busiest international airport in Brazil.
The University of São Paulo, Brazil was the top ranked university in Latin America in the 2023 Times Higher Education’s list of the world’s best universities, producing a steady stream of quality talent. In joint second place, the University of Campinas, São Paulo is an established medical and scientific research center. It is also among the 100 most sustainable universities in the world, according to the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking.
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