One of the main accelerators in Latin America, with partners such as Google, IBM, and Visa, Startup Farm has more than 250 startups in its portfolio that together add up to a market value of more than US $1 billion.
In this interview, Alan Leite, CEO and Co-founder of the accelerator, talks about the ecosystem of startups, the partnership with Google and the market for FinTechs in Brazil.
What changes do you see in the entrepreneurial ecosystem since the beginning of Startup Farm?
Alan Leite: The elements of the ecosystem are all more mature, both entrepreneurs and corporations, and there are new elements.
Entrepreneurs and founders today are more mature, less adventurous, and clearer about they are doing and what they want to do. Many entrepreneurs have experience in public and private companies, have a first-rate education, and are solving problems in these sectors. So the ecosystem it is evolving a lot in the country.
Has the demand for investors to invest in startups increased?
AL: We are the most sought after by investors today. Another indicator of maturity is the venture capital market. There are specific funds such as impact funds, health, and education. There is more capital available and with different profiles. In addition, corporations are entering and should enter the middle of the field, such as Itaú with the Cubo and Google with Campus.
Speaking of which, how is Startup Farm's partnership with Google?
AL: Today there are in two partnerships. Startup Farm is a partner of Google for Entrepreneurs – one of 50 partners in the world – a select group in which the network exchanges knowledge and is very active. Startup Farm is the first Latin American accelerator in the program.
The second is with Campus; Startup Farm is the resident accelerator. In this partnership, Google does not interfere with Startup Farm's choices. We are on Campus where the acceleration programs are run. Startup Farm is in tune with Google to make a positive impact on the ecosystem.
What is your current view on the market specifically for FinTechs?
AL: For some time, we have noticed a business trend with the FinTech footprint.
Brazil has one of the most modern financial structures in the world, at the same time a large part of the population that does not have access to minimum financial services, such as credit. In this scenario, startups are emerging with new business models that seek to occupy these gaps, being experts in solving a sector-specific problem and with very customer-focused attention, using information technology as a platform. With this, the population is having access to services that were previously not possible or inaccessible.
The FinTech market is still hot with several companies growing inside the Farm and out, so we believe there is a lot of improvement to be made and opportunities for businesses.
Do you see any difference between the challenges of startups in general and FinTechs?
AL: Yes, FinTechs generally have much stronger regulations than other startup models. So if you plan to start a FinTech, you should be well acquainted with the sector where you will be working and be a deep expert in your regulation.
This content was published in partnership with StartSe, a leading Brazilian website about startups. The portal contains the StartSe Base, the largest database of startups in the country, with more than 5,000 registered companies.