I discovered a young but very active and structured start-up community in Porto Alegre. The 3 pillars of this community are Nos-Coworking, WOW accelerator and Semente Negocios. All Gauchos, native from Porto Alegre or the region, they are committed to develop successfully this eco-system over a long period of time. Their complementary and interconnections is a driving force for the start-up development in this location.
Nos-Coworking (www.noscoworking.com.br) is a shared office-space and services, welcoming start-ups and individuals entrepreneurs. Built to be flexible, open and pleasant, Nos-Coworking is a designed space fully equipped with the “state of the art” of IT infrastructures and services. Companies working at NOS are connected with each other; there are a lot of exchanges and events that are going in this open space. Nos-Coworking was founded by 14 partners with the vision of developing the economy in downtown Porto Alegre. Walker Massa the director is passionate by Porto Alegre and its future.
WOW (wow.ac) is a group of 50 business angels passionate about innovative businesses. They created the WOW as a nonprofit to connect entrepreneurs and investors in a transparent manner. Start-ups selected by WOW are supported by an acceleration program including capital, networking, mentoring and training. To enter, start-ups have to go through a very selective process and must demonstrate the leadership of the team, the quality of their project and the market potential. +90 start-ups registered at the first selection last spring, around 30 passed the initial screening. After a first round of interviews, 20 start-ups were selected to participate to the final selection day. All the 20 start-ups and 50 partners was regrouped for a day of presentations and one to one interviews, at the end of the day the 50 partners regrouped and voted yes or not on each project. The “yes” were ratted low, medium or high. Only 3 start-ups survived this demanding process (I will talk about them in my next blog). The winners got access to the acceleration program; Depending on their needs, they received between USD 50 000 to USD 150 000 in capital. All the 50 partners are committed to open their network and facilitate introductions or meetings. 2 mentors with years of experiences in entrepreneurship are available 24×7 for any question, concern or advice. Finally the young CEOs have access to entrepreneurship training programs helping their company development.
Semente Negocios (http://www.sementenegocios.com.br/)was founded by 4 young entrepreneurs. Their mission is to create and deliver an education program for early stage ventures and new entrepreneurs. The objective is to help them to create scalable and sustainable business models. They designed an education program based on the concept of Lean Start-up and focused on business modeling, marketing, sales and fundraising. Their offering is articulated around three components:
– Business Model Design: Helping entrepreneurs to turn ideas into businesses and to find their first clients.
– Business Acceleration: Advising start-ups on business development and marketing and help global start-ups to enter the Brazilian market.
– Business networking: Holding meetings for entrepreneurs, investors and other professionals to meet, share experiences and contribute to the formation of a start-up eco-system in their city.
In addition Semente works with local universities and incubators and has developed an entrepreneurship education program adapted to future start-up entrepreneurs. Semente built a 10 weeks program “The Start-up Challenge” enabling teams to mature their project and to launch their first company.
Talking about interactions; WOW offices are in NOS Coworking, the COO of WOW is Bruno Peroni, one of the founder partners of Semente Negocios and the startups selected by WOW get advantage of NOS Coworking and Semente. This is a great example of sustainable start-up community development.