The tech scene in São Paulo is an absolute delight, and we’re honored to have seen such an amazing turnout at the Startup Battlefield Latin America.
In case you missed it, we’ve put together a little recap of the event below.
Editor’s Note: We will embed videos from the event as soon as they’re available.
A China Twist to Brazil’s Mobility Revolution
Featuring Ariel Lambrecht (Yellow), Eduardo Musa (Yellow), Tony Qiu (Didi Chuxing), Hans Tung (GGV)
Mobility is a massive challenge for megacities around the world, including Sao Paulo. The first panel of the event featured notable founders and investors attempting to solve this problem in Brazil and throughout Latin America.
Eduardo Musa is the cofounder and CEO of Yellow and was joined on stage by his cofounder Ariel Lambrecht. Lambrecht also founded the mobility company 99, which is the only startup worth more than 1 billion USD in Brazil. Didi Chuxing recently invested and purchased 99, and current CEO and former investor Tony Qiu sat on the panel as well. Lastly, Hans Tung, managing partner at the Silicon Valley firm GGV and lead investor on 99’s latest round, joined the group. The panel was moderated by TechCrunch’s Managing Editor, Matt Burns.
Both Musa and Qiu acknowledged the crisis facing the Brazilian market and noted parallels with the Chinese market. Both markets have megacities with a diverse population, and there are countless opportunities for startups to address.
Throughout the panel, it was noted that Brazilian startups face several obstacles including finding enough talent and investment. The panelists agreed that often companies in Brazil are looking to Silicon Valley for both. For hiring, they said, there are not enough engineers locally, and to obtain funding, it’s best to show growth to local investors and the look tow Silicon Valley for additional investors.
Featuring Cristina Junquiera (Nubank) and David Velez (Nubank)
Any kind of partnership with a global internet giant is a big win for a startup. Nubank co-founders David Velez and Cristina Junquiera took the stage at Startup Battlefield Latin America to discuss Tencent’s $180M investment into their Sao Paulo-based digital banking company. Nubank is has raised over $700M from hard hitting investors like DST and Sequoia, valuing the company at over $4B, so it’s not about the money. While the invest to buy strategy is common for Chinese internet giants, Velez says that isn’t the goal for Nubank.
The founders are focused on the 20 million customers who have already applied for their credit card, and building culture from the ground up. There’s a lot wrong with Brazilian banks, and Nubank is taking a customer-focused approach to provide its digital banking service for Brazil’s huge population. When you’re one of the most successful companies in a region, you feel a responsibility to give back to the ecosystem. The best way to do that, say Velez and Junquiera, is to set an example of success.
Venture Investing In Latin America Today
Featuring Eric Acher (Monashees), Veronica Allende Serra (Innova Capital Consultoria Ltda), Hernan Kazah (Kaszek), Fernando Lelo de Larrea (ALLVP)
Latin American startup companies have hit an inflection point. No longer an afterthought for global investment firms the region is on pace to surpass $1 billion in committed capital for the second year in a row.
Driving that growth, according to investors Eric Acher, the co-founder of Monashees; Veronica Allende Serra, the founder of Innova Capital; Hernan Kazah of Kaszek Ventures and Fernando Lelo de Larrea of ALL VP; is a rash of exits like the public offering for the payment technology provider Stone and the sale of ride-hailing company, 99, to the Chinese global giant mobility company, DiDi.
Yet, as the market grows, entrepreneurs need to consider the partners they’re bringing on board as the aim for international growth. And while Brazil leads the pack in terms of committed capital — grabbing 73% of the total money invested in the region in the first half of the year — Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile are all emerging as important capital markets in their own right.
20 Years Ahead of the Curve
Featuring Fabricio Bloisi (Movile)
For Fabricio Bloisi, the journey to building a multi-billion dollar company in Movile wasn’t always easy. Building a business requires making tough decisions along the way and a commitment to constantly churning through ideas.
Over the first ten years of its existence, Movile struggled as a smaller content provider. It was once the company agreed to consolidate and control more of the market that it began to grow, Bloisi said.
Now, businesses like iFood, which brought in over $100 million in revenue in the month of October alone, and new payment businesses like Zoop and its delivery and logistics companies, are contributing to a powerhouse that Bloisi thinks could be a $10 billion company in a few years.
Bloisi believes in the region, and the promise it holds for local and international investors to build more multi-billion dollar businesses. The future belongs to the entrepreneurs in the audience, Bloisi said. And if they can make the tough decisions (and get the right investment partners) they could find themselves on the TechCrunch stage.
New Wave Latin Founders
Ana Lu McLaren (Enjoie), David Arana (Konfio), Sebastian Mejia (Rappi), Juan Pablo Bruzzo
A vast majority of startup and investment activity across Latin America is coming out of Brazil. But that doesn’t mean entrepreneurship doesn’t thrive in other parts of the region. Rappi co-founder Sebastian Mejia, Konfio’s David Arana, Moni’s Juan Pablo Bruzzo and Ana McLaren from Enjoie discussed the challenges of launching and scaling an early stage tech company in this new wave founder discussion. Volatile economies, scarce technical talent, and undercapitalized markets aren’t so much challenges, but opportunities for these founders.
Logistics, fintech and ecommerce sectors are getting shaken up by these founders, and the foreign investment dollars are following. Rappi just raised a $200M round to grow its last-mile delivery service, but threats from foreign powerhouses like Uber threaten to eclipse market share. The landscape is more competitive than ever for founders, so expect to see big moves happening from startups launching out of the region.
Amazon sets a date for its big 2021 Echo and Ring devices event
Amazon has set the date for its next big devices and services event, and if previous years are anything to go by we can expect new Echo and Ring hardware along with potentially a few surprises. The event will kick off at 9am PT (12pm ET) on Tuesday, September 28, and as with last year’s it’ll be online-only.
Last year Amazon didn’t hold back on new smart home hardware. Along with the new Echo Show 10, which could rotate under its own power to face the person interacting with it, Amazon also had a new, spherical Echo smart speaker.
The smaller Echo Dot – and its Echo Dot with Clock sibling – offered a lower price point, and the new Echo Dot Kids Edition dressed that up in more playful designs. As for Ring, we saw the Ring Car Alarm debut, plus the promise of end-to-end video encryption. Amazon also announced a collaboration with Tesla, with the Ring Car Connect for the automaker’s EVs.
Elsewhere, the Eero Pro 6 and Eero 6 added WiFi 6 to the familiar mesh networking, while the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite kicked off pricing at under $30. Amazon also introduced Luna, its cloud gaming service, complete with a dedicated wireless controller.
Just as much a showcase for hardware, though, Amazon’s events have become demonstrations for its software changes. Alexa typically plays a key part in that – last year we saw group calling support, Netflix on Echo Show, and interactive teaching tools – but it’s also an opportunity to see what developer tools and improvements have been introduced.
Finally, it’s a chance for Amazon to surprise. Last year, that meant the Ring Always Home Cam – a flying camera drone that promised automated patrols of your house – though the gadget is still yet to actually launch commercially.
For 2021, it’s likely we’ll see refreshes of Amazon’s core Echo range. After all, with the holidays approaching, that’s a key opportunity for Amazon to put more smart speakers in users’ homes – and double-down on their commitment to Alexa as a platform, rather than the Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. The new Amazon-branded Fire TV range could also be expanded.
We’ll probably also hear more about the controversial Amazon Sidewalk, the shared neighborhood network that Amazon opted to enable by default earlier in the year.
On the “weird tech” side, that could well be the rumored wall-mounted Echo touchscreen. Billed as being an in-wall smart home hub, it would help position Alexa as a key way of interacting with the connected home and IoT, if the rumors are to be believed.
After iPhone 13: The new tech coming in 2022, 2023, and 2024
Over the next few years, the iPhone will see some significant changes. This year’s iPhone 13 didn’t exactly make major waves when it came to upgrades VS last year’s model lineup. According to high-level Apple product predictions released this week, the changes will come in the years 2022, 2023, and 2024 in the form of punch hole front-facing cameras, under-display Touch ID, and foldable smartphones from Apple.
Notes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo relayed by 9to5Mac suggested that the iPhone line released in the year 2022 would include two higher-end devices with a punch-hole display. Kuo also suggested that these devices would include a new 48MP wide camera, and would be joined by a new and “more affordable” 6.7-inch iPhone.
Kuo also noted the addition of an under-display fingerprint reader for the year 2023. This technology began to appear in Android devices over the last few years, but hasn’t yet matured to the point at which Apple has been comfortable releasing it on a release-level iPhone. The iPhone under-display Touch ID system is predicted to be a part of the iPhone 15 (or whatever it’ll be called) released in the year 2023 – or later.
The most massive change to the iPhone line comes in the prediction of a foldable device. Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that the “foldable iPhone” won’t be released until the year 2024. It is not yet known whether this foldable iPhone will be released at the same time as the traditional iPhone, what it’s price will be, or if it’ll actually truly ever be released at all!
ALSO NOTE: There’ll likely be a new iPhone SE coming in the year 2022 with expanded mobile data radio coverage. This means 5G support for said iPhone SE, likely appearing in the first half of the year 2022.
If you’re currently preparing to purchase an iPhone and want to wait for the newest possible device – you’re in luck, since the iPhone 13 will be available in stores on September 24, 2021. The release date is the same for iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, all coming on September 24th, 2021. Take a peek at comparisons between the iPhone 13 models and iPhone 12 and see what you make of them. Then stick around as we prepare to release our review of the iPhone 13 and beyond!
IKEA Sjomake makes DIY hidden wireless charging a $40 upgrade
IKEA is making it easy to hide wireless charging in your nightstand, desk, or coffee table, with the new Sjömäke wireless pad keeping its Qi out of sight. Unlike IKEA’s earlier charging pads, which slot into circular cut-outs in the tabletop, this new high-power pad is intended to hide underneath yet still allow for wireless charging through the surface.
In fact, IKEA claims, it should work just fine through tables and other worktops that are 3/8″ to 7/8″ thick, just as long as they’re not metal. The Swedish retailer includes double-sided tape for mounting it underneath, though there’s also support for screws or other fixings if you prefer.
Plug in the six foot long power cable, meanwhile, and then you have a discreetly hidden Qi charging pad. IKEA includes some stickers that you can optionally use on the top of the table or nightstand, so that you know whereabouts to position your phone or other device for best charging results. Or, you can leave them off altogether, and have the whole thing seem a little more magical.
The pad is a fairly uninspiring design, given it’s intended to be hidden from sight. It’s 1-inches thick, 7-inches long, and 3-inches wide. An indicator LED on the side shows whether or not it’s actively charging a device, though of course there’s a fair chance that you won’t be able to see that in day to day use.
Indeed, IKEA says that you really shouldn’t use the pad with a phone or other device without anything in-between. According to the user manual, there should be at least around 8mm between the two, presumably because IKEA has tuned the charging coils to take into account some sort of gap.
As for the charging rate, expect around 5W. Less, certainly, than you’d get from some of the other Qi pads on the market right now, but certainly sufficient if you’re leaving your phone to one side as you sleep or work.
Currently, the Sjömäke is listed at $39.99 on IKEA’s site, though it’s not yet available to order. The retailer confirmed to The Verge that it will be going on sale in October, both in the US and in other international stores, both at its physical locations and online.
This isn’t, of course, IKEA’s first flirtation with wireless charging. Back in 2018, the company ran a high-profile welcome campaign for the iPhone 8, highlighting how Apple’s addition of Qi support meant that the smartphone would now work with the Swedish company’s chargers that were build into tables, lamps, and more.
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