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Everything you missed from the Startup Battlefield Latin America – TechCrunch

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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.

Fireside Chat

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.

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Apple May Bring Major Design Changes To Entry-Level iPad

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The changes aren’t skin deep, of course, and the next base iPad is expected to sport changes that may make it more appealing to the casual consumer. At the top of that list is the anticipated switch from the Lightning connector to USB-C, something that all other iPad models have already received. This would not only open up the entry-level iPad to more use cases like hooking up external displays but would also break compatibility with plenty of accessories, particularly the first-gen Apple Pencil.

The first Apple Pencil charges using a Lightning port, but with this connector gone from the upcoming iPad, what would no longer be possible. Given its expected switch to flat edges, it’s likely that the iPad 10 will support the second-gen Apple Pencil. That, in turn, means the days of the original Apple Pencil are numbered, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple immediately halts its production.

With the changes to the design and Lightning port would also come a change to the one other legacy connector that has been present since the first iPad: the 3.5mm headphone jack, which will supposedly be making its exit from the iPad this year. If that rumor proves true, Apple’s transition away from wired headphones — at least as far as a direct connection goes — will be complete. These changes also mean that accessory makers will have to alter their designs, as well, especially case manufacturers. The magnetic Smart Cover’s design, for example, no longer has a place in this flat-edged world.

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BMW Is Testing Electric Cars With Four Motors For Its Fiercest M EVs

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The company’s M xDrive four-wheel drive system is currently in the testing phase, but has already produced some very promising results. The system gives each wheel its own electric motor and runs through a “highly integrated control unit” that takes action based on the driving conditions and the driver’s choices. Along with the driving surface, several other factors are taken into consideration, including accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and wheel speeds. All of this is continually monitored and the optimal amount of power and torque is given to each wheel. The decisions the control unit makes are put into action within milliseconds.

BMW has already tested this technology and claims it delivered a number of benefits, including “significantly higher cornering speeds” even in tough conditions, like rain-soaked or snow-covered roads. A specific example the company gave involved the control unit eliminating understeer by temporarily giving more power to the rear outside wheel. The motors also recoup energy when braking. This has been a common feature on many EVs and hybrids for several years, but BMW’s experimental drive train may be the first to optimize energy recovery on all four wheels.

The concept is being tested out on a modified BMW i4 M50 with the front end based around an adapted body strut concept taken from an M3/M4 chassis, and a radiator unit configuration modeled on current high-performance sports cars. The test car is designed to have high torsional rigidity during dynamic driving situations.

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The Truth About Porsche’s Complicated Model Number System

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Why did it start with the number seven? According to the book “Porsche, Excellence Was Expected” by Karl Ludvigsen, the designers didn’t want Wanderer to “think they were a bunch of novices.” And if you want to get really technical, the very first car Ferdinand built was the Egger-Lohner C2 Phaeton (designated P1) in 1898. Remember, literally every project the company worked on received a successively higher number, from axles to suspensions, gearboxes, and even tractors. Yes, Porsche designed an even slower vehicle than the Volkswagen Thing.

In 1932 came type 22, its first Grand Prix car, the 16-cylinder Auto Union race car. For Porsche, the race was indeed on as figuratively as it was literally. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH worked on all sorts of things, from steering components for Citroën and Fiat to axels, plane and motorcycle engines, and yes… the type 60 KdF-Wagen for Volkswagen (and Hitler), which would go on to fame as the VW Bug. However, the system got a little wonky during World War II, when many numbers in the 200 range were simply skipped over (via Ingenieurbüro Kukuk).

By 1948, its internal numbering system had gotten up into the mid-300s. In June of that year, the first vehicle that displayed the official Porsche name rolled into existence with the now iconic Porsche 356, according to the automaker. But it came with a new wrinkle: as the 356 evolved with the latest technological advances, each subsequent model was designated with letters (A, B, C). Alphabet soup with your zip codes, anyone?

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