A Kombo foi citada num post de um dos diretores da Microsoft, que visitou a empresa durante o ANPROTEC, aqui em Florianópolis no início de novembro. Segue o post em inglês:
Acate – “The best tech incubator in Brazil”
According to my host Gabriel, and reinforced by the 2008 award to Acate.
After 3 days in Sao Paulo, I traveled to the Brazilian island of Santa Catarina and the city of Florianopolis where the Brazilian technology incubation organization ANPTROTEC and the World Bank had a conference on developing new technology companies in rapidly developing regions like Brazil. The conference had participants from over 40 countries, but my focus was Brazil and fortunately, all of the key government and industry influentials were at the event.
In the exhibit area I was perusing what English content was around and entered the booth of the Acate incubator, which is based on Florianopolis, I met the Executive Director, Jamile Sabatini Marques, and she began to describe the Acate. During the discussion, she mentioned that another Microsoft executive was going to be visiting a few of the companies at their offices. I soon discovered that the Microsoft visitor was me. Talking with Mariana, who spoke very good English, in the Acate booth I learned of the German heritage of Santa Catarina island and the tech focused investment in the business community on the island. After a bit, my host for the Acate visit, Gabriel Sant’Ana Palma Santo arrived and we drove off from the resort to the Acate incubation center, which was about an hour away.
During the drive Gabriel educated me a bit more on the Brazilian incubators and how the government supports them throughout Brazil. As a Brazilian citizen you can propose a project and get funding up to $60,000 for your activities. Up to $4 Billion a year are invested in businesses, not all tech, through government and supplemental funding. This is not equity capital; it is a grant that does not need to be repaid. Angels and VC’s can then engage the companies as they mature through the incubators; term is between 2-4 years. That is the good news. The bad news is that there is little tacit business knowledge transferred during these initial two years. I showed Gabriel the TechStars.org site and the numerous mentors and coaches that were very successful business persons. He asked how much each mentor get’s paid. I said the only one who gets paid is David Cohen and his partners, who founded TechStars, when they get an exit out of one of the companies. But all of the mentors have a vested interest in transferring their knowledge, investing in the companies at some future time or building their ecosystem ( like Microsoft’s purpose ). Capitalism at it’s best.
Upon arriving at the Acate site I had a quick impromptu meeting with Rui Lauro Linhares, a local successful businessman that is the president of the Acate incubator. The analogy to Acate would be the Plug-n-Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley. The Acate facility has space for 20 companies and each company gets an office that can accommodate up to 6 employees. It looks like a college dormitory for startups. The first company I visited with was a SaaS HR recruiting and placement solution called KOMBO. KOMBO is built on Sugar CRM (errata: nos baseamos no Sugar CRM, não construímos na plataforma deles). It allows you to post a job, manage a pipeline of candidates, interview, hire and onboard the personnel. There were three folks on one side of the dorm room managing sales and three on the other side building product and the president Thiago Tavano Sammartino sitting in between running the business. Business is good and Thiago expects to achieve break even in a few months.
The next company has had some international exposure, BOOKESS. BOOKESS is essentially a publishing platform for both paper books and electronic books, such as Amazon’s Kindle. I met Alessandro Ciaffone who walked through their publishing process. They are also in the process of writing a book reader – and since I am the Windows 7 guy on EBT, well, I had a few ideas on that. Again, business was healthy with international demand, and with hard bound binders worldwide and their English solution near completion, you can publish to hardback and kindle through their web based system in the near future. Oh yeah and read it on a Windows 7 tablet.
On to some more cool applications: when I was at the expo where I first met the Acate team, they had a large desktop display, about the size of a card table, that was touch enabled and you could see a profile of each company, touch it, flip it to English etc. I was sure this was WPF and I did notice that the machine was running a RC candidate of Windows 7. The company that built the application was sandbox and I was now sitting with them in their business dorm. They walked through some of the different applications that they had built, but alas, they were Flash and Flex and not WPF – of course I took the opportunity to show off some great WPF applications. Regardless, they are building touch enabled applications, using all kinds of sensory inputs, on top of whatever the client wants. I connected them with the touch and gesture library for Windows 7 which should help down the road.
And finally, I be with TalkAndWrite, who are building a touch enabled whiteboard, that can be used up on a wall like a normal whiteboard, or used at your desktop with a PC. It is peer-to-peer and uses very small bandwidth for instant communication of written whiteboard content on top of graphics being viewed by all meeting participants. They have a custom codec that they used resulted in excellent performance even over low bandwidth connections. This is key for the geographically dispersed population in Brazil and other countries and is the unique differentiator for them. Once again, gestures were key for them and I am connecting them to the Windows 7 hardware certification programs so their devices can get properly certified and get some broad visibility. Also of note that TalkAndWrite is a women led business, with Bruna Rezende and Daniela Baumgarten running the company, and I can respect that as my mother was an entrepreneur.
With a combination of the Microsoft Innovation Centers, BizSpark and our depth engagement programs, Microsoft is reaching out to the best tech companies in the world and helping them succeed. I was impressed and comforted that innovation; intellect and capitalism are alive and well, and even better on a beautiful island like Santa Catarina in Brazil.
Posted at 11/4/2009 5:07 PM by Dave Drach
Dave Drach is a Managing Director for the Microsoft Emerging Business Team. Dave works with venture capitalists and early stage start-ups helping them to develop their businesses and effectively partner with Microsoft.
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