CEO Gabriel Benarrós
took a big gamble in leaving Silicon Valley in 2013 to start a company in his home country of Brazil: a country less welcoming to tech startups, and a place where funding was less readily available.
“I always knew I wanted to come back. I wanted to do something for Brazil and in Brazil… I guess that’s a little bit patriotic of me,” he added laughing. “But I also knew that there was more impact to be made here,” the Stanford-educated executive said.
Benarrós co-founded Ingresse: a live experience platform that helps people discover and buy tickets to concerts, movies, plays, nightclubs and parties. According to Benarrós, the company has big plans for broadening its offerings to “revolutionize the live experiences market in Brazil” (Business Insider
This December, Ingresse raised its third round of funding of 90 million Brazilian Reais ($21.5 million USD). The company’s pipeline of projects to invest that money include initiatives such as developing cashless wallets for customers to use to buy food and drink at the events they purchased tickets to. Ingresse also plans to make an entrance into the fintech world by co-creating a fund that will invest in the live entertainment market itself.
Investors in the company include ticketing company Rival
, which is currently headed by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard
. According to Business Insider
, Rival’s buy-in is a strategic partnership that will allow the two companies to share research and development and bolster their positions throughout the Americas.
Trading off Between Brazil and the Silicon Valley
Back when Benarrós founded the company, he said that the tradeoff between Silicon Valley and Brazil was difficult.
“On one hand [Silicon Valley] is an amazing environment… You have some of the smartest people in the world and you learn so much,” he said.
Funding was hard to come by in Brazil, where capital was far less abundant according to Benarrós. But ultimately, the decision came down to the magnitude of impact that he could create. Opportunities to innovate are less bountiful in Silicon Valley, and he didn’t want to work on software that offered specific solutions or ways to optimize. He wanted to do something “more disruptive,” he told Business Insider
“There are so many more fundamental problems to be solved in Brazil. People haven’t ‘solved’ delivery, logistics, banking … ticketing, telecommunications, the things you talk about on a daily basis haven’t really been 'solved’ yet by tech. I think that’s really exciting,” Benarrós explained.
Brazil’s tech ecosystem is currently concentrated among a few elite.
“A lot of Stanford folks are involved, it’s the equivalent to the PayPal mafia here,” Benarrós noted; citing leaders in Sao Paulo’s tech ecosystem like NuBank’s David Velez
and Movile’s Fabricio Bloisi
. “That’s different from India, or China, or a lot of emerging markets right now.”
As venture capital funding has grown in the region, it’s an exciting moment to run a startup in Brazil. A new study tracking venture capital investment in Brazil estimated funding reached $2.7 billion, an almost 200% rise in funding from 2017, Forbes reported
“People are more oriented toward companies that are more cash cautious, and that benefits us enormously… I think we’re reaching a healthy balance between growth and burn, unless you were doing business with funds that were somehow connected to WeWork. Unless that’s the case, I think everyone else that survived so far is going to benefit from this moment,” Benarrós said.
The Great Startup Migration
Benarrós may have been an early trendsetter in choosing to leave the San Francisco Bay Area.
Concurrently, increased competition from other cities and countries are drawing top tech talent away from California itself. Business Insider
reports that cities in the U.S. like Pittsburgh
have grown exceedingly attractive to tech workers. Industry watchers have predicted
that business-friendly environments, lower taxes and lower housing prices, and higher numbers of engineering graduates from local universities will only cause the trend to grow in 2020.