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Key Figures to Know


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GDP growth (annual %, 2012)
GDP per capita (current US$, 2012)
GDP (current US$, 2012)
Internet users (per 100 people, 2012)
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people, 2012)
Mobile Internet Penetration (% of population)
Average Salary - Entry Level Engineer (Yearly, in $USD)
Minimum Salary By Law (Yearly, in $USD)
Population (Total, 2012)
Country Flag
Brazil Country Data0.8711,340$2,250,000,000,00049.85125.1953%$25969$4300198,656,019


At a Glance

Brazil Overview

At a Glance

Brazil is bigger than the rest of South America combined!

  • When speaking to investors or entrepreneurs in other LATAM countries, they will often say that Brazil is its own separate content.

  • The culture, language, policies and way of doing business is completely different.

Most LATAM entrepreneurs want in

  • Some of of the biggest LATAM internet companies were not founded in Brazil.

  • Argentine and Venezuelan companies like OpenEnglish and Mercado Livre moved there quickly to get access to the market.  

  • “If you can win Brazil, founders will have an easier time winning other markets in Latin America.”

Government bureaucracy

  • Most of the time, taxes are deducted from a company's revenue not profit.

  • Brazilian employees cost double their salary due to strong pro labor legislation.

  • Protocol is important, but even government officials don’t understand it.  If you spend all your time worrying about every rule you will get stuck.  A great lawyer is your best friend.

  • Brazilian bureaucracy is a reality but activists and the July 2013 protests have inspired change.  Expect more protests during the World Cup in preparation for the presidential election in November.

Brazilians aren't natural born entrepreneurs, most people are risk averse

  • Brazil experienced years of hyperinflation and instability in the 80's and early 90's so people value stability.

  • Government and executive pay in Brazil is the highest in the world!  Staying in the same job and moving up the corporate/government is regarded as the most effective way to obtain wealth.

  • But the startup community is growing fast and it is becoming TV cool to join a startup.

Lots of free public money

  • Both Federal and State governments are investing a lot of resources into funding startup companies and trying to change the lack of startup culture 

  • Startup Brazil, Seed, Startup Rio, and other programs provide entrepreneurs with up to $90,000 and ask for 0 equity.

  • If you want to develop a product for cheap, “accelerator hopping” is an option.  Many entrepreneurs will apply to another accelerator while they are taking part in another to buy more time.

  • “There is always a government startup accelerator that is accepting applications. Whether it’s in Chile (Startup Chile or Geek Camp), Brazil (Startup Brazil, SEED or Startup Rio) or Colombia.”

Large infrastructure deficit

Hospitality

  • If you gain the trust of a Brazilian they will do everything they can to help you survive.

  • Brazilians are obsessed with friendship. US relationships are more transactional.  In Brazil friendship/beers always precede a transaction or business relationship.

  • The country has the most active Facebook users in the world.

  • It’s not uncommon for high level introductions to come through Facebook instead of email.

Taking A Closer Look

Brazil is currently the world's fifth largest country by both size and population.  Its economy is the world's seventh largest by GDP and also by purchasing power parity as of 2013. Brazil is often known as the “lungs of the world” due to the Amazon rainforest where over 4 million plant and animal species live.

The country was discovered and settled by Portugal in 1500 and has been through a lot of political and economic instability since then.  However, things finally settled down in 1994, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former finance minister and president, instituted a economic policy called the Plano Real.  The Real is still the national currency today.

The Amazon rainforest, fertile grasslands and sweeping coastline provides Brazil with a wealth of natural resources.  The most important are: Iron Ore (17%), Crude Petroleum (8.8%), Soybeans (6.3%), Raw Sugar (5.9%), and Coffee (3.2%). The country has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years.

Brazil boasts a population of over 200 million inhabitants.  Although the Western and Northern regions of the country make up 64.12% of the Brazilian territory, the population is heavily concentrated in the Southeastern (79.8 million inhabitants) and Northeastern (53.5 million inhabitants) regions.  The Southeastern part is responsible for 60% of national GDP and home to the largest city, Sao Paulo.  The metropolitan area of Sao Paulo has a population of 20 million.

Brazilians are regarded as a happy, friendly and welcoming people. The country speaks Portuguese and only 5% of the population can speak english.

Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion (64.6%) followed by Protestantism (22.2%).



Portuguese and American influences are prevalent in modern Brazilian society. Local music, movies and food are a passion, but like the rest of the world, Brazilians have also been exposed to large quantities of US media.