By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil is home to eight of Latin America’s most innovative
firms, according to the “The state of innovation in Latin America,” a report published by the Visa Innovation Center.
This is largely due to a flourishing ecosystem of financial and commercial entities, including the region’s largest financial institutions – Itaú, Bradesco, and Cielo – as well as world-class retail groups like Magazine Luiza, O Boticário, Ponto Frio, and Netshoes.
Brazil is positioned to continue to lead the region in innovation, forging a path for the rest of Latin America to follow.
Startups like NuBank, PagSeguro, and 99 Taxis have also contributed to Brazil’s reputation as a leader in innovation. Valued in over US$1 billion, all three companies are unicorns, a term used to refer to exceptionally successful ventures.
A Magnet for Tech Companies
The first in Latin America to attract companies like Netflix, Facebook, Google, and Uber, Brazil was also where Apple Pay and Samsung Pay first launched.
The country’s competitive payments arena has also attracted hundreds of millions in fintech (Financial Technology) venture capital. Brazilian startups received nearly 90 percent of the US$570 million invested in fintech in 2017, and of the top ten fintech deals made in Latin America that year, six of them took place here.
Additionally, Brazil represents 3 percent of the growing global mobile commerce market, according to Visa.
“In comparison to other markets in the region, Brazilian firms are leaders in high-tech innovation. Their businesses have incorporated advanced technologies like machine learning, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and big data into their DNA at a much faster rate than in neighboring countries,” the study points out.
Brazilian fintechs and financial institutions are also beginning to adopt blockchain, which is “pretty much unknown” in other Latin American countries, the research adds.
The country’s banks and retailers are making progress when it comes to technologies like biometrics with an emphasis on facial recognition, the report notes, as well as tokenization, chatbots, and other advanced tools.
“For all these reasons, Brazil is positioned to continue to lead the region in innovation, forging a path for the rest of Latin America to follow.”
Brazil is also the fourth largest consumer of apps in the world. Brazilians access about ten apps every day, most of them shopping-related, according to separate research by Qualibest. The study also indicates that 81 percent of internet users in Brazil have used an app to buy a product or hire a service.