By Doug Gray, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The brainchild of three Germans with a passion for travel and a history of working overseas, InterNations is a global online business network now with three communities in Brazil – Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Launched in September 2007, Christian Leifeld, Philipp von Plato and Malte Zeeck created the site as an aid to expatriates looking to network, make business contacts and friends, as well as helping to promote the businesses of the individual members.
With the patronage of Foreign Ministers from Denmark, Hungary, Monaco and Egypt to name but a few, InterNations is clearly taken – and taking itself – seriously as an organ for the networking of expatriates across the globe.
The eighth ‘TEN Happy Hour’ was held in Rio on April 28th at Nuth Bar on the Lagoa, organised by Octavio Pitaluga of TEN (Top Executives Net), itself an MBC award winning business network, and advertised through InterNations. The gathering was informal but brought together many of the 279 members of the Rio section of their online business community for an opportunity to talk shop over a caipirinha.
As many business people who arrive in Rio will attest, relaxation and socialising is one thing, encountering useful contacts with genuine potential is another altogether, and such opportunities to network in a more traditionally European or North American atmosphere are rare.
Anthony Crosbie-Dawson of investment brokers St James International happened upon the site whilst searching for expatriate news and information on the Internet and was pleased with what he considers ‘The Facebook of business’.
As a relative newcomer to Rio de Janeiro, Crosbie-Dawson was eager to find contacts and networking possibilities with fellow young professionals looking to make a splash in what can be the fairly intimidating waters of Carioca business conventions. Looking for investors for St James’ offshore funds was not proving straightforward, but InterNations’ monthly get-together certainly helped get the ball rolling.
“It was an excellent way of meeting similar minded professionals, as well as some potential investors,” he said, recognising that it opens up ways of linking people whose paths otherwise would not necessarily cross in their day-to-day lives in the city.
Whilst the Rio arm of the networking site is not the most dynamic of the near 300-strong communities – involving a total of 100,000 members – on InterNations, the likes of Pitaluga and TEN are looking to change this and make the city’s online networking revolution increasingly active. For news on the next event at the end of May visit the website and sign up to the Rio De Janeiro group.