High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Highlight from Brazil Trek: Three entrepreneurs discuss finding a market gap

Over the course of three days, Endeavor held its inaugural Investor Network event, the Brazil Trek, gathering Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurs, U.S. venture investors, and other key members of the entrepreneurship ecosystem that make Brazil such a thriving emerging market. The Endeavor Brazil Trek event was geared towards making meaningful introductions and initiating communication between entrepreneurs and investors.

One of the most memorable panels at Brazil Trek was moderated by Anderson Thees. Anderson is CEO of Apontador, a leading geolocation company in Brazil. Three other successful internet entrepreneurs spoke on the panel: Romero Rodrigues of Buscapé, Daniel Heise of Grupo Direct and Endeavor Entrepreneur Daniel Wjuniski of Minha Vida.

I’m always interested in how high-impact enterprises get started, so I was especially intrigued when Anderson, himself a computer engineer and former investor, noted that all three entrepreneurs started their businesses as a personal choice by identifying a need in the market, rather than out of their own need:

While attending university, Romero Rodrigues tried searching online to buy a printer. Unable to find any prices listed online, he turned his frustration into opportunity and started his own business. He found out that no stores wanted to feature their prices in order to avoid competition. Using his engineering skills, he and his friends built their own software to test the market. Buscapé was born, a shopping comparison site which allows consumers to compare prices and products. Today Buscapé covers more than 15 million items across 40 categories in 60,000 stores.

Tired of working in the financial industry, Daniel Heise sought a new direction. He joined his partner, an engineer, to build Grupo Direct. They recognized that as customers, they had trouble communicating with telecom companies, and identified a need for clearer service and communication in the market. Combining skills, they founded their business to help companies build stronger relationships with customers and understand customer behavior.

Daniel Wjuniski from Minha Vida also had personal motivations to start his business. Looking to drop some pounds, he searched the internet for information but came up empty. Leaving Johnson & Johnson, Daniel started an online portal for health and wellness, and was selected by Endeavor in 2009 along with partner Fernando Ortenblad.

Of course, in all three examples, what’s impressive most isn’t how they started out but what they’ve become. In listening to the panel, I was reminded of a quote adapted from Wilbur Ross: “A brilliant idea will only be successful if is brilliantly executed.”

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