Technology is increasingly present in our lives and some tools have emerged to revolutionize the way we interact in society. Today we can call a driver through the app or drive by following the best route in real time through Waze or Google Maps. You can also make reservations for our upcoming holiday travel through Booking.com or Airbnb. Nor do we need to go to the supermarket, we place the order with a single click. Never has the world been so practical and accelerated.
What do these solutions have in common? They all were designed and validated by some startup. In fact, this word has never been so high in the press. Nevertheless, few people know how to define its real meaning. According to the Brazilian Startup Association (ABStartups), any early-stage company that has a disruptive, repeatable, scalable business model working under conditions of extreme uncertainty can be considered a startup.
The term originated in the United States a few decades ago, but only became popular here from the dot-com bubble around the 2000s. Over the past few years, access to cloud computing platforms and applications of various types has much more accessible and entrepreneurs were able to create hitherto unthinkable business models. The universe of startups has since gained momentum and grown exponentially.
The agents of the startup ecosystem
In order for these start-ups to develop and gain market relevance, they will need the support of various ecosystem agents such as investors, universities, mentors, coworking, communities, accelerators, governments and the press. Each one with their specific function can make a huge difference in the path of these companies.
Accelerators, for example, help to speed up the growth of a startup by analyzing and improving the business model, expanding the contact network, mentoring, and actions to grow these companies faster. Usually they become a minority partner of the startup and can perform some initial investment. Incubators are institutions that assist in the development of start-up and operating companies. They offer physical space, technical support, management and further training to the entrepreneur and are usually associated with a university.
When we speak of “communities” in this context, it means a conglomerate of innovation companies and startups concentrated in a particular region. One of the most famous and ever mentioned is Silicon Valley, located in San Francisco, United States, and home to one of the most important global technology companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.
Here we have more than 74 communities scattered throughout the national territory and more concentrated in the south and southeast regions. We have over 12,000 startups, over 40 accelerators and 1,194 coworking. Even in the midst of the crisis the numbers reveal that the Brazilian ecosystem is evolving - growing almost 20% in the number of startups year on year. Competition is gigantic, but some solutions stand out and change entire markets.
The truth is that no matter what sector, today all companies are in a frantic search for innovation and those who do not seek updates of their products and services will be left behind. You can see a lot of ideas popping up inside top universities. Autaza, for example, was born from a 3-year research project at the Aeronautical Technology Institute (ITA), one of Brazil's most respected engineering institutions.
The startup specializes in quality inspection solutions in industry 4.0 to make the automotive industry more efficient. The new technology is an alternative to the visual inspection method used by most automakers today, which requires a trained inspector to identify and classify defects.
“Most automakers do not have an automatic quality control system and need customized solutions. We can see the needs of the automotive industry and develop the best inspection system”, says Renan Padovani, Autaza co-founder.
The company is still headquartered in the technology park, which belongs to the Parahyba Valley community, one of the most promising regions of the Brazilian startup ecosystem. Hi-tech DNA is what makes the place a big competitive differentiator. In our next article, we'll talk more about Industry 4.0 and how artificial intelligence is a path of no return.
For Autaza: Beatriz Bevilaqua, journalist and passionate about technology.