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Redpoint eVentures avoids the “Helicopter VC” Approach in Brazil, Announces New Investment

24 March 2012

(TechCrunch) March 24, 2012 – Earlier this month, Redpoint Ventures and BV Capital’s eVentures announced the formation of a new, joint firm in Brazil — called, somewhat predictably, Redpoint eVentures. Managing director Yann de Vries and founding partner Anderson Thees were in the Bay Area this week, so I had a quick talk with them about their plans.

Brazil’s startup ecosystem is taking off, but until now, Thees said VC firms have fallen into two camps. On the one hand, you have small, local firms, and on the other hand, you have “helicopter VCs” who have offices in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, and make their investments from afar. Redpoint eVentures, on the other hand, has the resources of an international firm, but Thees is also “Brazilian born and raised,” and both he and de Vries are based out of Sao Paolo.

“We do have a local presence and dedicated partners, but at the same time we do bring a very integrated and a global network,” Thees said.

International firms will probably find the “high-pedigree Brazilians who studied at Stanford or [Harvard Business School] and know the lingo,” de Vries said, but Redpoint eVentures’ local connections will help it find entrepreneurs outside that circle.

He also touched on one aspect of the global strategy that I wasn’t expecting — in addition to connecting Brazilian startups with international partners and customers, the firm is also looking for ideas that it can bring back to Brazil. So if there’s a new product that seems to be taking off in China, and it seems like it would also work in Brazil, Redpoint eVentures might put together a startup to pursue the idea locally.

The firm has announced four investments — Viajanet, Grupo Xango, Shoes 4 You, and 55Social. Thees and de Vries told me they have since made a fifth investment, in yet-to-be-launched jewelry site Sophie & Juliete.