Rio de Janeiro gets a digital map to represent its lively startup community

Rio de Janeiro gets a digital map to represent its lively startup community

Rio de Janeiro now has its digital map to promote its tech scene, the city鈥檚 promotion agency Rio Neg贸cios announced today on stage during 21212 Demo Day, which TNW is attending. Available in beta at聽rio-digital.com, it is also open to contributions and sign-ups from local startups.

At the moment, it consists of a map provided by Esri鈥榮 official distributor in Brazil, Imagem, on top of which several layers represent Rio鈥檚 startup ecosystem 鈥 companies of course, but also investors, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces.

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Rio Neg贸cios聽is obviously aware that Rio isn鈥檛 the first large city to get such a map, and its initiative was inspired by other metropoles such as Los Angeles and New York. The Big Apple鈥檚 project is probably the most similar to Rio鈥檚, as it is also promoted by the city鈥檚 local authorities; as you may remember, it was officially announced by Mayor Bloomberg last May.

Since then, other crowdsourced, non-official maps have emerged in other tech hubs, such as Israel聽and in Brazil鈥檚 so-called 鈥San Pedro Valley,鈥 near Belo Horizonte (see our previous article).

If startupers and authorities all around the world have invested time and effort into those maps, it鈥檚 because that they are confident that they can make a difference by giving visibility to a tech scene:

鈥淭he digital map is a crucial tool to stimulate this sector in Rio,鈥 says Rio Neg贸cios鈥櫬燛xecutive Director聽Marcelo Haddad, who will also聽be opening聽Entrepreneur Week Brazil聽next Monday. 鈥淭hrough this map, we will have a global view of its ecosystem, and we will be able to help this community become stronger. Over the last few years, the city received a large part of the startup-related deals that happened in Brazil, and it has the potential to become Latin America鈥檚 largest tech hub.鈥

While there are many candidates to this role, there is no doubt that Rio de Janeiro鈥檚 is already one of Latin America鈥檚 main tech hubs. As you can see on the map, it is now home to a growing number of accelerators, investors, startups and co-working spaces.

More importantly, the city seems keen to support its existing ecosystem and attract new investments. Inspired by Rachel Sterne Haot鈥榮 role in New York, Rio鈥檚 town hall already has its CTO, Pedro Peracio, with whom we visited Rio鈥檚 impressive data-powered Operations Center in 2011.

As for the agency Rio聽Neg贸cios, it recently published a聽document聽highlighting Rio鈥檚 assets as a tech hub:

鈥 Access to skills

  • 4 of the top 9 Brazilian universities are based in Rio (in courses of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, IT and Business)
  • Rio universities provide significantly more grade 4/5 courses than any other Brazilian city (in courses of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, IT and Business)

鈥 Innovation hubs

  • Rio has more tech parks than anywhere else in Brazil
  • Other R&D hubs for Telecoms, Energy & Health; Media & Entertainment and Innovation and Math
  • Close to USD 1.4 bn private investment has gone in to these hubs since 2010

鈥 Business incubators

  • Rio has 22 incubators that have graduated 182 companies

鈥 Access to funding

  • Through pension funds, asset managers and PE managers startups in Rio have access to more than USD 400 bn
  • The world鈥檚 biggest venture capital funds have a presence in Rio 鈥 Redpoint Ventures and Accell Partners have both established themselves recently
  • Rio has been awarded investment grade from the 3 main rating global agencies

鈥 Connected city

  • 2 seaports, 3 commercial airports
  • 259 weekly direct international flights

While there is obviously space for improvement, there鈥檚 no doubt that foreign companies will be prepared to consider this opportunity 鈥 and Rio聽Neg贸cios鈥 results prove it. Since its launch in May 2010, it聽boasts that it has already attracted around US$1.5 billion investments (R$3b) to the city.聽As we reported, Cisco recently announced that it would聽invest $570 million in Brazil聽鈥 and its聽center of innovation will be based in Rio de Janeiro.

鉃ぢDigital@Rio

Image credit: Pond5

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