São Paulo may not be the most beautiful city in the world, but its vibrant tech scene boasts world-class offices when it comes to cool and functional interior design.
While tech companies tend to boast nice workspace in order to attract top talent, they have an extra incentive to do so in São Paulo, where the average workday can be longer than you’d thought. As Buscapé‘s VP of Organizational Development Pompeo Scola told us while giving us a tour of the company’s offices, many employees choose to arrive early and leave late, in the hope of escaping the city’s legendary traffic jams.
As a result, several leading Brazilian startups and tech companies have come up with spaces that let workers mix work and entertainment in a relaxed atmosphere. While it would be difficult to name them all, here’s a sample list of nine offices you should check out, in alphabetical order:
Airbnb‘s office in São Paulo is one of the many regional HQs it has opened all around the world over the last few months as part of its impressive international growth, which it recently summarized through data visualization.
Located in a tall building in Brigadeiro Faria Lima Avenue, most commonly known as just Faria Lima, the office was inaugurated in April 2012, and boasts a cosy work environment with views of the city. Its main trophy is a giant ping-pong table that the team won in a global competition between all Airbnb offices.
The main offices of Brazilian e-commerce heavyweight Buscapé are located in one of the many skyscrapers of São Paulo’s most famous avenue, Avenida Paulista, where they occupy four floors of 1,000 square meters. While the group has a total of 13 offices to host its 1,100 employees, a large number of them work from this central location, which was inaugurated in 2011.
While the office organization may look like a regular open space, it is actually structured around “hives” of desks which make it natural for teams to work together on specific projects. The furniture itself is modular and can easily accomodate small impromptu meetings.
On the relaxing side, there are several small coffee corners on each floor, as well as a massage and therapy area. The 17th floor also features a large covered terrace where staff can play virtual games, but also ping-pong and baby-foot, or simply chill out in a hammock – we are in Brazil, after all.
Flag is the name of the holding that includes several ventures, including well-known digital agency CuboCC and in-house accelerator S_Kull. According to Appies’ founder Bob Wollheim, who is the new CEO of this unit, it will be a laboratory aimed at disrupting an industry that lacks innovation and out of the box thinking and business models. It will invest in internal and external ideas that deal with communications and creative strategic planning.
All entities share the same space, which has become known for its quirkiness. For instance, the meeting room is also a gallery, and the team payed a lot of attention to interior design, handpicking furniture items and art pieces to create a quite unique work environment.
While Google’s new offices on Faria Lima Avenue were only inaugurated a few weeks ago, they are already competing for a top spot among São Paulo’s coolest workplaces. As a matter of fact, the company is bringing its high standards to Brazil, while mixing them with local elements, such as hammocks.
The offices occupy a whopping 9,000 square meters, split on two and a half floors. They include a restaurant that can accommodate 200 people, as well as four micro-kitchens – in total, the company can serve up to 1,000 meals a day to its employees and guests.
Brazilian Web intelligence company Predicta has been operating for more than a decade, and joined Grupo RBS’ holding e.bricks Digital one year ago, but it still maintains a startup culture and work environment. While it recently expanded to San Francisco, most of its staff is based in its São Paulo offices.
Located in the Vila Olimpia neighborhood alongside several other tech companies, its two-floor space hosts 150 employees, which the company calls ‘Predictors.’ Each of them can personalize their desks, as Predicta insists they have to feel at home to boost creativity and productivity.
To limit stress to its minimum, the office also features a ‘decompressing room’ where the team can find gaming consoles, snacks, fruits and drinks – all free of charge. If they prefer to relax on their own, they can also choose to go read a book in the company’s library.
Kekanto is a social city guide startup that has recently raised $5.5 million from VC firm W7 Brazil Capital to finance its expansion across Latin America. The company’s main force is its community of users, known as Kekanteiros, whose culture flows through its São Paulo offices.
Like Google and Buscapé, it decided to equip it with hammocks, from where employees can also choose to work. In addition, Kekanto commissioned graffiti from local artists to decorate its walls, for instance in the yard where the team occasionally plays tennis. Sports aside, the team can also play games or even music – several workers belong to rock bands and can rehearse at work.
Plug N’ Work
As you may remember, Plug N’ Work is the cool co-working space that welcomed the first edition of TNW Brazil Startup Awards last year. Located in São Paulo’s Brooklin neighborhood, it rents hotdesks, office stations and private suites to entrepreneurs and startups, depending on the hourly, daily or monthly rate they are willing to pay.
In addition to the space itself, which boasts a winter garden and several lounges, they can benefit from co-working with similar teams, or even receive coaching and seed funding from Plug N’Work founders. Around 20 small businesses are currently part of the space’s portfolio.
Pto de Contato
Pto de Contato was part of our selection when we listed Latin America’s best co-working spaces back in 2011. At the time, it had recently opened its second branch in São Paulo’s posh Jardins neighborhood, which is known for its fashion stores and indie film circuits.
The offices include a large open space, several meeting rooms and an external terrace where co-workers can meet and exchange ideas. The branding is discrete, but present enough to leave no space for doubt: relax and work, you are at Pto de Contato.
“Startup Mansion” is the nickname of the large house that several Brazilian Internet startups have recently started to share in the Faria Lima area. Now home to nine companies, the mansion features a ping-pong table, bean bags and a large Super Mario fresco, which make for an interesting combination with its former ballroom.
The idea to rent it came from Pitzi, Printi and Emprego Ligado; due to their growth, they knew they would have move out from the offices where Baby.com.br had been welcoming them since their launch. Talking Startupi, which recently wrote an article about it, Pitzi’s CEO Daniel Hatkoff explained that the three startups will get to a combined staff of 100 over the next six months.
Image credit: Pond5 (featured); Flag; Cláudio Pepper (Google); Kekanto; Plug N’Work; Pto de Contato; Pitzi