11 sizzling start-ups from São Paulo to watch in 2018

7 Dec 2017

Image: Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock

São Paulo is Latin America’s Silicon Valley and its broad variety of start-ups prove that.

Featuring in Deloitte’s recent index of fintech hubs, the Brazilian city of São Paulo is going through a start-up boom.

The same report said that in terms of fintech alone, Brazil has more fintech start-ups than any other country in Latin America. With the largest economy by GDP in Latin America and the southern hemisphere, São Paulo is also the largest city in the Americas and Earth’s 12th-largest city by population.

This week, Siliconrepublic.com CEO Ann O’Dea will be visiting the city to talk tech, innovation and diversity ahead of Inspirefest 2018.

So, here are the companies we think you need to watch.


Construct is a communications platform for teams working on complex construction projects. It provides all the structure and organisation for managers who need to streamline conversations in a project environment. Founded in 2014 by Drew Beaurline and Patrick Albert, Construct has raised $636,000 in funding to date.


Cuco is an app that acts as your own full-time digital doctor or nurse. Aimed at patients with chronic conditions, Cuco reminds users about important appointments and when to take their medication. Founded in 2015 by Lívia Cunha, Cuco was named start-up winner of the LIDE Future Startups 2016 award and was also chosen to represent Brazil at the eMerge Americas technology conference.


Focused on helping people to stay healthy as they grow older, the Dr.Consulta app offers affordable medical appointments and consultations with specialists in more than 40 categories. Founded by Thomaz Srougi, the company has raised $41m in funding to date.


GetNinjas is a web-based platform that helps users to hire local services by price, such as cleaning, lessons, photography and much more. It currently connects users with more than 250,000 service providers. Founded by Eduardo L’Hotellier, it has raised more than $16.7m in funding from investors that include Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures.


Aimed at enabling people to pay recurring bills such as mobile and electricity, Jeitto is a fintech platform that offers users short-term credit at fixed rates up to $150.


One of Brazil’s best-funded start-ups, Nubank is a fintech that has developed a ‘no fee’ credit card managed through a mobile app. Last year, the company raised $80m in a Series D round led by prominent VC firm DST Global, which has also backed Klarna, Slack, Twitter and Facebook. The fintech was started in 2013 by David Vélez.


QuintoAndar is an app that helps people to search, view, book and rent the property of their choice. The app firm was founded in 2013 by Gabriel Braga and Andre Penha. It has raised $20.7m in funding so far, with $12.6m raised last year in a Series B round involving Qualcomm and Acacia Capital Partners.


PlayKids offers age-appropriate videos, e-books, nursery rhymes and games for children across Latin America. Founded in 2013 by Breno Masi and Eduardo Lins Henrique, the company raised $15m in a funding round led by digital content platform player Movile.


Printi is an online printing service that offers web-based solutions to the printing industry worldwide. Founded in 2012 by Florian Hagenbuch and Mate Pencz, the company received a $25m investment from Vistaprint for a minority stake, marking the latter’s entry into the Latin American market.


Focused on supporting micro-entrepreneurs, SmartMEI offers business management, accounting and collection tools in one handy interface. In recent weeks, the company raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Canary Ventures and Accion Venture Lab.


Trocafone is an online marketplace for buying and selling used electronics such as smartphones across Latin America. This includes acquiring devices from sellers, refurbishing them and reselling them. The company has raised more than $41m so far, including a $15m round in recent weeks led by Rocketship Ventures and including MercadoLibre Fund, Lumia Capital, FJ Labs and Castor Ventures.

Updated, 2.25pm, 7 December 2017: This article was updated to clarify that GetNinjas connects users with more than 250,000 service providers, not 20,000 as originally reported.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years