VTEX, Mercado Livre and Google
This has been an eventful week for Biassa. Besides attending VtexDay 2017, we have had the opportunity to meet quite a few companies during the week.
The day after VtexDay in São Paulo, we flew to Rio de Janeiro to visit Vtex office in Rio, along with a few other visitors from other countries. We were greeted by Alexandre Soncini at the reception, who took charge of showing us around. Their office, as you can imagine, is located on the first floor of a very nice building downtown, just by Botafogo beach, with a wonderful view to the most iconic points of interest in town. From their office it is possible to see the ski lift going across the hill of Pão de Açúcar and Christ The Redeemer statue on the other side.
Soncini and his young team showed us the facilities and the “master control panel” from where everyone in the office can check the status of the platform. Things like server status and api calls but also number of active users, number of sales by country and a map pinpointing the location of sales in real time. Something truly amazing and unheard of!
The next day, already back in São Paulo, Carlos and I went to Osasco, to a building called Melicidade, the headquarter for the largest online marketplace in Latin America, Mercado Livre, and the number one payment solution online, Mercado Pago.
Originally from Argentina, Mercado Livre is more than a simple online marketplace. It developed into multiple platforms offering eCommerce solutions to attend the demand of all kinds of merchants. There are Mercado Shops, Mercado Envios (logistics), Mercado Backoffice (CMS) and Mercado Pago, to name a few. Mercado Pago offers multiple payment solutions and is considered a leader among Brazilian Fintechs.
We were greeted by Diego Muñoz, Commercial Planning & e-Builders Manager at MercadoPago. He took us around to see the place.
Melicidade was inaugurated in 2016, it’s over 33.000 square meter in area, hosts a conference room for around 200 people, over 140 meeting rooms, 11 training session rooms, a restaurant with multiple choices of meals, a gym and social seating spaces everywhere. The folks at Cortex Lab, don’t get me wrong, we love there. But the sight of Mercado Livre’s headquarters is imposing, leaving it clear we are in the realm of giants!
More people from Diego’s team joined us for lunch and we had a very pleasant time talking about our experience of doing business in Europe. After lunch, a quick coffee break before we get down to business. Of course, I’m unable to disclose any details of the conversation. Be certain though, that if anything concrete comes out of this meeting, we will be publishing here.
We may never have had the chance to set our foot into Google’s headquarters in California, but we did get to see their office here in Brazil. We drove down to Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, the newest business cluster in the city of São Paulo. Much of all trendy tech companies in Brazil have an office on this street.
Google occupies 4 floors of a very fancy and high guarded building. There are security locks on every door, only accessible to the staff. We were asked to not take pictures or film inside. I’m afraid the only photograph we could take was the one below.
Pepo, our host was very nice to us and took us on a tour to check all the facilities. Needless to say we were impressed by it. He told us about how much Google trust their employees, giving them the freedom to implement things within the company. “You are trusted in full until you prove otherwise”, said Pepo.
Collaborative economy is the new hype within the tech industry, with dozens of companies betting on this business model, and the purpose of our visit was actually to discover a bit more about Google’s Waze. Waze offers a platform where drivers can share information about traffic and road conditions, price comparison between the various gas stations, best route alternatives and locations. The difference between Waze and Google Maps, is that Waze is 100% user input. It’s drivers helping other drivers to outsmart traffic and save 5 minutes on their journey.
The company is original from Israel, with offices in New York and São Paulo. Waze’s community is huge: there are about 10 million active users in Brazil alone! To attest the veracity of this information, pretty much every single Uber driver we met here was using Waze to find the best route. In a traffic intense city like São Paulo, this app can be a tremendous time saver.
In Denmark, at least 70% of the population owns a car. I left Google’s office puzzled by the fact Waze is not popular in Denmark yet. I’m certain that regular commuters to Copenhagen could benefit from such technology.