Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Rodrigo Baer was recorded in September 2019.
Rodrigo Baer, Partner at Redpoint Ventures, Brazil, provides a very interesting overview of his firm and what’s happening in the Brazilian ecosystem.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get acquainted and introduce you to our audience. Tell us a bit about your background and also about Redpoint Ventures initiative in Brazil.
Rodrigo Baer: I started my career as a founder within a large corporation. We set up a different business unit. We wound it down. After that, I spent a long time doing consulting. I figured that I loved giving people advice on their business.
I went to the States to do my MBA and then decided to come back to Brazil in 2007. I went back to consulting for a few years at McKinsey. In parallel, we set up a venture fund with friends, did a bunch of investments, and did my first mistake. I invested in a founder who wasn’t fully committed.
I went back to McKinsey while we raised our second fund, which was a very small fund. We did six investments out of that. One went on to become a $4 billion business. We had a good history, but the partners had different visions. One wanted to do corporate ventures. One wanted to do late-stage investing.
I spent about a year raising a new fund. I talked to a bunch of people in that process. I came to talk to one of the managing partners at Redpoint. It was a fun conversation. I joined and I’ve been here for six years. It’s been an awesome ride. I came in about a year after the fund was raised.
Over that six years, the first fund was $130 million that invested in 35 companies. We have two unicorns out of that and probably a few more in the making. We just raised our second fund which is a little over our target of $175 million. We have already made 12 investments out of that fund. We like the founders we are backing, but only time will tell.
In parallel, our managing partner, Anderson, took on the role to create Redpoint e.ventures in Brazil. He was asked by the founders of Redpoint not only to help create a venture capital firm in Brazil but also create a healthy ecosystem. There’s no point in being the largest or the best fund in a non-existent market.
We went on and built something fairly large. We joined forces with Brazil’s largest bank and created a co-working space meshed up with a lot of commercial development. Today, it’s the second largest hub for startups in the world. We have 127 residents in the building, which hosts 1,600 people. We have another 400 companies that are connected to us through our digital platforms.
Sramana Mitra: This is all happening in Sao Paulo?
Rodrigo Baer: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: So you are based out of Sao Paulo at this point?
Rodrigo Baer: Yes.