Tech Roundup, Dec. 6, 2019 | EdTechs eyeing up the Brazilian professional market

. Dec 06, 2019
edtechs silicon valley Photo: Wave Break Media

You’re reading The Brazilian Report‘s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the most important news on technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: edtechs eyeing up the Brazilian market, Uber gambling on scooters, Google Assistant teams up with banks and food delivery firms, robocalls continue to rise.

Silicon Valley edtechs aim to fill Brazil’s gap in professional education 

As the latest PISA results have shown,

Brazil is lagging far behind in basic education. But beyond the country&#8217;s poor scores, this lack of skills has an impact on these students later on, when they become professionals in the job market. In order to fill this gap, Silicon Valley edtechs are eyeing up the local market as a major opportunity.&nbsp;</p> <p>The California-based Singularity University attracts executives from all over the world to its technology courses and found a major audience in Brazil, enough to open up its own faculty in São Paulo, becoming the eighth Singularity location around the world. In November, they announced a partnership with the São Paulo state government to open a headquarters as part of the CITI project—a startup hub to be built where the city&#8217;s food storage center is currently located.&nbsp;</p> <p>The project will go hand-in-hand with Singularity&#8217;s other initiatives in Brazil, such as summits about finance and agro. Eyeing up Brazilian executives, they will offer an edition of Singularity’s Executive Program in Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul, as well as considering providing courses to companies. The program gathers executives to debate on the newest tech trends and improve networking over three and a half days, all using Singularity’s methods. Brazil&#8217;s edition will cost USD 7,499—cheaper than its Californian counterpart, coming in at USD 15,000.&nbsp;</p> <p>“There is no one in Brazil speaking about abundance or exponential thinking [based on disruptive technologies] like Singularity does. The nice thing about bringing [the Executive Program] to Brazil is to show the country’s and South America’s perspectives on the technologies we discuss,” said Reynald Gama, co-CEO of Singularity University in Brazil, to <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong>. He added that the first edition of the Executive Program already has 360 applicants for only 50 placed. Currently, they are also providing on-demand training for companies.&nbsp;</p> <p>Udemy—a Silicon Valley edtech that provides online professional courses for 40 million students globally—has also placed Brazil among its five main markets, according to Sergio Agudo, business director for Latin America at Udemy. This importance reflects Brazil’s<a href=""> booming EdTech scene</a>, with more than 400 companies, making it one of the most promising in the world. </p> <p>“In developed countries, basic education is very good and it is easier to find professional training. In Brazil there’s a larger gap and people are trying to make up for that. That’s why we are here and the number of edtechs is one the biggest in the industry. Besides, Brazilians are early adopters. They like to connect, to test apps,” he told <strong>The Brazilian Report.</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>Udemy does not reveal data about the number of students in courses offered in Brazil, but Mr. Agudo says the classes most in-demand are tech-related, such as apps and website development, machine learning and data science. Soft skills such as increasing productivity and leadership are also rising in Brazilians&#8217; preference.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Agudo also sees further room for growth through local partnerships. Since July, Udemy started to offer a subscription-based model for companies, in which they pay for licenses so that their employees can have access to Udemy’s courses. Another business opportunity involves partnering up with colleges. Currently, Udemy has a deal with Estácio college, allowing its students to access Udemy’s courses to earn extra-curricular credit.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Uber hits Brazilian scooter-sharing market</h2> <p>Uber announced its first foray into <a href="">Brazil’s scooter market</a> by debuting its services in the coastal city of Santos, São Paulo. According to the company, the location was chosen due to its good cycling infrastructure and openness to innovation.&nbsp;</p> <p>In an unexpected move, the transportation company decided to stick to its Uber brand instead of launching Jump—its scooter division—in Brazil. While Uber has not explained the decision, it is aligned with its plan of gathering all of its transport options into one app. Also, Uber is such a well-known brand in the Brazilian transportation apps market, which can be an advantage in its race with competitors Grow, Lime, and Scoot.&nbsp;</p> <p>To establish itself in the segment, Uber will gamble on lower prices. To ride an Uber scooter, Santos residents will pay BRL 1.50 to unlock the device, plus BRL 0.75 per minute—cheaper than the BRL 3.00 + BRL 0.50 per minute charged by Grow and Lime.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>“Ok, Google”: Brazilians now able to make bank transfers and order food through Google Assistant</h2> <p>Google has announced a partnership with banks Nubank and Banco do Brasil, food delivery app iFood, and delivery company Rappi to allow Brazilian users to perform bank transfers, pay bills and order food with Google Assistant. In a <a href="">blog post</a>, Google has announced it intends to “reach new partners with this open technology for voice-interaction”, but has not provided any deadlines or potential prospects.&nbsp; <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Robocalls keep rising in Brazil, despite control measures</h2> <p>Robocalls grew 21 percent in Brazil from January to October 2019, making the country a global leader in phone spam despite measures to curb the practice, according to a new report by call monitoring app Truecaller. Brazil is also ranked fourth when it comes to SMS spam.</p> <p>On average, each Brazilian receives 45.6 robocalls per month, and 48 percent come from telecom operators offering discounts or new plans. The data shows that this kind of practice by telecom companies increased 16 percentage points in comparison to the same period of 2018, in spite of measures such as <a href=""><em>Não Me Perturbe</em></a> (&#8220;Do Not Disturb,&#8221; in English), launched in July by Brazilian telecom watchdog Anatel and the largest phone companies in the country.</p> <p>But they are not alone in this kind of aggressive marketing. Banks and telemarketing operators comprise 13 percent of robocalls each. Earlier this year, banks announced a website similar to <em>Não Me Perturbe</em>, but only for payroll loans.</p> <p>More than just discomfort, this phone spam harms Brazilians’ safety. The report shows that phone scams increased from 1 to 26 percent of all phone calls in Brazil in only two years.</p> <p>Truecaller analyzed 116 billion phone calls and 8.6 billion SMS texts between January and October 2019.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <p><strong><em>Correction: </em></strong><em>A previous version of this text wrongly called Sérgio Agudo Udemy’s Country Manager in Brazil. His position is &#8220;business director for Latin America.&#8221; This piece of information has been corrected. </em>

Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Most recently, she worked as an Editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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