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Archive for the ‘Foreign Investment’ Category

Spring Wireless has just established its U.S. headquarters in Seattle. The company is one of the fastest growing ventures in the mobile enterprise space and was originally founded in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2001. It has operations across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Brazilian investment in the USA

Brazilian investment in the USA

“We see great potential in the U.S. market, which has traditionally lagged behind Europe and Latin America in mobility. Spring Wireless has been at the forefront of the mobile explosion in markets outside of the U.S. and we’re excited to support our global customers operations in the U.S.,” said Marcelo Condé, Chief Executive Officer of Spring Wireless. “With more than 220 customers worldwide, we understand the needs of global companies. Our move into North America will help us better serve our U.S. customers and help us extend into new markets as we continue to expand our business globally.”

In August 2008, Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Brazilian investment firm, Ideiasnet, invested $66 million in Spring Wireless to fuel its worldwide expansion and help fund future acquisitions. In connection with the financing, Spring Wireless’ Board of Directors has grown to include Raheel Zia, vice president of Goldman Sachs Principal Investment Area, and Patrick Kerins, general partner at NEA.

In addition to its new Board members, Spring Wireless has also named a U.S. management team including Shakil Haroon, who will serve as Spring Wireless USA general manager. Prior to joining Spring Wireless, Haroon spent 10 years at software startups and more than 10 years in sales and management at Intel and Microsoft.

Additionally, Liron Shaked will serve as vice president of business development and corporate marketing and Kelly Malone will serve as vice president of sales for Spring Wireless USA. With more than 12 years of international experience in both corporate and startup environments, Shaked will oversee strategic alliances, global partnerships, channel development and global marketing initiatives for Spring Wireless. Malone, who prior to joining Spring Wireless led the Microsoft sales team responsible for supporting the development, marketing and sales of Motorola smart phones, rugged hand-held computers and set-top-boxes worldwide, will head up U.S. sales.

Spring Wireless has been called the largest and fastest growing company in the mobile enterprise space and was recently identified as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant on Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms. Spring Wireless helps connect businesses, its employees and customers to the information they need, when they need it. The company offers a robust platform, prebuilt applications and critical services, enabling greater interoperability for customers than any of its competitors. It works with more than 180 devices, multiple operating systems and an array of common business applications.

As the single point of contact for its clients, Spring Wireless deploys and manages the devices, software and services companies require to go mobile, removing the need for global companies to seek out multiple vendors in different geographical areas. The company provides a complete solution with faster deployment times and lower total cost of ownership than traditional mobile providers, reducing deployment times by up to 50 percent and total cost of ownership by up to 35 percent in some cases.

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jetblueJetBlue or Azul Linhas Aereas, one of the leading low-cost carriers in the world,  started its operations in Brazil this week to enter a underexplored and potential gold mine market in South America. The airline was founded by David Neeleman (right) with $150m from American and Brazilian investors  with orders of up to $1.4 bi for 36 jetliners from Embraer (Brazilian Aviation Company).

Below is an excerpt from an article published on the Wall Street Journal by Susan Carey.

David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways Corp., launched his fourth low-cost airline — this time in Brazil — defying poor markets for aircraft financing. Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras SA started service Monday with four jetliners and plans to acquire four more by next month. It had originally planned to start operations in January but moved up its debut to capitalize on the peak holiday season.

Mr. Neeleman said frozen credit markets make this “the worst time ever to finance a plane.” But he said Azul is leasing six aircraft, all directly or indirectly from JetBlue, another Embraer operator, and managed to get financing from the Brazilian Development Bank and a German bank for a few more aircraft. “We have five more to go,” he said in a telephone interview from Salvador de Bahia. “We’ll get it worked.”

The 49-year-old airline executive, who speaks fluent Portuguese and holds both U.S. and Brazilian citizenship, is Azul’s chairman and holds a 20% equity stake and 80% voting control in the venture. A Brazilian retailing executive was recruited as president.

One target market is Brazilians who don’t travel at all, as well as those who take about 250 million trips a year on long-distance buses. As a result, Azul’s cheapest fares, purchased 21 days in advance, are similar in price to bus tickets. Its lowest one-way fare from Campinas to Salvador de Bahia is 209 reals, or roughly $87, for a two-hour flight. The bus takes 33 hours.

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ONE of the most popular laws passed by some city vereadores, members of the legislative arm of Brazil’s municipal governments, has been to make any bank queue lasting longer than 15 minutes illegal. No matter that their authority is meant to be limited to duller things, like the mayor’s budget or zoning laws. The vereadores, who along with mayors are up for election in more than 5,000 cities on October 5th, reject such constitutional leg-irons. Competition for the office is fierce—strangely so, perhaps, given that this is the lowliest political post in the land—and can be very expensive.

Transparência, an NGO, has examined the last set of races in three state capitals (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte), which took place in 2004. Of 55 vereadores elected in São Paulo, 40 declared that they had spent more than 100,000 reais (then $35,000) on their races. One candidate spent over five times that amount. In Rio de Janeiro, some campaigns were even more expensive in terms of votes gathered per real spent. Certain successful candidates in the city spent more than $15 for each vote they won. (In comparison, George Bush spent $5.60 per vote he garnered in the American presidential election that year, and John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, $5.20 for each of his.) If undeclared spending were added, the sums would be even greater.

Why is it worth spending such sums just to become a member of a municipal council? In the big cities, the mayor controls a substantial budget. In smaller ones, money from the federal government, funnelled through the municipality, is often the mainstay of the local economy.

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Direct foreign investment from South American countries in the US has been growing rapidly, particularly in IT. In spite of the current wariness of investors, foreign IT companies have made big gains in the US within the last 8 years. According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis direct investments in the sector have increased dramatically reaching 196 million dollars in 2007, from a tiny base of 3 million dollars in 2000.

Brazil is by far the largest investor, with at least five important IT vendors (Modulo, Noordek, Actminds, Politec and Stefanini) expanding rapidly in the American market. Brazil has long been a pioneer in science and technology policies, research development and investment in the IT industry. The Brazilian government has granted a variety of incentives offering tax breaks to subsidize development and boost the IT market which now translated in highly competitive transnational companies.

One of such organizations is Modulo, developer of IT Governance Risk and Compliance solutions. Since opening its offices in the United States, Modulo has achieved great success thanks to partnerships with high-profile clients across America. These include the prestigious New York University’s Medical Center – premier center for health care and research –, Delta Dental – America’s largest dental benefits carrier – and Greenstone – amongst the four most important agricultural lenders in the country.

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