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Big tech deals with AI companies, the ‘non-standard’ vegetable startup and what matters in the market


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Startup of the week: Different

On Mondays, the chart shows an x-ray of a startup that recently received funding.

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The startup: founded in early 2022, it is a foodtech (food startup) of organic food subscription that invests in partnership with small regional producers to “rescue” foods considered non-standard by large retail chains.

  • Different delivers boxes of food to consumers in São Paulo and cities neighboring the city of São Paulo.

In numbers: last week the company announced an extension of its seed round (understand here the stages of investment in startups) from BRL 16 million. In addition to raising R$ 24 million in March, the company received BRL 40 million.

  • It is the biggest fundraising of a seed round among Brazilian foodtechs, says Different.
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Who invested: the contribution was led by Caravela Capital and had the participation of Valor Siren Ventures, which makes its first investment in South America.

What problem does it solve? With the delivery of boxes with 20% to 50% of “non-standard” organic fruits and vegetables, the startup estimates to generate savings of 40% in the price paid by consumers and helps to reduce food waste.

  • The company’s algorithms consider customer preferences and restrictions and the recurrence of each item to assemble the baskets and guide the suppliers’ production. The products offered depend on seasonality.

Why it stands out: in addition to the company registering the highest seed funding in the last week, the R$ 40 million in an initial round draws attention, even more so given the age of the startup – less than a year.

  • At a time when big tech companies are laying off staff and cutting other costs, Different has 75 employees and expects to increase staff by 20% to 30% this year.

The week in summary

In a busy week, there were 23 rounds announced in the week, with $185 million (R$943 million) raised by startups in Latin America. Also noteworthy is the funding announced by Daki, for delivery, for $50 million (BRL 255 million).

The data was provided by the Sling Hub platform.

Brazil against the grain of the global mood

New global indicators show that Brazil is going against the grain of the main economies that have faced inflationary and structural problems in recent years.

Understand: while inflation should fall this year compared to 2022 in most countries – the IMF estimates that this should happen in 84% of nations–, market expectations for the IPCA have been rising and have already reached close to last year’s price index (5.79%).

  • This while Brazil has the highest real interest rate (nominal interest minus inflation) in the world.
  • A situation that should not change in the coming months, even more so after the last statement from the Central Bank, which made people in the market calculate that the Selic rate will only fall in 2024.

Which explains: for specialists, while the international scenario has changed for the better, indicating a more promising future, the Brazilian government still has not convinced businessmen and market agents on how it will control the expansion of spending and its public debt.

  • The result has been insecurity between companies and the market; and more pressure on inflation —in an environment aggravated by speeches by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) against high interest rates, the inflation target, BC autonomy, and fiscal responsibility.

if in theory Higher interest rates mean a more favorable environment for the entry of dollars into the country, in practice this has not been reflected so faithfully.

  • Despite the recent appreciation of the real, emerging currencies have appreciated more than ours against the dollar this year.
  • The American currency has been losing strength in 2023, while the market is betting that the Fed should continue to reduce the pace of monetary tightening.
  • In the accounts of Samuel Pessôa, economist and columnist for Sheetthe “fair price” for the dollar would be BRL 4.80but the appreciation of the real was affected by the Transition PEC and by Lula’s talk, he wrote in his column.

A sign of political influence on the exchange rate appeared last week. After the president criticized the BC’s autonomy in an interview, the dollar left BRL 5.04 from Thursday (2) to close on BRL 5.14 on Friday (3), with an increase of 2.05%, which also accompanied a strengthening of the dollar abroad.

After all, is it worth buying dollars? For those planning a trip, experts reinforce the recommendation of the average price, with purchases gradually. Exposed to many variables, the currency quote is difficult to project.

  • It is for this reason that analysts advise against buying –or selling– the dollar for those who wish to profit from speculation in the short term.

Americanas removes directors

Americanas communicated last Friday (3) that it removed the entire board that was in charge when Sergio Rial, former CEO, announced the R$ 20 billion breach in the balance sheet.

  • They were holdovers from the board prior to Rial’s tenure.
  • Only the interim CEO João Guerra, appointed after the leak was disclosed, and the financial director Camille Loyo Faria, who worked in the judicial recovery of Oi and took over on the 1st of this month, remain at the top.

No layoffs for now: Americanas also told unions on Friday that it will not promote mass layoffs or close stores until March 19, the deadline for it to present its judicial recovery plan to the TJ-RJ.

  • The retailer also communicated to the market that the Natural da Terra fruit and vegetable chain, purchased last year for R$ 2.1 billion, is not for sale. The market considers this an option for the company to reduce part of its debt of more than R$ 40 billion.

Expertise: Justice temporarily suspended the search and seizure of institutional emails from directors and directors of Americanas’ accounting and finance areas.

  • The decision argues that it is necessary to define the extent of the search and seizure, specifying the names with institutional emails to be seized.

look here how the “guardians” of the capital market failed to identify the company’s history of “accounting inconsistency”.

More about struggling companies

The Justice of Rio granted Oi protection against the freezing of assets by creditors, in a process that should culminate in the company’s second request for judicial recovery. The company has 30 days from last Friday to apply for restructuring.

Big techs target AI

Google invested US$ 300 million (R$ 1.53 billion) to have about 10% of the artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, which will use the money to buy cloud infrastructure from Google itself, according to the agreement.

  • The acquisition closed late last year, but disclosed in Alphabet’s 2022 earnings announcement.

Which explains: although at first it was a deal involving the services of the search company, the agreement shows the growing interest of big techs in AI (artificial intelligence) companies.

  • Both Anthropic and OpenAI are companies that work with generative AI, technology that creates content from commands.
  • Like OpenAI, Anthropic has developed its intelligent chatbot, called Claude, but it has not been released to the public yet.

More about artificial intelligence and ChatGPT

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