The specifics about the funding amount are not being disclosed (Brazilian startups are often cagey about financial numbers) but we have confirmed that this round is a Series B and brings its total amount invested in 55Social to more than $10 million. Redpoint e.ventures is a joint venture made between two Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms (obviously, Redpoint and e.ventures) focused entirely on Brazilian startups.
55Social’s CEO Emilio Maciel founded the company in July 2011 after leaving his job at Groupon, where he co-founded Groupon Brazil and Groupon China. In an interview this week, he said that he started 55Social because of the increasing participation of Brazilians in social media sites. “Right now Brazil is Facebook’s second biggest country for users and engagement, and in a lot of statistics Brazil ranks first in terms of social media participation. So we saw an excellent opportunity for us to deliver the right tools for brands to market to all these people.”The most well-known players in the social media marketing space are US-based companies such as Buddy Media, Wildfire Interactive, and Virtue, all three of which have recently been acquired by larger corporations in sizable deals (Buddy Media sold to Salesforce for $689 million, Vitrue sold to Oracle for $300 million, and most recently Wildfire sold to Google for some $400 million.)
So while these existing companies clearly have valuable technology, Maciel says that 55Social, which already has 150 clients, is working to be Brazil’s homegrown solution.
“There are things that marketers in Brazil do differently, so when we created our product we took that into account. We have some creative ways in our design style that speak to Brazilian people. Also, in business here there is a big component of relationships. Being in Brazil, speaking Portugese — I dare say you have to be Brazilian [to capture the market].”
55Social currently has 40 employees in Brazil and an additional 30-person development team in Argentina. The new funding will be used to expand its team and product offerings. Maciel said that while eventually the company plans to expand to other South American countries, for now it is focusing on its homeland. “Brazil is so big, and there is such a big opportunity here, that we need to make sure that we are definitely number one here by far. Then we are going to see about other countries.”