It is no secret that the ability and willingness of successful entrepreneurs to give back and reinvest in the technology ecosystem will prove absolutely essential to the sector’s growth. With HFPX, entrepreneur and businessman Hugo Cordeiro is “paying it forward” in Brazil’s startup community.
Cordeiro is the CEO of HFPX Participações, an organization founded in 2012 to support local startups by way of strategic participation. Prior to working with HFPX, he founded and acted as the CEO of Microvix, Brazil’s biggest ERP SaaS manufacturer, which was acquired by Linx in January.
At HFPX, Cordeiro leads a team that encourages entrepreneurs to focus on the core of their businesses, that being business models, technological development, revenue generation, product refinement and more, while the organization itself takes care of secondary issues and tasks.
HFPX provides each of its startups with a small amount of seed funding, investing anywhere US$50,000 to US$2 million in every company it selects. With a focus on Brazilian startups, the enterprise currently has a fund of roughly US$10 million, which it will invest over the next two years. Beyond funding, HFPX supports startups with marketing, sales, distribution, controllership, accounting and strategic planning.
We reached out to Cordeiro to learn more about HFPX, an organization that has taken elements from venture capitalists, incubators and accelerators to create a unique program for startups in Brazil.
Emily Stewart: How was HFPX born?
Hugo Cordeiro: HFPX was an old idea. Over the years, I kept thinking about a way to help startups with my experience in the market. And after I sold Microvix, I had the time for it.
HFPX is a company based on strategic participations. We help startups with seed capital and fill in the missing competency gaps necessary for a win in the market. Sometimes, entrepreneurs don’t have the right skills for marketing, distribution, communication, press, project management, etc., so we make a new business plan together and put in the necessary funds to execute that plan.
ES: Currently, you have four startups in your portfolio. What criteria were used for the specific selection of these four?
HC: We evaluated the scalability potential these startups in the Brazilian market, as well as the entrepreneurs, human resources and product involved, in that order. We have considered the potential of innovation with them, too. Moving forward, we will seek other startups focused on the Brazilian market, web based or mobile. We have a large network in local retail as well.
ES: You founded and acted as the CEO of Microvix Software for years. Why make this change now?
HC: I founded Microvix in 1998. In 2000, we launched the first totally web-based ERP focused on the Brazilian market, specifically retail. In 2011, we had around 10,000 stores with applications and 200 employees. Last January, I received a big proposal to sell my company. I accepted and I left to the world of startups, as an investor.
ES: Do you think your case can be used as an example of reinvestment in the startup ecosystem? Why have you decided to give back?
HC: I think reinvestment is very important for the startup ecosystem. Others should invest their profits in new companies. I have decided to reinvest in startups because I can share my experiences and success story with new entrepreneurs and also help them avoid certain mistakes.