This article is part of a series of city guides to innovation hubs around the world. Each guide features a set of locations to help connect innovators and entrepreneurs to like-minded communities across the globe. A city local—who’s also a leader of the SingularityU Chapter in that city—has curated these destinations to get you plugged into the network in no time.
The tenth-largest city in the world and the largest in the Americas, São Paulo is a unique place. Its size, diversity, and energy outweigh its traffic and concrete jungle. Here you can spend months visiting museums, theaters, concerts, restaurants, and parks without running out of things to do. Go to Vila Madalena and immerse yourself in the street art and charm of this vibrant neighborhood. Then visit Campus São Paulo and use the Beer or Coffee app to find cafes and interesting people, or stop by Sofá Café to experience the Brazilian way of preparing coffee. Startups or multinationals, hippies or hipsters, tech or business, you’ll find it all in this city that produces 40 percent of Brazil’s patents.
Meet Your Guide
Singularity University Chapter: SingularityU Sao Paulo
Profession: Cofounder at Affero Lab, a corporate learning company that impacts more than one million Brazilians per year; PhD in Learning Psychology; Ambassador for the São Paulo SingularityU Chapter.
Your City Guide to São Paulo, Brazil
Campus São Paulo is located in a six-story building filled with work and conference space, a café and game area, and an open balcony. Entrepreneurs, tech professionals, and investors can enjoy the free WiFi, participate in workshops, and join a community of like-minded peers.
Cubo, the largest tech hub in Latin America, was founded by Itaú Unibanco in partnership with Redpoint e.ventures. It offers workspace, events, and the opportunity to be a resident.
2. Makerspace: Insper Fab Lab
Fab Lab is a makerspace and digital lab located inside the engineering campus at Insper, a college focused on business, economics, and engineering. Every Thursday Fab Lab hosts Open Day, which allows visitors to use workspaces and machines like laser cutters and 3D printers.
3. Local meetups/networks: Impact Hub
With chapters in over 90 cities worldwide, Impact Hub is an innovation network on a global scale and a community center at a local level. Members pay a small monthly fee for access to workshops, training, and event spaces.
4. Best coffee shop with free WiFi: Sofá Café
A unique and inviting coffee shop, Sofá Café is also a research center about coffee that offers courses and consulting services for small businesses and restaurants that serve coffee.
5. The startup neighborhood: Paulista Ave/Pinheiros
In a city as big as São Paulo, it is very difficult to choose just one region. But Paulista Avenue and the Pinheiros neighborhood are the best places to find startups, coworking spaces, and tech companies.
6. Well-known investor or venture capitalist: Monashees
Monashees is a people-driven Brazilian venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs working in industries as diverse as fintech, agricultural technology, and e-commerce.
7. Best way to get around: 99
99, the first Brazilian unicorn, offers a taxi service or peer-to-peer ridesharing via a mobile app. In São Paulo, taxis may use special lanes to avoid traffic at an extra cost.
8. Local must-have dish and where to get it: Pastel de Feira
With 11 Michelin-star restaurants in São Paulo, this might sound crazy, but you have to go to one of the many street markets (feira livre) and try the pastel: a savory dish made from dough folded in half, filled with cheese, meat, or assorted fillings, then fried in vegetable oil and served wonderfully crispy.
9. City’s best-kept secret: Casa do Mancha
A small house where Brazilian musician and producer Mancha Leonel promotes shows and festivals celebrating the Brazilian indie music scene.
10. Touristy must-do: Sunday at Paulista Avenue
Every Sunday, this São Paulo flagship street is closed to car traffic. Along this avenue you can visit several museums, see street musicians, ride a bike, or just wander and appreciate São Paulo’s diverse population.
11. Local volunteering opportunity: Atados
Atados is an online social platform that facilitates communication between volunteers and organizations; past volunteer projects include working with students and revitalization of a nursing home facility.
12. Local University with great resources: Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Universidade de São Paulo (USP) is the largest and most prestigious educational institute in Brazil. In addition to its 25 different colleges, University of São Paulo campus (known as Cidade Universitária) is a great place for running and cycling.
This article is for informational purposes only. All opinions in this post are the author’s alone and not those of Singularity University. Neither this article nor any of the listed information therein is an official endorsement by Singularity University.