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AMAZ ends 2023 acceleration journey with face-to-face meeting in Manaus

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte

Entrepreneurs from Ekilibre, Cumbaru, Manawara, Mazô Maná and Simbiotica Finance met in Manaus in early August for the last face-to-face meeting of the 2023 acceleration journey to work on two focuses: scale and growth, as well as a diagnosis of the journey to acceleration.

The programming focused on the first focus included conversations on governance and challenges in leveraging investments in businesses in the Amazon. Participants worked on planning fundraising rounds, building individual roadmaps, reviewing and refining pitches and collective exchanges. And they had the opportunity to participate in a pitch day, presenting their businesses to investors, financiers and impact ecosystem partners.

The second focus, analysis of the acceleration journey, came as a diagnosis of what was developed from the development plan outlined with the businesses at the beginning of the journey and preparation for the next phase of the relationship with the accelerator, when these businesses will be monitored by the team responsible for monitoring the implementation and monitoring of the journey of each one of them while they are part of the portfolio.

“This workshop brought a diagnosis of the acceleration journey, but also aimed at the next steps. The presence of financiers, investors and ecosystem partners created a safe environment for validating the business strategy, on what demands still exist, what support can be given and what questions need to be asked to find better answers", analyzes Gabriela Souza, coordinator of acceleration from AMAZ.

Gabriela recalls that the business journey began while still in the selection process, with due diligence and pre-acceleration, when the AMAZ team began to understand the demands, bottlenecks and points of support they needed. Based on the investment plan, the acceleration directed support on individual fronts, with strategic advice from partners and also from Idesam and AMAZ, based on experience in previous journeys.

Mariano Cenamo, CEO of AMAZ and new business director at Idesam, highlights the development of companies throughout the program's acceleration stages and next steps:

“We are in a very interesting moment, where companies are starting to make successive rounds of attracting new investors to take a new leap in growth. This workshop that we are holding now is one of those steps, where we help to structure a growth plan and AMAZ can make an additional capital contribution aimed at leveraging new direct investments. One of the great expectations is precisely this, to be a catalytic capital that can leverage more and more capital from private and philanthropic investors or even from research and development for business growth.”

Supporters, investors and financiers attended the workshop

The last meeting of the acceleration journey was attended by Sâmera Adães, from Fundo JBS pela Amazônia, Liz Lacerda and Isabela xxx, from Fundo Vale, as well as Marcelo Forma and Ilana Minev, investors in the accelerator.

The four participated in the pitch day with the businesses, listening carefully to the presentations and suggesting adjustments, highlighting strengths and opportunities.

“For us, at Fundo JBS pela Amazônia, it is a pleasure to be part of this second round of business acceleration. For me, who followed this group back there, since the selection, it is particularly rich to see the maturity they reached and the contribution that AMAZ itself brought to this with the Theory of Change and the impact approach, and to know that they are getting ready now to receive the follow on. We are open for whatever they need and we continue to follow AMAZ”, analyzes Sâmera.

Liz Lacerda and Isabella Zicarelli, from Fundo Vale, highlight the cooperation that businesses establish with each other as one of the greatest differentials in the process of accelerating AMAZ, in addition to the environment of trust created between them, with openness and transparency.

“For Fundo Vale, created to support impact initiatives, it is very interesting to see how this resource is being invested in the acceleration program. Being part of this program generates a mattress of confidence for these businesses, of stability, a structure that is not merely an institutional support. AMAZ places itself in this place of making connections and making use of its entire history, of all the team's connections, whether here in the Amazon or throughout Brazil, to support the business. The contract that the fund has with AMAZ is one of the only ones with an extended term, so it is a real bet for the fund in this acceleration program format. We have many expectations, there are many results being delivered, and we continue to co-create this program”, defines Liz.

For Isabella, “AMAZ helps Fundo Vale with one of its main challenges, which is deciding where to place patient capital, which is catalytic, in order to leverage more impact. The accelerator is one of the long-term initiatives that we support, and it will be a very successful case at the end of the cycle”.

Entrepreneurs highlight connections and a safe environment for exchanges and construction

The recognition of the importance of the connections provided by AMAZ and its network for business growth is unanimous among the entrepreneurs, who also highlight the validation with the impact ecosystem for going through the acceleration process and integrating the accelerator's portfolio, as a kind of 'seal of trust'. In addition to financial and impact modeling and communication support.

“Cumbaru arrives at the end of the acceleration much more prepared for the next steps that lie ahead. The main values that AMAZ brings to us are the connection with investors, support in the financial modeling of our business and impact modeling. We also had support with our communication, an important point in which we needed to advance”, defines Pedro Nogueira, CEO and co-founder of Cumbaru Parcerias.

Airam Correa Marçal, partner of Mazô Maná, reinforces the importance of participating in the AMAZ network to strengthen the business: “Throughout this process there was learning, our business today is undoubtedly more prepared. The contact with other entrepreneurs also strengthened us a lot. Being with an institution like AMAZ, and with this group of investors, sort of supported the story of Mazô Maná and everything we were looking for. We are going to embark on a stronger growth journey now, improve the portfolio, ensure financial resilience, while also going on an international journey.”

Marcelo Salazar, also founder of Mazô Maná, highlights the accelerator's contribution to modeling the interface between productive forest systems with communities and payment for social and environmental services and carbon: "We had several conversations, we evolved in this strategy, we managed to close the first partnerships along these lines, and I think that was the main thing we sought in this acceleration. The selection of AMAZ also encouraged other investors and partners with whom we were already talking, and it certainly also made a difference for the last investors that we brought to Mazô. We are in the final stretch of launching our first product and we are going to really put the company on the market.”

Paula Palermo, founder of Simbiotica Finance, also points out the recognition of a business with an impact given by AMAZ as fundamental to participating in the ecosystem: “For us it is very important to be involved with the projects, to have access to resources and to that seal of quality of impact that AMAZ and Idesam bring. It is a recognition for us in this territory, and what opened the most doors.”

For Kairós Canavarro, CEO of Ekilibre Amazônia, the new opportunities brought by the accelerator in the fields of investors and markets have broadened the company's horizons. “Today I believe much more in the company, I have a much better network of contacts and I can see with more reality what I want to achieve, which is to make the company generate a lot of income in the communities, to be a reference in the national and international market. The acceleration represented for me openness, network, vision of the future and choice.”

“It was great to meet people who share the same goals, and what's better, people who are extremely qualified to do what they do, and who can be trusted. As a business, we went from five products to 25. We went from a franchise project to a point of sale already operating, six franchises already signed to start operating in the coming months and four more to be signed by the end of the year. The acceleration was a mix of a lot of learning – impact, commercial value, business growth”, says Mércio Sena, CEO of Manawara.

The different business profiles, while bringing many challenges to the acceleration journey, have demands that are connected. They operate in different markets, but face the same entrepreneurship challenges in the Amazon.

“That's why this richness of the acceleration journey is a collective stage, with many exchanges, where they manage to have a safe environment to validate strategies, potential partnerships and creative business models, which can bring a better impact result. This journey does not end here. The businesses remain in our portfolio for a few years, so that we can achieve the expected impact result and also their development as major players in this ecosystem”, concludes Gabriela Souza.

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