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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2022

FCJ Venture Builder Connects Companies, Startups, Investors, and Universities through the Creation of New Innovative Businesses

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The story of FCJ Venture Builder began when Paulo Justino’s family business failed. Paulo then entered a truck driving business in a large Brazilian group. He rose from the rank of a driver to working at the data processing center within a year. As time went by, he re-planned his career and started thinking about how he could help people not go through what he went through when he started. Besides having this on his mind, something else bothered him a lot: the fact that when he reached 50, nobody would hire a commercial director. “And that’s how the idea of creating FCJ Venture Builder came to life,” said Paulo Justino, Founder and CEO of FCJ Venture Builder.

Established in 2013, FCJ Venture Builder is a multinational pioneer in Venture Building in Brazil, starting its work in 2013. Since 2018 it has been licensing its Venture Builder and Corporate Venture Builder model in B2C, B2B, and B2G models.

We interviewed Paulo Justino to know more about the company. In the interview, Paulo talked about how FCJ Venture Builder makes the venture capital process straightforward for its investors and more. Read on for excerpts from the interview.

Q. Trust is one of the most important currencies of leadership that requires authenticity and consistency to maintain. What’s your take on this?

Trust and credibility are essential factors for good leadership. After all, to lead is to transform other people into leaders. Precisely for this reason, transparency is part of the leadership profile that we seek to establish in the FCJ group. It is one of the main core principles of our way of conducting business.

We are in a high-risk market, which means that everyone involved needs to be committed and where transparency is essential. How do we guarantee the commitment, the trust, of more than 500 investors, over 100 startups, and 300+ employees? Through transparency.

Q. Where does FCJ Venture Builder stand at the moment relative to other participants in the industry?

At the moment, we seek to strengthen ourselves as a global network, a larger ecosystem. We do not see ourselves in an environment of competition, but rather of complementarity with other agents of the innovation ecosystem, such as incubators, accelerators, venture capital funds, and angel investor groups.

In practice, we break paradigms and build new ones. An example of this is that FCJ startups participate in several acceleration programs and have direct relationships with venture capital funds and angel investor groups, which seek to co-invest in the startups in our portfolio.

We were the first to bring the venture builder model to Brazil, when no one knew about it. Many said it wouldn’t work, investors would not invest, and startups would not give equity without investment, but here we are today, with over 100 startups in our portfolio, and more than 500 investors.

Speaking specifically of Brazil, we adapted the venture building model according to the market’s main pains and created “venture building 4.0”. In this model, we unite companies and other organizations with startups capable of supplying the demands of these companies, which automatically generates a return, direct or indirect, for society. In our portfolio, we have startups that operate in the most diverse segments, such as health, education, retail, agribusiness, industry, government, and countless others.

Through this collaboration between established companies and startups, we can help these organizations develop new methods, processes, products, services, and even new companies, business models.

Q. How does FCJ Venture Builder make the venture capital process straightforward for its investors?

At FCJ, we have some fronts to make the investment, besides making it simpler, also the most efficient possible. One of them is the Angel Investor Journey, which is a course that combines theory and practice and aims to disseminate angel investment. In the course modules, we deal with several aspects related to investing in startups and preparing practices for the future investor to understand the dynamics, the risks, and the opportunities of this business.

In addition, we also have our own angel investment network, the FCJ Angels Network, which seeks to strengthen ties between investors and startup founders, and to move the angel investor ecosystem.

We also have a digital portfolio management platform. Shareholders show investors relevant data on the startup’s KPIs, such as valuation, revenues, funding, the startup’s stage, etc. On the platform, investors can track, in real-time, data from all the startups they invest in a strategic and efficient way.

Abundance is a strong and important characteristic in FCJ. We truly believe that we are able to create an environment where everyone wins. Sure, having results is important but if our team doesn’t feel that it is part of something bigger, we are not doing it right. So to really generate abundance, we offer investment opportunities to all our employees. Through our stock option plan, they can become investors in any CVB they wish to be part of, for a much lower and affordable price. In the end, everyone wins.

Q. How do you create independent innovation environments?

We create independent innovation environments by partnering with leading companies to create a Corporate Venture Builder, an independent innovation vehicle from the Corporate. Through this independent venture, we bring together the Corporate with a pool of investors, to co-build innovative solutions with startups and universities.

Each part is essentially important. The Corporate partner is the core and first part of the structure –which the CVB is created for. The second part involves the ‘investors’, who are the ones who fund the operation of the CVB. And it is important to mention that - most - if not all, investors come from the Corporate partner; they are executives, employees, vendors, etc. The third part is the portfolio selection, where we scout and select startups in accordance with a pre-defined thesis with the Corporate partner.

In our model, we are all co-founders, a win-win partnership for all parts. In addition, our model has shown the ability to get the strength of engagement from the corporations and their staff along with the ability to bring-in additional equity investment.

Q. What are your other focus areas?

In order to be successful in what we do, we need complementary areas, right? So we format angel investor groups. We have a crowdfunding platform, an investment fund of our own, called FCJ Capital, and an internationalization and softlanding program, which are complementary to our CVB model and aims to further develop the startups.

We are also focusing on the Corporate Venture Spin-Off, which for us is a branch of the Corporate Venture Builder model. The goal is to transform internal projects of large corporations into a startup model through the creation of a new company (spin-off).

Q. No doubt FCJ Venture Builder is charting new territories in its segment. Given how frequently circumstances change, what plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

In 2021, we began international expansion with an initial focus on the Americas and Europe. We already have offices opened in the USA, Portugal, Mexico, and Finland, to locally take the CVB model, already validated in Brazil, to these countries. Two other major expansion opportunities are in Bolivia and Colombia. Our goal in internationalization is to take the CVB model globally. Surely, this is something extremely significant for the future of FCJ.

This year we are also working to expand with new products, such as the Corporate Venture Spin-Off. This is to remain relevant in the market, both now and in the future. We will need to create favorable environments with medium and large companies, bringing them together with other parts of the ecosystem, such as universities, investors and startups, to create innovative solutions.

About the Leader

Paulo Justino, Founder and CEO

Paulo is an investor and mentor for many startups. He has 36 years of experience in the technology area. He has worked as a CIO in large corporations and as a commercial director for 15 years. He has degrees in Business Administration and Marketing.

“We truly believe that we are able to create an environment where everyone wins.”