Within the next four years, Rio de Janeiro will be host to the Summer Olympics, the World Cup, and now after one year of negotiations, a $100 million Microsoft advanced technology center.
As first reported by Agencia Estado, the Rio center will receive support from the local government but with the investment coming solely from Microsoft. It will be located in the city’s revitalized port zone at Barão de Mauá building, a historic heritage site of the city of Rio. This marks the company’s fourth international tech center, joining others in Germany, Israel and Egypt.
The full details of the investment are listed below, but one neat thing is the opening of a business accelerator with Rio’s investment promotion agency that will support 15 startups over a two-year period. It should be a big help for Rio and Brazil — 22 percent of small enterprises born in Brazil go out of business within two years of creation.
“The success of these start-ups is critical to the competitiveness of Brazil, because they create jobs, boost growth and innovation, and many of them turn into multinational corporations,” Michel Levy, general manager of Microsoft in Brazil, said in a press release. “The establishment of this business accelerator, as well as the other initiatives announced by Microsoft this week as part of the larger Federal Government IT initiative, represent a significant investment by our company in Brazil. Our hope is to foster the exchange of knowledge amongst research teams, universities, start-ups and the Brazilian market, supporting the City of Rio’s transformation into in a great technological hub.”
The Redmond-based software giant put in $5 million to its Sao Paulo R&D center earlier this year, but this investment is on another level. The Next Web notes Microsoft announced in September 2011 that it would manufacture Xbox 360’s in Brazil to meet demand there. Today’s announcement confirms that the company is certainly trying to make a footprint in Brazil, one of the more promising tech powerhouses in the world today.
There are several other big companies investing in Brazil, including Lenovo, Foxconn, Cisco, IBM and GE. Even Amazon is looking into acquiring a Sao Paulo-based electronics and book seller.
Interesting to note that eight years ago, the Brazilian government accused Microsoft of using tactics simliar to a drug dealer and preferred an open source software like Linux for its citizens. But then in 2008, the company helped spark an initiative to expand internet cafes around the country.
Right now, there are 34 jobs listed on Microsoft’s Brazil career page. That number should grow in the coming years.
Here are the details from Microsoft on the investment:
- Establishment of a Microsoft Research Advanced Technology Laboratory (ATL) in Brazil, the fourth of its kind in the world. The ATL will combine the Brazilian capacity for technological innovation and advanced engineering with expertise in applied research provided by Microsoft and its worldwide partners.
- Creation of a center for the development of Microsoft’s search platform, Bing
- Opening of a business accelerator in conjunction with the City of Rio, through its investment promotion agency, Rio Negócios (Rio Business) to support 15 start-ups over a period of 24 months.
- Incorporation of an investment fund, Microsoft Participações, a new wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Brazil, which has just been established to invest in Brazilian start-ups.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with information from Microsoft at 1:10 p.m.