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Miami players heat up Brazil tech conference

By Pabla Ayala

PablaphotoThe Next Web’s Latin American Conference, held in Sao Paulo Aug. 22-23, brought together tech industry keynote speakers such as Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, Nicolas Szekazy, co-founder of Kaszek Ventures, and Miami’s own Demian Bellumio, COO of Senzari, as well as an action packed Startup Battle featuring startups from Latin America’s best accelerators delivering their pitches to a panel of expert judges.

Keynote speaker Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, who took on the topic of big data and the popularity of cloud computing, cloud storage and increasing broadband penetration, stole the show. “Big data now drives real-time decision making,” Vogels told the packed room of listeners taking notes, tweeting and snapping pictures. His engaging delivery reinforced the message that the necessary technology is here, enabling companies to collect vast amounts of data, and as a business you must learn to harness all this information to learn and listen to your customers. "Big data is more than just analytics," he went on to say. “Your data is only as good as its content, and you must exercise data quality control; control data, correct data, validate data.”

Among the 114 applications, 20 of the best startups from 21212, AceleradoraAnjos do Brasil, Campinas StartupsDreamIt VenturesFounder InstituteNXTP Labs, Polo MarteStart-Up
, Startup Farm and Wayra were chosen for the Battle. There was a definite trend among the competing startups when it came to open source software, location-based programming and
educational apps.

Some of the crowd favorites were:

* Argentina’s WormHole IT, who won the CP Capital Inflection Venture Prize at the 2011 FIU’s Americas Venture Capital Conference, is a web conferencing platform allowing businesses to conduct meetings and training sessions.

* Peru’s WorldRat is a crowd-sourced travel guide giving users insight to a local’s point-of-view to explore the world. Some guides are as broad as ‘Architecture in Europe’ to ‘Surviving a
Hangover New Orleans Style’.

* Kinetik  gives you personal app recommendations from your friends, peers, and the  press so you’ll never have to search and browse over 600.000 apps again.

Drumroll please…

The panel of judges was so torn at the end of this Battle that they could not agree on a clear winner. The only thing they were unanimous on was letting a coin toss decide the winner. The coin chose Argentina’s Workana as the winner. Workana, backed by Miami-based angel investor Marco Giberti, connects Latin American freelancers with companies looking for temp staff to execute remote projects. This service offers freelancers a platform to easily and more effectively manage their
workflow, admin and accounting work.

Peru’s Papaya took home the second place in the Startup Battle and caught the attention of judge Juan Pablo Cappello from Miami, co-founder of Idea.me and an attorney. Papaya offers a solution to movie theatres for online and mobile ticket sales, revenue management system and an advertising platform for movie studios and distributors. He noted that in Latin America’s unruly queues, Papaya could be quite convenient!

Chile took home the third place for AgentPiggy, winner of the Startup of the Year award at TNW Chile
Startup Awards. It is a fun and easy to use educational platform for kids ages 5-15 to learn financial literacy. Parents set up chores or “challenges” on AgentPiggy’s platform with a dollar amount available to the child once the chore has been completed. AgentPiggy then teaches them about their financial options, like how to save or even donate their earnings.

In the end TNW’s Latin American Conference proved to be a great platform to see what the region’s best have to offer, get insight into the regional market trends and witness the immense talent and innovation it has to offer. If you missed TNW LatAm, don’t miss the LatAm Invasion of Silicon Valley Demo Day at Dave McClure’s 500 Startups headquarters Sept. 6, 2012 featuring the best startups
from Brazil’s leading accelerator 21212 and Argentina-based NXTP Labs, the only Tech Stars affiliated accelerator in Latin America.

Pabla Ayala is Media Whisperer at CVOX Group and producer of Geeky Beach

Watch Geeky Beach's videos and see blog posts from The Next Web conference here