Brazilian state-owned tech firm Serpro targets startups

The company set to be privatized is looking to increase revenue and attractiveness to investors by selling public data processing to technology startups like Uber.

Brazil's federal data processing service Serpro is targeting technology startups as part of a strategy to diversify revenue streams.

The company is one of the assets the government is looking to privatize. Serpro's president, Caio Paes de Andrade, was brought in by economy minister Paulo Guedes to boost its value and increase attractiveness to investors.

Serpro provides systems across all government bodies and is staffed by about 6000 employees. The massive IT estate overseen by the firm includes all the tax-related information on individuals and businesses.

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About 85 percent of Serpro's revenue comes from the government clients, with the remainder coming from the private sector. However, over the last three years, the company has seen a turnaround of its finances, partly aided by the increase in the portfolio of non-government customers.

In an interview with Reuters, Andrade said Serpro has been selling processing services of public data to startups like Uber and local digital banks, who feed the data into their analytics engines to inform decisions in areas such as fraud.

Serpro already has 1,300 private sector customers and wants to boost that number to 4,000, Andrade told Reuters. It is also planning to offer cloud computing services in partnership with firms like Google, as well as services to support compliance with Brazil's version of the General Data Protection Regulations, which will be enforced in 2020.

The government expects to raise 1.3 trillion reais ($318 billion) with the privatization of companies that include Serpro and another tech firm, the Social Security Technology and Information Company (Dataprev).

The privatization program has no specific timetable and will now see a number of feasibility studies carried out into the assets.