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Ten Brazilian female tech innovators you should know

As the government and private sector focus on improving Brazil's innovation ecosystem, many local women are working to foster this environment by connecting people, ideas and turning ideas into reality. We list some of the females making a difference in the Brazilian technology innovation scene.
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1 of 8 Angelica Mari/ZDNET

Candice Pascoal, founder, Kickante

Brazilian-American, Netherlands-based Candice Pascoal used a wealth of experience gained in foreign trade, arts and consulting to start crowdfunding platform Kickante in 2013. The website focuses on entrepreneurship and cultural projects, which allows project supporters to provide financing in installments, as well as partial support if the project is not entirely funded. Kickante has recently hit the headlines as Brazilian athlete and gold medallist Maurren Maggi has chosen to use the platform to crowd fund her Rio Olympics training efforts. 

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2 of 8 Leo Neves

Bruna Bittencourt, founder, Emotion.me

Marketing whizz Bruna Bittencourt built on the enjoyment of her own wedding preparations - which started out by being proposed on Twitter with a hashtag that ended up on Brazil's trending topics - to focus on projects that support other people planning their own big day. Her Rio de Janeiro-based company Emotion.me is a "one stop shop for weddings" that literally marries up a user base of over 50,000 couples who can use the platform to support the entire wedding planning process with some 3,000 wedding vendors.

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3 of 8 Natalie Gunji (cc

Lucia Freitas, journalist and founder, LuluzinhaCamp

Veteran journalist Lucia Freitas created the country's first women-only portal, LuluzinhaCamp, in 2007. Several hundred women - many of them in technology-related careers across Brazil - now form the network, which has served as a launchpad for spin-off groups such as Bruxas da TI, a group of tech female professionals who meet in Sao Paulo to discuss relevant themes to the profession, as well as several initiatives geared at driving social impact.

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4 of 8 Faculdade de Informática e Administração Paulista (cc

Bedy Yang, founder, Brazil Innovators

It is hard to find any Brazilian tech entrepreneur worth his or her salt who is not in Bedy Yang's radar. The Brazilian-Chinese networking extraordinaire, who has one foot in Brazil and another in Silicon Valley, fosters the Brazilian technology startup scene through her project BR Innovators, a network of over 3,000 tech entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders. She is also a venture partner at early-stage seed fund and incubator program 500 Startups.

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5 of 8 Angelica Mari/ZDNET

Bel Pesce, founder, FazINOVA

Bel Pesce is an MIT graduate who worked at Microsoft, Google and Deutsche Bank and either created or advised a vast array of digital money and community-based startups in the United States even before hitting age 30. Now back in her native Sao Paulo, Pesce is the driving force behind FazINOVA, an innovation and entrepreneurship school. She is also a prolific book author and one of her earlier works, "The Girl From Silicon Valley: how entrepreneurship can change lives," was downloaded over a million times in less than three months.

 

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6 of 8 Angelica Mari/ZDNET

Silvia Valadares, Microsoft Ventures head

Silvia Valadares is the Microsoft executive leading the company's startup-focused programs Bizspark and Microsoft Innovation Center in Brazil. In her current role, former technology journalist Valadares helps budding Brazilian tech entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into commercially-viable products.  

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7 of 8 Angelica Mari/ZDNET

Marcela Kashiwagi and Ana Paula Lessa, founders, Cabe Na Mala

All of us who have traveled to other countries have received requests from friends and family to bring a list of goods back. Rio de Janeiro-based Brazilian entrepreneurs Marcela Kashiwagi and Ana Paula Lessa built on that well-known practice to launch Cabe na Mala, a marketplace that connects people who want products from abroad and travelers that can bring in exchange for money. The entrepreneurs are part of the companies picked by Minas Gerais government-backed acceleration program SEED, last year.

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8 of 8 Cora Rónai

Cora Ronai, technology journalist

Cora Rónai is a pioneer of tech reporting and the author of the first ever supplement focused specifically on the subject to be published by a Brazilian broadsheet in the early 1980s. Still an industry influencer, Rónai continues to write about tech for O Globo, one of Brazil's biggest newspapers. She is also an early adopter of digital media and paved the way for blogging, mobile technology and digital photography within publishing in Brazil. Her mobile photography efforts resulted in a book, Fala Foto, the world's first ever photo book made entirely with camera phone images and shortlisted by the Prêmio Jabuti, a well-known literary award in Brazil.

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