April 13, 2023 | Must Reads

Empowering Solopreneurs in Brazil: Why We Invested in Assis

Amy Cheetham

Written by

Amy Cheetham

Assis founders: Raphael Machioni, Vagner Dutra & João Bergamo

Assis is revolutionizing the way that solopreneurs in Brazil work. By giving solopreneurs the virtual assistant they’ve always needed, Assis empowers small business owners to drive more revenue, increase conversion rates and ultimately grow their businesses more efficiently. 

This is hugely important because Brazil’s workforce is made up in significant part by solopreneurs. Small businesses, including solopreneurs, drive over one third of GDP in the region. This ranges from florists to wedding planners to lawyers to photographers and beyond. This massive market today is incredibly underserved by the tools available to them today, namely Excel and Word.

A recent study from the Brazil Bureau of Statistics reported 25.5 million people in Brazil are self-employed. These solopreneurs must perform many tasks beyond their specialization, such as marketing, sales, customer support, finance, legal, etc. The accumulation of roles means they work up to 56% more weekly hours than registered employees. Furthermore, solopreneurs typically work an average of 9.3 hours daily, often including weekends. Despite this challenge, the number of people pursuing the dream of owning a business has grown by about 7% per year between 2015 and 2021.

Most solopreneurs start their businesses because they love their craft, but they don’t necessarily love following up on WhatsApp messages, hounding customers for payment, or spending all their time trying to coordinate follow-ups and schedules. These menial tasks take up a huge portion of their time and energy and take away from their ability to do what they love. 

That’s where Assis comes in. When we first met the team, we were struck by their tenacity. As they started Assis, they dedicated numerous hours to understanding their customers: CEO Raphael Machioni still moonlights as an assistant to several wedding planners and photographers to ensure he’s as close as possible to their users.  All three of the Assis co-founders have impressive backgrounds in the tech industry: Raphael previously started a company called Vee that was acquired by Swile in 2021, João Bergamo worked with Raphael at Vee and was a key part of the leadership team there, and Vagner Dutra has deep payments experience from his time at PicPay and eBanx. The trio brings a combination of business sense and deep product and payments knowledge that makes them uniquely positioned to build Assis. 

Their plan is to build freemium SaaS offerings for skilled service businesses and then monetize their fintech offerings, starting with payments and then expand into other categories, e.g. contract insurance for specific verticals. This is perfectly paired with the region’s increased solopreneur workforce. They are providing a much needed solution for a growing economic system in the market. 

We invested in Assis because we believe that the company is building solutions that will empower solopreneurs to flourish by focusing on what they do best, while having access to the critical management tools needed to grow. 


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