5 Questions with Danilo Picucci, Community Leader

Mar 24, 2022

Danilo Picucci is a business college graduate who has worked at corporations such as Nestlé, Santander, and P&G before becoming an entrepreneur and co-founding Woole, a navigation system for cyclists. In 2016, Danilo started working with ecosystem development by joining Google for Startups Campus SP; in 2019, he became the Community Manager at CUBO Itaú (the biggest innovation hub of LATAM), and had a brief experience at SebraeSP, the state innovation agency, helping to structure the startup sector. Currently, Danilo is the Ecosystem & Community Director at Brazilian Startups Association, with the goal to develop startup ecosystems all over Brazil and a focus on emerging communities.

01. How did you get involved in Techstars Startup Programs?

I was a participant in the first Urban Mobility Startup Weekend in May 2015 and the energy of the people and the positiveness of the organizers and mentors captured me. Two days after the event I applied to organize my first Startup Weekend. After that, it became a part of my life. I organized, mentored, and helped organizers at Techstars HQ in São Paulo, and did a lot of different things to see more people impacted by this program.

02. How have Techstars Startup Programs impacted your life?

It was a turning point in my life, after that I understood that I could impact thousands of people in a way I truly believed made sense. After eight years and more than 10,000 people impacted through a variety of voluntary activities, I keep receiving testimonials about life-changing opportunities that people discovered with my help. I never looked back on the choice of fostering entrepreneurship as a career and a hobby.

03. Why are you passionate about entrepreneurship?

A lot! Like, 1,000%! I've seen so many people changing their life through entrepreneurship and after that helping others and creating new opportunities for a lot of people. I see entrepreneurship as the best way to change a city and/or a community, it's about handing the power of controlling their life to them, being autonomous, and discovering that they can do almost anything with the right approach — they can solve any problem and can control their destinies. Don't be fooled, it's not an easy journey, but it's one that makes you feel alive every single day.

04. How else are you involved in your community's startup ecosystem?

I've been an active community leader since I discovered Startup Weekend in 2015. I've voluntarily led a lot of different initiatives to foster entrepreneurship in my community, some of them globally famous such as TEDx, CreativeMornings, Silicon Drinkabout, CMX Connect, and others created from scratch or changing how an old one worked. I think the most relevant is the process I created to scale Startup Weekend in my city, going from seven SWs in 2017 to 27 SWs in 2019, the world record for the same city in the same year — seems impressive, right? But the real numbers to look at here are that we were able to impact more than 2,500 people through Startup Weekend and develop 100+ new community leaders in a single year. As the Community Director of the Brazilian Startups Association, my main role is to help cities that are trying to develop startup ecosystems thrive, so my team and I work really hard to help the ones that nobody helps, and in a country the size of Brazil, it's a big challenge.

05. What's next for your community's entrepreneurship ecosystem?

I believe Brazil is on the right path to becoming one of the best places in the world to be an entrepreneur. We are already in the spotlight, the numbers don't lie; we've produced a unicorn every month for the last 18 months, and we are creating businesses that are competing globally such as Nubank, Gympass, Creditas, and others.

I think the next step is that we need to, and are going to, connect with other global ecosystems. We are starting this year to connect with LATAM startups and we are starting to see European entrepreneurs view Brazil as a good place to start.

We are one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with people that are warm and love other people. We know how to party and how to do hard work. Now that we have learned how to create global startups, it's just a matter of time for us.