What did you miss at Web Summit Rio Opening Night?

Gordon Hunt's avatar
Gordon Hunt
A person (TV star Luciano Huck) in front of a large sign that reads 'Web Summit Rio' and features the Web Summit Rio logo. The person is holding a microphone in their right hand and is gesturing with their left hand. They appear to be speaking.

Opening Night has wrapped at Web Summit Rio 2023. What were the highlights?

Web Summit Rio kicked off with a splash tonight in Rio de Janeiro’s Riocentro. A host of startups and speakers, including Web Summit founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave, took to the stage to give attendees a taste of what’s to come over the next three days.

Here’s (some of) what you missed.

Environmental concerns from Luciano Huck

A much-loved Brazilian TV star, Luciano Huck is perhaps best known for hosting the popular TV shows Caldeirão do Huck [Huck’s Cauldron] and Domingão com Huck [Big Sunday with Huck]. But Luciano has shifted away from hosting TV shows and towards protecting Brazil’s incredible environmental ecosystems.

At Riocentro, Luciano discussed a new documentary about people living in the Amazon rainforest, and how a big media personality could be a “transformation tool that can talk to 40 million Brazilians every week”.

“We are in a country that was born with the idea that wealth would come with the destruction of nature. I truly believe that our maturity will come from the diametrically opposed mentality.”

Opening a company in less than a minute

Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, discussed the profound effect that Web Summit Rio will have on the city.

Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, on Center Stage during the opening night of Web Summit Rio 2023 at RiocentroImage: Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes on Center Stage during Opening Night of Web Summit Rio 2023: Sam Barnes/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

“It’s different from every other major event because of its capacity for major transformation,” Eduardo said, adding that there was a strategy in place – founded on the pillars of ‘attract, facilitate and qualify’ – for “transforming Rio de Janeiro into the capital of innovation in Latin America”.

The mayor is currently serving a third term in office, having served two consecutive terms between 2009 and 2016.

A new consciousness has taken over the globe

In what is her third appearance at a Web Summit event, Black Lives Matter’s Ayọ Tometi explored how the social movement she helped to found has changed how people think about the voices pushed to the margins of society.

“We’re living in a time in which democracies are under attack all over the world,” said Ayọ, adding that taking action to protect the civil rights of everyone isn’t just critical for the present, but also for the future: “We can be found on the right side of history or the wrong side of history.”

Ayọ Tometi, Black Lives Matter, on Center Stage during the opening night of Web Summit Rio 2023 at RiocentroImage: Black Lives Matter co-founder Ayọ Tometi on Center Stage during Web Summit 2023 Opening Night: Sam Barnes/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

The key to success? Be obsessed with the consumer and your product

Nubank founder and CEO David Vélez spoke about Latin America’s largest fintech bank. The Colombian entrepreneur originally founded the company in Brazil despite warnings about competition with the country’s big financial institutions.

David explained that when Nubank started out, just five banks controlled 85 percent of the financial services sector in Brazil. This figure has shrunk to 70 percent in just a decade.

The secret to Nubank’s success? “We wanted to create a company that was obsessed with the consumer, and obsessed with building a phenomenal product,” said David.

Day 1 of Web Summit Rio kicks off tomorrow! Follow all the action across our social channels using the #WebSummitRio hashtag: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Main image of Luciano Huck on Center Stage during Opening Night of Web Summit Rio 2023: Sam Barnes/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)


Here’s what you missed at Collision 2024

Take a look at some of the highlights from our last event in Toronto as we begin our new journey: Web Su...

June 20
Photo of Center Stage at Web Summit Rio 2024.

Join us next year for Web Summit Rio 2025

That’s a wrap for Web Summit Rio 2024. Meet you next year at Rio...

April 18