Continuing our series of weekly summaries of news in English, here are some highlights on some topics from last week:

Last week saw a large e-commerce conference, the Congresso E-Commerce Brasil Search & Vendas (Search & Sales). One featured business was NeoAssist, which is tool for expanding customer support via Facebook and other social media platforms. It can, for example, provide automated answers to frequently asked questions on the Facebook Fan Page, and can forward the customer to a human attendant for live chat support if needed. NeoAssist also tracks brand mentions on Twitter, alerting appropriate employees so they can follow up internally or directly with the customer. More info on the E-Commerce conferences here. See full post in Portuguese.

Classifieds site MercadoLivre continues to grow, revealing some interesting numbers for the Latin American market. They have 65.8 million registered users and sales were up 37.1% in 2011, at US$299 million. Fixed price items now make up 97% of sales, with auction type sales falling out of favor. And most products being sold (80%) are now new, not used. MercadoLivre operates throughout Latin America and in Portugal.

Full post in Portuguese.

Relatively new angel group Anjos do Brasil gave a talk in Brasilia last week aimed at educating entrepreneurs and announcing a new “nucleus” in that city. The nucleus will be run by Carlos Augusto Ferraz from Polaris Investimentos. Anjos do Brazil was founded by Cassio Spina in July 2011. They recently issued a book called Investidor Ango: Guia práctico para empreendedores e investidores (Angel investor: A practical guide for entrepreneurs and investors).

Read the full post in Portuguese.

-Email marketing company Virtual Target has been picked by agency I9Brasil to run the campaigns for women’s clothing firm Farm. The campaign, with the tagline “I want Farm!” is designed to extend the brand’s reach online. i9Brasil partner Patricia Barizon said that the metrics features of the system made it the top choice. Virtual Target is owned by VIRID, part of the Experian group.

Read the full post in Portuguese.

-Another link between Latin American and Silicon Valley is in the works: Berkeley MBA student Diego Echecopar and some colleagues have formed SiliconValley Links, which will organize business trips for investors interested in expanding their horizons. The first event will be April 30-May 4: the immersion program will bring Latin American angel investors to California to meet with angels and VCs in Silicon Valley.

-Singularity University’s Vivek Wadhwa gave a course in São Paulo last week in which he discussed new technologies and the important issues the world faces. The event was organized by FIAP and Microsoft Brasil.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Callix, which offers cloud-based call center services, is anticipating earnings of R$30 million in 2012. Founded in 2011, Callix has been successful with a variety of telephony products, including call center management and analytics tools.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Empreendedor 2012, the University of São Paulo’s annual event for college students interested in entrepreneurship, will be held March 27-28. Talks and workshops will center on encouraging the development of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge in the participants. Members of Endeavor, CIETEC and Anjos do Brasil (among others) will be participating in the presentations. Visit their site: www.empreendedor2012.com for more information.

-A recent study puts Brazil near the bottom in terms of email marketing delivery issues. The global study of email delivery included analysis of data from Brazil. According to the study 22.4% of email in Brazil ends up in the spam folder, and 13.1% gets blocked at the ISP level, ranking Brazil low on the list in terms of email delivery rates. This provides challenges for companies using email marketing, but also provides a major opportunity for improvement, said Louis Bucciarelli, General Director in Brazil of Return Path, which did the study. Emails in the games and healthcare segments were least-delivered. The “Global Email Deliverability Report” is available in English on Return Path’s website.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Brazilian startup Ubee has been selected to participate in the E-Bootcamp accelerator program at Stanford in April. Their trip is being sponsored by Intel’s education program in Brazil. Ubee is a mobile app that helps consumers find products while helping retailers gain new customers and analyze their buying habits and loyalty. The product is in private beta using the retailers at a shopping mall in Pernambuco, and is preparing to launch a full public version shortly.

Full post in Portuguese.
-A new startup event is planned for São Paulo: SPbeta.  Beta Ltd is a global event, having been held in San Francisco, New York and other major cities. The first Brazilian version is being coordinated by startup-scene regulars Miguel Dornelles, Pedro Sorrentino and Juliana Lima. The event includes networking and presentations with a mix of investors and entrepreneurs in attendance, but with a fun twist: it will take place in the casual atmosphere of a popular nightclub, and attendees will “place bets” on their favorite startups. The winner of the most votes will get a large prize in the form of free advertising online.

-Virada Empreendedora is being held for the second time in mid April in São Paulo. More than 300 people are expected at this year’s event, which will feature a 24 hour coding marathon as well as talks and mini-courses on a range of subjects relevant to entrepreneurs.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Red Innova will be taking place in Madrid in June this year. Last year four Brazilian startups were selected to participate in the concurrent Open Talent competition, out of 700 applicants. A Brazilian version of the event last year drew 300 applicants. This years Madrid event, to be held June 14 and 15, will offer a prize of up to 100,000 Euros as part of an investment contract with BBVA. For more information in English see Red Innova’s website.

Full post in Portuguese.

Peixe Urbano, the successful Latin American local commerce company, purchased online reservations site Zuppa, group buying site Groupalia and O Entregador, a restaurant delivery service. The latter deal began when Peixe Urbano spotted O Entregador at Startup Farm, an accelerator program they were sponsoring.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Startup UPPNA has launched mobile app MallGuide.Me, which personalizes shopping experieces in Brazil’s popular shopping malls with guides, offers and tips. The app received R$1 million in angel support in its production.

Full post in Portuguese.

-Annual business plan competition Desafio Unicamp is open for applications. Open to graduate students, the competition offers three months of support and mentoring for selected participants, culminating in a final competition. The winning team receives patent support as well as other prizes.

Full post in Portuguese.