In our blog-series “WE MADE IT” we introduce our clients and their companies. Usually emigrants and company founders come to South Africa with a vision. This time we interviewed Fernando Azevedo Pinheiro, who gave us a little insight on how it is like to move from Brazil to South Africa and how he started with the company CarZar.

IBN: What made you decide to relocate and why did you choose South Africa?

Fernando Azevedo Pinheiro, Managing Director at CarZar

Fernando: I was working for Rocket Internet – a German venture builder, in their LatAm HQ in São Paulo when I was offered the opportunity to relocate to either Singapore or Africa.

Since I had always been very curious about Africa and it seemed like a great opportunity, I decided for the move. The choice to be based in South Africa was due to the fact that it is the English-speaking most developed country in the region, and with direct flights to my home country as well as to Asia.

IBN: How long have you already lived in South Africa?

Fernando: 2,5 years

IBN: What do you do in South Africa?

Fernando: I am a Managing Director of CarZar is the tech-startup that is changing South Africa’s auto-trade industry by introducing disruptive technology within an industry that has remained very traditional for the past decades. CarZar is an Online Car Buying service, we purchase vehicles from private sellers and re-sell these cars exclusively to dealerships.

Assuming that you wish to sell your car, all you have to do is go to our website – and enter your car and contact details to receive an instant online quote. If happy with the estimated price, you can easily book an inspection at your own location or at one of our Car Buying Centres. The inspection takes around 20 minutes to fully assess the value of your vehicle, after that our inspectors will make you a final cash offer and, if accepted, we make an instant payment and take care of all the paperwork for you. Selling your car to us takes only 30 minutes of your time, no haggle, no hassle.

IBN: What makes your business idea special/what sets you apart?

Fernando: CarZar enters the market with a clear mission – EMPOWER South Africans to sell and buy second-hand cars seamlessly. At CarZar we guarantee convenience, safety, transparency and competence throughout the entire selling experience. By choosing to sell your second-hand vehicle to us, you can complete the selling process in 30 minutes and just a few simple and quick steps.

IBN: What would you say are the advantages/disadvantages living in South Africa?

Fernando: Advantages – Cheap compared to other countries, really beautiful landscapes, highly developed infrastructures for an African country.

Disadvantages – Unsafety, to have peace of mind, you need to live in a secure complex and avoid walking in the streets at night.

IBN: What was your experience in relocating/setting up a business in South Africa?

Fernando: It was good, I immediately realized that South Africa is a very business friendly and rich market, however the current political instability and economic recession may harm my first impression. Additionally, getting a Work Permit can be very problematic, and this might be a risk for Companies looking to hire highly qualified professionals.

IBN: How is your life in South Africa different from your home country and what do you like most about South Africa?

Fernando: I ‘d rather compare cities than countries. I used to live in São Paulo – a massive metropolis with 15 million people, where lifestyle is fast-paced and very work-driven. In Cape Town quality of life is great and the lifestyle is much more casual and relaxed. I really enjoy what it has to offer while combining a city landscape to the beauty of African nature.

IBN: What do you dislike about South Africa?

Fernando: Overall violence. The widespread poverty and lack of proper education caused high levels of disparity, and sometimes you may feel locked, especially as a woman.

IBN: What do you miss most from home?

Fernando: After my family, I think what I miss the most is the opportunity to walk in the streets at night while feeling relatively safe. Although I come from a country that is violent (Brazil), my home town is quite safe.

IBN: What advice would you give people thinking about moving and/or setting up a business in South Africa?

Fernando: I think if you are coming from an emerging country, like Latin America or South East Asia, you will adapt quite easily. In fact, I found South Africa being very similar to Brazil for several reasons. If you are coming from a developed country, then I would recommend you to be very careful because your habits may put you at risk. Locals will recognize that you are from abroad and could decide to take a chance.

IBN: What are your plans for the future?

Fernando: Expand our Online Car Buying service throughout South Africa, and then maybe to other African countries. We are also looking at opportunities to launch additional businesses within the same car industry. The local market has great potential!

 IBN: How was the IBN Team able to assist you in reaching your goals?

Fernando: The CarZar team is extremely diversified, we have members with extensive experience in the car industry as well as members coming from tech or startup backgrounds. Additionally, our team is extremely multicultural, with members not only from South Africa, but also from Brazil, Italy, Ukraine, Egypt, UK, etc.. Diversity is a source of great inspiration and has surely helped to make our company culture unique and parallel to none. IBN has been a great source of help for CarZar. Aiming at building a world-class team since the very beginning, IBN has assisted the entire process to receive Work Permits for our expat members.

IBN: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best in all your future endeavors!!!


Phone number: 087 470 0436






Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice regarding immigration & visa, setting up business, property transfer & investment.

by Sue-Allan Mehl