How to Indentify and Recruit Latin American Talent for Startups

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One of a founder’s most important duties is Identifying and recruiting top talent. Finding and convincing the best people to work for your startup can be the difference between success and failure. There are hundreds of great resources on how to find great talent in the US, but Latin America is very different. US strategies don’t usually work in Latin America.

Recruiting for startups in the US is difficult because the market is extremely competitive and well developed. But it can be easier because many people want to work at a startup because “startups are cool.” Sometimes they even pay well.

Many US workers choose a mission driven company that aims to change the world, or a company that offers workers the opportunity to work on interesting problems, rather than the company that pays the most or has the highest brand recognition. Additionally, structural advantages like recruiters and well developed stock options plans showcase startup opportunities and push more people to take a risk with a startup.

In Latin America, it’s different. It can be difficult to recruit for startups, but not because of competition from other startups. Continue reading…

Highlighting Latin American Startups

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When I meet with US and European entrepreneurs and investors, they frequently want to know what startups are doing well in Latin America.

There are generally three types of startups that generally do well:

1. Latin America based startups solving problems for Latin American market

2. Startups that target the US/European market and have a Latin American back office

3. Brazilian startups that generally target the Brazilian market

Each niche has their own pros and cons, but at Magma, we invest in a subset of the first niche: B2B startups that are based in Latin America and serve Latin American companies and the second niche: startups that target the US/European market, but have their back office in Latin America.

I’ll leave Brazil’s burgeoning startup scene aside for now and focus on some of the most interesting startups I’m seeing in Spanish speaking Latin America. Post in the comments if there’s a startup you think I should include. Continue reading…

Chilean Venture Capital Overview

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Lots of entrepreneurs ask me about Chilean investors and venture capital firms. Here’s my list that I usually send them. Hopefully it’s helpful.

Private Investors

Magma Partners – We’re the only fully private investment fund in Chile. We invest early stage and like to be first investors into companies. We’ll do initial investments of $25-$75k and can follow on with up to $250,000 per company. We like two niches:  B2B businesses in Latin America and companies that have their back office in Latin America, but whose primary market is in the US or Europe. 26 investments in 2.5 years. $5m fund. Presence in Colombia, Mexico, USA.

Public-Private VCs

The Chilean government, via CORFO, offers venture capital funds incentives to invest in Chile. For every $1 funds invest, CORFO can match an additional $2 or $3 with low interest debt that they forgive if you fail, but you must repay if you’re successful. Here’s the full fund list across all industries. These are the more startup focused funds.

Nazca/Mountain – In 2015, Nazca was acquired by Mountain Partners, a successful German/Swiss VC and company builder. They generally invest $200k-$500k in companies that can scale regionally and potentially expand to other mountain offices in Europe, Asia and Africa. Nazca has offices in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Mountain has offices in multiple countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.

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Doing Business and Raising Money in Latin America: My SUP Academy Talk

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Last week I gave a talk at Startup Chile’s SUP Academy about doing business and raising money in Latin America. It was fun share what I’ve learned over the past five years in Chile with the next classes of startup chile entrepreneurs.

The audio quality is pretty bad, sorry about that. Hopefully it’s still listenable!

Here’s the show notes:

Continue reading…