E-Commerce in Brazil: Latin America’s E-Commerce Powerhouse

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Brazil is already a global player in the e-commerce industry. It is the only Latin American country to crack the top ten retail e-commerce markets in the world. Despite Brazil’s recent economic slowdown, e-commerce grew by 11.5% in 2017 and is predicted to chart 10% growth in 2018. While these statistics show a significant drop from the 28% growth Brazil’s e-commerce market experienced in 2013, it is safe to say that Latin America’s e-commerce powerhouse will continue to dominate the region for the foreseeable future.

Brazil’s size has been a double-edged sword for its e-commerce industry. On the one hand, with approximately 140 million Internet users in a country of 211 million people, Brazil presents an enormous market for e-commerce. On the other hand, much like Argentina, Brazil struggles with complex land shipping logistics and high sales taxes, which slows down the growth of this industry.

Nonetheless, the mood was optimistic at the 6th annual “E-Commerce Brazil” conference in 2017, with retailers viewing Brazil as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Up to 52% of Brazilian shoppers already research products online before purchasing, and that number is growing. Continue reading…

Mexico’s Startup Ecosystem: Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara

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With startup hubs across Latin America vying to become the next Silicon Valley, Mexico may be ahead of the game, and carving out its own niche south of the border. In 2015, TechCrunch published an article that argued that Mexico’s transition over to the innovation economy might just turn it into one of the world’s biggest economies in the next decade. Bismarck Lepe, a Mexican-American entrepreneur who pioneered Mexico-Silicon Valley cross border companies with Ooyala and now Wizeline, contends that Mexico is one of, if not the most interesting country in the world over the next decade.

Mexico’s unique geographic and cultural positioning allows it to capture both the US and the Latin American markets, while its size and natural resources allow it to compete with South American giants like Brazil.

Three major cities in Mexico – Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara – are at the forefront of the innovative movement and each city is contributing intensely to the growth of the startup ecosystem in Mexico.

While Mexico City is the most powerful due to its size and the availability of private and federal capital, Guadalajara and Monterrey are important second cities that are vying for technology and startup leadership. Here’s a deeper look at the startup ecosystems in each of these Mexican cities. Continue reading…

E-Commerce in Argentina: Is Argentina Ready for an E-Commerce Boom?

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Despite years of sky-high taxes on imports and challenges with online transactions, Argentina is still an important force in Latin American e-commerce. The birthplace of MercadoLibre, Latin America’s most popular e-commerce site, Argentina is the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the region, registering up to 28% yearly growth. While Argentina still comes in behind Mexico and powerhouse Brazil, its predicted market share in e-commerce is expected to grow from 8.9% to 14.6% of the region’s total sales volume by 2019. So what is driving this meteoric growth?   

It’s a combination of Argentina’s young, Internet-savvy consumer base which is now being aided by President Mauricio Macri’s increased openness to cross-border commerce. Argentina is not new to the e-commerce game. Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre was founded in Buenos Aires in 1999 and now operates in 16 countries, with more than 174.2 million active users in Latin America.

Federico Malek, the founder of Argentina’s second largest e-commerce provider, Avenida.com, which raised a US$30M Series C Round in 2015, also founded Wallooz, which was acquired by Groupon in 2010. Soon after leaving Groupon, Malek received funding to start Avenida.com. However, Avenida almost went under in 2016, letting off 250 staff members, until they were acquired by online marketplace Good People, which restructured the company. Continue reading…

The Colombian Startup Ecosystem: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla

The Colombian entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown quickly the past few years. While the two most prominent cities, Bogota and Medellin, are often in the spotlight for their startup successes like Rappi or Fitpal, the third and fourth largest cities, Cali and Barranquilla respectively, are edging their way into the ring as well. These two strategically-placed cities – Cali near the Pacific and Barranquilla on the Caribbean Coast – are drawing attention from investors and beginning to develop the infrastructure they need to start to compete alongside Bogota and Medellin.

Looking deeper into the Colombian startup scene, you’ll notice many differences between the cities. Here’s a look at what each has to offer and how they contribute to Colombia’s growing entrepreneurial spirit.

Bogota

As the political and economic powerhouse that drives the Andean nation, Bogota is also the headquarters for many of Colombia’s fastest growing startups – as well as a significant hub for investment. Two of Colombia’s top three universities are located in Bogota, leading to a highly educated local talent pool for growing companies.

The growth of innovation in Bogota has primarily surged as a result of the Colombian government’s efforts to revitalize the country and the capital through the innovation economy. For example, in 2012, the National Government founded INNPulsa to promote business development in Colombia, with the goal of putting Colombia in the top three most innovative economies of Latin America. Continue reading…