Colombia Venture Capital Overview

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This post is the third in a series about Latin American venture capital ecosystems. Read the post on the Chilean Venture Capital, Peru Venture CapitalHighlighting Latin American Startups. Hopefully it’s helpful. Thanks to Monica Avila from Magma and Andres Barreto from Social Atom for reviewing drafts of this post and improving it.

Private Investors

Social Atom Ventures – A $30m investment fund with offices in Medellin and Bogota. They invest into early stage companies that have their technology team in Latin America, but whose target market is the US. We’ve done two co-investments with them.

Torrenegra Labs – Accelerator and early stage investor based in Bogota. 20 investments. 5 exits.

Magma Partners – Monica Avila is our lead in Colombia. We plan to invest in 1-2 companies per year. Additional presence in Chile, Mexico, USA.

Axon – Late stage capital. Six investments.

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The Half Life of Jobs

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Half life

1. Physics. the time required for one half the atoms of a given amount of a radioactive substance to disintegrate.

2. Also called biological half-life. Pharmacology. the time required for the activity of a substance taken into the body to lose one half its initial effectiveness.

3. Informal. a brief period during which something flourishes before dying out.

According to John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas: 

“The half-life of a learned skill is 5-years” – this means that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant.

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Populist Revolt: Draining the Swamp and Refilling it With Old Swamp Water

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A friend of mine texted me on Wednesday, “I’ve never been sadder to be proven right.” As someone who saw Hillary as the lesser of two evils and voted for her, I feel the same. Donald Trump, the vindictive, race-baiting, populist con man with authoritarian tendencies is our next president.

He wasn’t a joke or a clown. He’s the backlash against:

  • Elites taking all of the benefits since the 70s, and looking at the rest of their fellow citizens with disdain while calling them stupid, lazy or racists for complaining.
  • Politicians looking us in the eye and lying while promising to make things better.

He’s a big fuck you to the ruling class of both parties who made them the butt of their jokes and didn’t help as their lives got harder and in same cases shorter.  As I wrote two years ago:

As the US elites continue to amass wealth on a scale reminiscent of the years just before the Great Depression and continue to move toward Chilean levels and you see things like affluenza being used as a successful defense for drunkenly killing people and large corporations paying nominal fines and nearly zero taxes while normal people are punished severely for similar or lesser transgressions.

Solving these issues and putting the impunity index and Vautrin’s Law back into balance requires buy-in from government, politicians and most of all the elites that are currently benefiting from these conditions. I don’t believe that these conditions can last forever without some sort of reaction, whether its an economic reaction like the financial crisis or the election of a populist leader who will implement already disproven ideas that will punish the elites, but not raise the standard of the rest.

He’s also the backlash against social just warriors and bigoteers who have preached against and punished microagressions like asking someone “where are you from” the same as calling someone a racial slur. As I wrote in July:

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The Perfect Pullover: Empowering Bolivian Workers

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If you’re looking for an off the beaten path gift this holiday season, check out these pullovers from the team at Virtu. Guillaume and Jason have been working out of our office in Santiago for the past few months while frequently traveling to Bolivia to get their project off the ground and launched a Kickstarter to get the first batch into production.

Not only are they making a great product, they’re also creating jobs that pay at least 30% more than average wages in Bolivia, a place that I’ve really enjoyed every time I’ve visited. I just backed them and can’t wait for my pullover!

Check out their video here, and then click through to Kickstarter to watch interviews with their Bolivian partners.

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