Many travelers visit Peru to experience Machu Picchu, and though incredible, there is much more to this country than its wonder of the world. Known for its gastronomic sector, Peru has some of the most diverse (and delicious) food in the world. Through its long history of eating seafood, mixed with Spanish, Japanese and Chinese immigration, it’s always a pleasure to go to Peru, even if it’s only to eat, and entrepreneurial Peruvians have taken advantage.
Peru has diverse terrain, from the steeply sloping Andes and dense jungles to the cerulean coastline. About one-third of Peruvian residents live near or close to the ocean. The population is just shy of 32 million, surpassing Chile but falling below Colombia. Monthly wages are on the upswing at 1680.67 Peruvian Sol (roughly US$519), with a minimum wage of 850 Peruvian Sol.
The capital city, Lima, is experiencing rapid growth and the government is allocating investment towards more infrastructure and improving public transportation. Foreign investors are paying close attention to the new Cuzco airport which offers easier access to Machu Picchu, though has caught some local scrutiny. Peru offers multiple visas for foreigners interested in the business sector, but these visas can come with an unwanted amount of red tape.
Peru is one of the founding countries in Pacific Alliance bloc, a free trade agreement, and 80% of its global transactions go through Free Trade Associations. Despite open international policies and trade agreements, Peru is plagued by corruption, although not to the level of Brazil, Venezuela or Argentina. Though there have been anti-corruption movements in the past, there is still much work to be done in the anti-corruption fight with business and politics.
Corruption aside, heaps of foreign investment and improvements in infrastructure have led to a major push for innovation. The Peruvian government has stepped it up by funding accelerators and incubators to ensure growth. StartUp Peru, supported by Peru’s Ministry of Production, and based on Start-Up Chile, incubates new ideas that lead to job growth and international market expansion. The incubator hosts startup contests, offers financing, and connects participants to global entrepreneur networks. Deenty, one of our portfolio companies, participated in StartUp Peru to open the Peruvian market.
Angel Ventures Peru helps early-stage startups find resources and mentors to foster innovation in the country. The organization helps startups with financing, incubation, strategy, and access to the startup ecosystem around the world. Angel Ventures Peru wants to empower high-impact entrepreneurs and help them scale business models that contribute to the sustainable development of Peru. If you want to learn more about Angel Ventures and the Peruvian entrepreneurial ecosystem, listen to my podcast with Greg Mitchell.
Another well-known accelerator, Wayra Peru, has an impressive portfolio of startups. One of its graduates, Quantico, analyzes audiences on social platforms and provides insight to enhance campaigns. Quantico monitors social media and provides models and performance analytics to consumers, and CEO, Javier Albarracín, is a leading entrepreneur in social media intelligence. Crehana, another Wayra alumnus, is a comprehensive educational platform with access to unlimited classes. Its mission is to ensure that today’s professionals have skills to prepare them for the digital age and its user base exceeds 95,000 people.
As mentioned previously, the gastronomic sector in Peru is thriving, which has brought life to startups like Mesa 24/7, an online platform for restaurant reservations. The platform is also helpful for the indecisive, allowing consumers to choose restaurants by food type or by neighborhood. Along with dining, the entertainment sector is quite popular, attracting both foreign businesses and investors. Cinepapaya, a well-known movie ticket site, was acquired by Fandango. The merge has expanded Fandango’s reach in multiple LATAM countries.
One of the top rated coworking spaces in Peru is Residencia, an inspired workspace for entrepreneurs and small businesses to share ideas and connect. Residencias offers events like “Noches Apasionadas” designed to educate the community while helping resolve issues and inspire growth.
Though its neighbor “Chilecon Valley” has gotten most of the press lately, Peru is alive and thriving with solid incubators and a startup environment that is conducive to success. All in all, Peru is a few years behind countries like Chile and Colombia for innovation and entrepreneurship, but is following in their paths to build on its early success.