Ep 20 Thomas Allier, The Startup Growth Curve of a Latin American Travel Search Company

Every startup has a growth curve. It looks different for each company depending on many factors, and my guest on this episode says founders need to push their company through its growth curve as fast as possible.

Thomas Allier left his home in Paris, France to found a startup in Colombia. It’s not the normal path of a Latin American company but his decision paid off. His company – Viajala – is now the largest discount flights search engine in Latin America. You’ll enjoy this conversation.

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Ep 19 Andres Barreto, International Business Strategy That Cuts Cost and Increases Profit

andres barreto - vc and international business strategy

The term International Business Strategy is typically used to describe U.S. or Western companies looking to maximize profits through offshoring or outsourcing, or extending their sales into foreign markets. But Andres Barreto is doing things in the opposite direction. He’s working to encourage Latin American startups to focus on the U.S. market and scale there, as well as encourage US companies to look to Latin America for the talented engineers and developers they need. But instead of outsourcing, they’re building integral startup teams in Latin America.

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Ep 15 Brian Requarth, Building THE Online Portal for Real Estate in Brazil

brian requarth - real estate in brazil

Can you imagine what it would be like to be from the US, but trying to build a successful company in Latin America? My guest on this episode did exactly that. Brian Requarth took advantage of his season in life as a young guy who’d just finished college to try his hand in the entrepreneurial world. He’d spent a little time in Latin America so he decided to integrate his experience into his business ideas.

The result many years later is VivaReal, an online portal for real estate in Brazil, one of the largest Latin American markets. On this episode you’re going to hear Brian’s story, how he’s grown personally and has learned many valuable but hard lessons as co-founder of a very successful Latin American startup that’s raised more than $74M in venture capital.  
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing Business in Colombia

Colombia has come a long way as a country and as a place to do business. The sensationalized version of Colombia that Narcos depicts is no longer accurate, though the reputation lives on.

Colombia’s history is long and complicated, filled with violent groups trying to control the country’s lucrative drug trade. But there’s so much more to Colombia than just drugs. 2017’s historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, the largest guerrilla group, is a potential inflection point in Colombia’s history. And if I had to bet on a single Latin American country for the next 10-15 years, Colombia would be my pick.

Though many think it’s coffee, Colombia’s largest export is actually petroleum, which makes up over a third of the country’s exports, followed by coal, coffee, cut flowers, and gold. Coffee, however, was responsible for pushing Colombia toward a manufacturing based economy. After the War of a Thousand Days, which ended in 1902, Colombia’s coffee boom pushed the country to seek better transportation and manufacturing mechanisms.

Coffee production consistently grew in the 20th century, employing more than 500,000 families. While the government managed Colombia’s economy conservatively, the the political atmosphere turned increasingly unstable, corrupt and violent from the drug trade.

In 1991 the country adopted a new constitution. The motive for this wasn’t necessarily economic, but rather political, in order to make peace and bring drug lords to justice. Colombia remained relatively stable economically until the late 1990s when fiscal deficits cause a higher public debt which resulted in the country’s first economic recession in over 60 years. But by the early 2000s, the economy began to recover, due to high petroleum prices and stable coffee prices. Continue reading…