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…

Ep 27 Juan Vera, Scaling Start-ups from Latin America To USA

Juan Vera joins me in this episode of Crossing Borders to talk about entrepreneurial business in Latin America. Juan’s experience as an engineer and CEO has helped him start several businesses, then scale those businesses from Colombia to Mexico and the United States. Listen to hear Juan share how he bootstrapped his early startups to eventually raising several million in venture capital, and everything he learned along the way.

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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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