TechCrunch: A New Era in Latin American Startup Investing

I recently wrote a column in TechCrunch called A new era in Latin American startup investing where I talked about how things have changed since I first moved to Chile in 2010 as part of the pilot round of Startup Chile.

Some of the pioneering investors and entrepreneurs have started to be successful, paving the way for the next generation of startups. Other founders who tried and failed in the early 2010s have learned their lessons and are starting second rounds of companies. The ecosystem is much more developed, including startup specific attorneys and more experienced venture investors. From the link:

Startups in Latin America are using creative solutions to address not just local but also global problems. For investors outside the region, the prospect of working with these startups can appear attractive, yet complicated. Investing in early-stage startups in Latin America can present challenges; however, despite the challenges, time and time again I’ve found it can be well worth the effort.

When I first came to Santiago, Chile in 2010 as part of the pilot round of Start-Up Chile, there was hardly any talk of startups. Most people didn’t even know what startups were. Within nine months of returning to the U.S., the company I co-founded was acquired. So I decided to go back to Chile to look for more opportunities in this emerging market.

Over the next couple of years, I taught entrepreneurship in Chile, mentored local entrepreneurs and eventually started investing in Latin American companies myself. I’ve now invested in more than 30 early-stage companies in Latin America, and I firmly believe the time to help early-stage startups in Latin America has never been better. Here’s why.

Continue reading A New Era for Startup Investing In Latin America on TechCrunch.

Photo credit: Alessandro Pautasso

How To Work In Tech in Latin America

I wrote a guest post on VentureBeat called How to find a job in a Latin American Tech Hub aimed at highlighting the growing trend of US and European tech workers coming to Latin America to both start companies, but also to work for high potential startups like GroupRaise, PropertySimple, The Intern Group and more. I covered four main paths to working for tech companies in Latin America:

  1. Working remotely from a coworking space
  2. Working for an established Latin American company
  3. Working with a Latin American startup targeting Latin America
  4. Working with a Latin American startup targeting the US market

Each of these have their pros and cons, but all are great ways to get involved in the local tech scenes, travel the world and experience a new culture.

From the article:

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Start-Up Chile 101 and Chile The Expat’s Guide 2nd Editions

In 2012, after living 2+ years in Chile, I wrote Start-Up Chile 101, the book I’d wished I’d had before joining the Start-Up Chile program. A year later, I wrote Chile: The Expat’s Guide for all of the foreigners who were thinking about moving to Chile.

Since then, these books have been bought by thousands of people thinking about living, working and doing business in Chile. Over the past four years, while working as Magma Partners’ managing partner, I learned even more about Chile and the rest of Latin America and decided to update both of these books.

The new books are reworked to include:

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GroupRaise

I love investing in companies that at first glance seem like they’d have a small market, but where further study shows that the market is orders of magnitude larger I originally thought. It’s even better when they can create a category.

That’s why I’m excited to finally be able to announce our investment in GroupRaise. We first invested in GroupRaise in early 2016 after I’d been trying to convince Devin Baptiste, GroupRaise’s cofounder and CEO, to let us invest since we started Magma back in 2013. After watching Devin, Sean, Kevin and Paul and the rest of the team set milestones and execute against them, while usually blowing them out of the water, it was a no brainer to invest again in 2017 when they asked for more capital to grow more quickly, especially when we’re able to invest alongside great investors like Techstars Ventures and Kapor Capital.

GroupRaise is a marketplace and booking engine that allows groups of 20-200 to books events in 5500+ restaurants in 150+ cities across the United States. Restaurants donate up to 25% of these groups’ bills to the organization or charity of their choice.

Why would restaurants want to do this? Most people think they’re just being good corporate citizens, and they are, as they’re giving back to their communities. But most people don’t realize that GroupRaise is one of the most cost effective ways of getting new clients into the restaurant and getting them to come back again. Of 100 people who go to a GroupRaise, 40 are new clients, 82 spend more than average and 96 come back in the future! Continue reading…