Daniel Bilbao, Truora: Fighting Fraud in Latin America, Ep 80

Originally from Cali, Colombia, Daniel studied in the US and started a company in Silicon Valley before realizing he wanted to us his experience to solve a pressing Latin American problem: fraud. Truora, a startup that provides instant background checks, was born to fight that problem.

I sat down with Daniel for this episode to talk about why he decided to go after the Latin American market instead of Silicon Valley, how he raised money from Y Combinator, Accel, and Kazsek Ventures, and why he wants to tackle the problem of fraud in Latin America. We also discuss why he based his company in Cali and the lessons he learned building and working for three startups in Latin America and Silicon Valley. Magma has been supporting Truora since before YCombinator, so I’m especially excited to share the story of this ambitious founder from Colombia on the podcast.

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Johanna Posada, Elevar Equity: Driving Impact in Latin America via Venture Capital, Ep 79

Originally from Mexico, developing microfinance in Latin America and India was a natural step for Johanna Posada. With over 15 years of experience working in corporate finance, economics, microfinance and investing in emerging markets, Johanna, now based in Seattle, has long been involved in economic development. Currently, as Managing Director and Founder of Elevar Equity, an impact investment fund that focuses on fintech in both of those regions, Johanna has been able to find an intersection between work that has a social component and is also business oriented.

Elevar Equity targets investment in transformative and scalable businesses focusing on underserved customers. In this episode, I sat down with Johanna to talk about her experience and lessons learned from managing four funds with more than $270M assets under management, helping startups through multiple exits and impacting millions of people. We also cover her experience in microfinance and how the ecosystem has evolved over the years, her reasons for choosing LatAm and India, why foreign investors should be looking into the LatAm investment scene, and what the future holds for Elevar.

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn about Latin America’s impact investing space, and how the Elevar investment method helps people at the bottom of the pyramid build their businesses.

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An Overview of Edtech in Latin America

Global investments in education technology, commonly known as edtech, will reach $252 billion by 2020. In fact, the global e-learning market is growing over 14% annually, and this growth rate is likely to continue.

In Latin America, government focus on education increased significantly over the last two decades. As a result, Latin America is now the fourth largest edtech market in the world – behind North America, Western Europe, and Asia in terms of revenue – with expectations for the e-learning market to generate revenues of over $3 billion by 2023.

According to UNESCO, more than 12 million adults in 20 Latin American countries are participating in some form of online education. This is not just online courses; millions of people are now accessing written materials, webinars, podcasts, collaborative software, and more.

What’s driving edtech opportunities in Latin America?

The short answer is surging levels of mobile and Internet access.

Latin America is a world leader in mobile adoption, with more than 415 million out of approximately 690 million people connected to a mobile network. Approximately 60% of all mobile connections in Latin America are smartphones and there are predictions that by 2020, 63% of Latin America’s population will have access to the mobile Internet. This rapid growth is translating into endless opportunities for the edtech sector, even in the most rural and remote areas.

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Mike Packer, QED Investors: The Trailblazing US VC Investing in Latin American Fintech, Ep 78

In 2014, nearly all US-based VCs were reticent to invest in Latin America. But that didn’t stop Washington, DC based QED from building one of Latin America’s most impressive startup portfolios. Before becoming a Partner at QED Investors, Mike’s path into the finance world was not obvious. Mike’s first foray into finance was his job at Capital One where he pursued his passion for using data to solve problems.

Today, Mike lives in Tampa, Florida and is a Partner at QED Investors, a venture fund that has made over 100 mostly fintech investments in the US, UK, and Latin America. QED has been involved in some of Latin America’s top fintech deals including Nubank, Creditas, Credijusto, Guia Bolso, Loft, and Quinto Andar and many more.

On this episode of Crossing Borders, I sit down with Mike Packer to talk about his journey from working in banking at Capital One to joining QED as Principal, and then making his way up to Partner. We also learn about how startups should approach venture capital firms for funding and what to expect in fintech in the next coming waves within the region.

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