80% of Venezuelans today depend on remittances to survive. Almost seven million people have left the country since the protests against the Maduro government started, creating a massive diaspora, almost all of whom send money home to family members trapped in the country.
Simon Chamorro was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, so he has seen this problem firsthand. He co-founded Valiu to make it easier to transfer money from Colombia to Venezuela by streamlining remittances using cryptocurrency.
In this episode of Crossing Borders, Simon explains how Valiu is using cryptocurrency to solve real-life problems, and how it has the potential to combat inflation in economies across Latin America. Now living in Colombia, Simon also discusses the important lessons he has learned working with four startups in the Colombian ecosystem, his own experience in starting a company, and where Valiu is headed next.
Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about the current situation in Venezuela and how Valiu is helping streamline the remittance economy from across the Colombian border.
The future of work is a hot topic these days. Technology is developing quickly, disrupting how, where, and when people work. Many worry about the loss of jobs as a result of AI and robotics, while others celebrate the potential for increased flexibility and collaboration across time zones and cultures.
These changes in the workplace are taking several forms. One is the shift towards the gig economy, where workers act as free agents in contracted positions, often working multiple jobs simultaneously. Freelancers now make up 36% of the working US population, and were the fastest-growing group in the EU labor market between 2000 and 2014. In Latin America, technology is the key to increasing Latin America’s employment and productivity rates, and startups are at the heart of this change in the region’s workplace.
Below are a few areas of disruptive change in the Latin American workplace, and the entrepreneurs at the forefront of that change.
When Michael Sidgmore thinks about investing, he thinks about making the biggest impact possible in people’s lives. His passion for economic development and financial inclusion has led him to build a career as a fintech investor and entrepreneur focused on financial infrastructure, wealth management, and financial inclusion. Today, he is a Partner and cofounder of Broadhaven Ventures, a Silicon Valley, New York and Chicago based fintech venture capital firm that has invested in 5 startups in Latin America.
Broadhaven Ventures invests globally in early-stage fintech startups but largely focuses on Latin America and the US. The fund was built out of a market leading fintech investment bank called Broadhaven Capital Partners to start to invest directly into some of the best companies they were seeing on the investment banking side of the business.
In this episode, I sit down with Michael in Mexico City to talk about his background in soccer, then in tech banking, and how an NGO inspired him to kickstart his investing career. We discuss what led him to do venture capital in Latin America, and also cover some of the biggest trends in Latin American fintechs and how these compare to Asia and the US.
YCombinator is one of the leading early-stage US investors in Latin America, and has served as a signal for other US investors to start making their first investments in the region. Since accepting its first Latin American founder in 2013, the region’s presence in the accelerator program has significantly increased. The most recent batch had over 15 companies from Latin America.
In this episode, we’ve gathered advice from 8 founders, some we’ve interviewed previously, and some new ones, that have participated in YCombinator. They talk about their experience going through the program and give tips to founders in the interview process, which can also be useful for other accelerators.