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.
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.
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. (more…)
Welcome to Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig, where I interview entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the people who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin America.
If you’re new to the podcast, be sure to check out Episode 2 with Adrian Fisher, founder of PropertySimple, who went from selling hotdogs to raising $3m and Episode 5, with Devin Baptiste, cofounder of GroupRaise one of the most diverse startups in the world.
Nora and I talk about her journey from the US to Africa to Latin America, to leaving a job in Latam to starting her own business. Nora lived in Buenos Aires and started her business there with two other female cofounders, and then moved to Medellin to continue to expand the business
We cover cultural difference between doing business in the US and Latin America, what it’s like being a woman in tech in Latin America, practical tips for getting PR in the US, getting into a US accelerator from Latin America, and tools and tricks you need to be successful launching in the US market. And also emojis.
I’ve been working with Nora and her team for a few months now and it was great to finally get to connect outside of a pure business context. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!