Jack Fischl and Kyle Wiggins studied across the Charles River from each other in Boston, but they didn’t meet until they both became Peace Corps volunteers in Panama. Even then, they were placed in two communities that were a 14-hour bus ride apart. So how did they build a successful Latin American travel marketplace together? It started with a simple WordPress site they created over several visits to their local internet cafes.
After realizing their communities had no way of marketing the unique tours they were offering, and that local tour guides were being ripped off by large corporations, Jack and Kyle came up with Keteka. In this episode, Jack and Kyle explain what they learned from going through Start-Up Chile and the Booking.com Accelerator program, raising a funding round through Latin American angel investors on FounderList, and receiving investment from more traditional VCs like my firm Magma Partners. But it all started with the lessons they learned in the Peace Corps.
Miguel Torres is an Ecuadorian entrepreneur who knew he wanted to start businesses when he saw needs that were unmet. After starting his entrepreneurial career in the food and drink industry and building the business to a successful exit, Miguel built out a daily deal site in Ecuador and other countries in Latin America.
The daily deals business morphed into Escapes With You, a travel and experience daily deals business, where he ended up in the Start-Up Chile program. After building the business, he realized that he was shipping items to guests from the travel experience business and decided to build a new business to solve the last mile problem he was experiencing himself.
Shippify is a shipping and logistics API that allows easy integration of delivery services into any E-commerce store and mobile app by adding a few lines of code.
Miguel hopped on a plane to Brazil without knowing any Portuguese and built the business ever since, expanding across the region and raising money from investors in Latin America, the US and the Middle East.
One of my most popular blog posts is my ecommerce case study from when some friends and I started an ecommerce business in 2012. It gets hundreds of people viewing it each month and leads to lots of questions on twitter, linkedin and my blog.
I covered how we decided to launch an ecommerce, how we picked a product and how we validated the idea without spending lots money out of pocket. My goal was to share how we see the market and how you can validate any business idea without spending months and thousands of dollars to do it.
So what did we sell and what was the store called? We sold condoms on La Condonería.
In this episode, we cover the original case study, along with changes since I wrote the original post in 2015 and Magma Partners view on ecommerce in the region.
I hope you enjoy this style of episode of Crossing Borders. Please give me feedback in the comments or on social media on whether you did. If enough people like it, I can go through other industries that are popular in Latin America.
Launching your startup on a waterproof phone from a Colombian prison. It sounds like something out of a movie. But in this case, it’s the true story of Criptext, an encrypted email service, founded by Panamanian entrepreneur Mayer Mizrachi.
How did Mayer end up in a Colombian prison? What was it like? How did he continue working and keeping his team together? How did he raise money and even do an angel investment himself from his prison cell? We cover these questions and many more.
In this podcast Mayer, tells his story in his own words. How he believes a $200k contract with the Panamanian government, political persecution and an unfortunate series of events led him to spend 5 months in a Colombian prison and the past two years stuck in Panama, unable to travel. Through it all, he’s raised money and continues to build his business. We also talk about what he learned during his childhood overcoming a previously untreatable disease, studying in Europe and the US and of course encrypted email and what it’s important.