If you don’t believe entrepreneurship is a grueling job, just ask Ignacio Guglielmetti. Ignacio says he has never worked harder than he does for his startupCuida Mi Mascota, and he used to be a management consultant – one of the most demanding jobs out there. His path from consulting to building a pet-sitting startup was far from clear; it took him to the Netherlands, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. One might say that Ignacio knows a thing or two about doing business across borders.
In this episode of Crossing Borders, I invited Ignacio to discuss his two startups, how he studied in Buenos Aires and Rotterdam, what it was like to merge with a competitor in Latin America, having a startup acquired, the difference between all the accelerators Ignacio has participated in (three, in three different countries!), and how Ignacio became an angel investor. Check out this episode to learn about doing business across Latin America’s biggest economies, including how to do business in Brazil as a Spanish-speaking entrepreneur.
Investing in Latin American startups is not the first thing that was on Santiago Zavala’s radar growing up. Even though he grew up in a home where his father was working in tech from the early days of the internet, Santiago wasn’t drawn to the finance side of business at that point. He was totally into programming. He’d have been the last person to anticipate what would happen in his life.
This conversation tells of the unexpected path of a man who’s become intricately involved in the VC scene for startups in Latin America. His involvement in his own Mexico-based startup accelerator and then transitioning into running 500 Startups in Mexico has given him a wealth of experience and insight into what it takes for a startup in Latin America to be successful. It’s an intriguing conversation you won’t want to miss.
Mexico’s business opportunities rival those of any other emerging economy in the world. Despite a complicated history with violence and corruption, the country is starting to transform its negative reputation into new opportunities. New initiatives, especially to boost Mexican innovation, and an ever-expanding middle class with disposable income have given way to a new era of business opportunities for residents and foreigners alike.
When I meet with US and European entrepreneurs and investors, they frequently want to know what startups are doing well in Latin America.
There are generally three types of startups that generally do well:
1. Latin America based startups solving problems for Latin American market
2. Startups that target the US/European market and have a Latin American back office
3. Brazilian startups that generally target the Brazilian market
Each niche has their own pros and cons, but at Magma, we invest in a subset of the first niche: B2B startups that are based in Latin America and serve Latin American companies and the second niche: startups that target the US/European market, but have their back office in Latin America.
I’ll leave Brazil’s burgeoning startup scene aside for now and focus on some of the most interesting startups I’m seeing in Spanish speaking Latin America. Post in the comments if there’s a startup you think I should include. (more…)