Latin America’s tech ecosystem is maturing rapidly. 2017 was a standout year for foreign investment in Latin American startups, with investors in the US and China taking an interest in tech companies that are solving both local and global problems. Not only are the startups in the region becoming more numerous and innovative, but the older tech companies that started in the mid-2000s are reaching high valuations that allow them to compete globally.
Over the past decade, the number of tech startups reaching billion-dollar valuations, known as ‘unicorns,’ has grown considerably. At least nine of these unicorns were founded in Latin America, concentrated in Argentina and Brazil.
There is a lot to be learned from tech companies that can reach a billion-dollar valuation in a challenging market like Brazil or Argentina. What’s more, building a billion-dollar business in Latin America does not happen overnight.
Here’s a look at how each of Latin America’s billion-dollar tech companies reached their current valuations. (more…)
Note: a version of this article was originally published in Venture Beat with the title Chinese Investors Target Latin American Startups as US Investors Shy Away. This version has more background and information about Magma Partners.
China, a country with deep roots as an industrial powerhouse, is now determined to center its economy around technological development and innovation. With government support and outward investments on the rise, China is positioning itself to have a much greater role in the global technology market.
According to Yilong Du, Managing Partner at Latham & Watkins, there are many factors stimulating the growth of the technology sector in China. Firstly, economic growth is driving the Internet market and an explosion of Internet-based companies. In China, 731 million people have access to the Internet and 95.1% of these people access the Internet via mobile devices, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. A budding, Internet-savvy middle class, coupled with a strong supply of talent, is driving China’s technology sector and increasing the demand for innovative products and services.
Shenzhen Capital Group Co Ltd, a State-owned venture capital firm, is just one example of a firm increasing its investments abroad to bring new technology to China. Through investments in innovative companies overseas, the firm hopes to strengthen China’s technology and industrial structure, said Ni Zewang, chairman of the SCGC. Zewang also stated that by connecting more Chinese startups with overseas resources, they can help local companies mature faster. While SCGC’s investments overseas account for only 6% of its current total, it plans to increase the figure to 15% by 2020. (more…)