You can now find the full show notes of the Crossing Borders podcast on LatamList.com’s new podcast section. I’ll still post the audio of the podcast on my blog and I’m planning to start writing more again on my blog, like I used to.
Subscribe to the LatamList Weekly newsletter to get updated on the week’s top tech news and stories from the region.
Thanks for listening to Crossing Borders all these years! If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to reach out here, or contact me on social media.
Outline of this episode
- [1:24] – Federico’s background and current business – CargoX: Uber for trucks
- [4:03] – How did a guy from a small town in Patagonia build this kind of business?
- [8:12] – The response of family and friends when Federico decided to leave his cushy job
- [11:07] – Running his startup from a toilet stall – breaking into his own
- [14:39] – How Federico shut down his startup, regrouped, and started with a new USP
- [15:51] – Starting over: raise funds or find clients?
- [19:55] – The turning point that made the business take off
- [23:57] – Advice to founders about raising money
- [28:28] – Why silicon valley investors should consider Latin American companies
- [30:14] – What would Federico tell himself if he could advise himself from the start
- [34:58] – The next steps for CargoX
Show notes on Latamlist.com.
In 2014, the US government launched an initiative called “Look South” to show companies in the United States the benefits of shipping to the Latin American market. Despite numerous trade agreements between Latin America and the US, 58% of US companies at the time were exporting to only one other country: Canada or Mexico.
Latin America is a close US trading partner, yet the complicated shipping logistics in most Latin American countries – whether by air, water, or overland – are hurting the region’s supply chain.
The challenge of automating and streamlining shipping logistics in Latin America is becoming more pressing as e-commerce and other B2C delivery businesses take hold. Not only are large corporations dealing with sending and receiving bulk cargo across the region, but individual consumers want more on-demand services that require better organization and logistics.
Latin America still lags behind in the development of its shipping industry. The World Bank reported that in 2014, no Latin American country was in the top 25% of the Logistic Performance Index global rankings. In 2016, this figure hardly changed; Panama is the top-ranked Latin American country for logistics and shipping, yet it comes in 40th on the LPI global rankings. Chile is next at 46th, with Mexico and Brazil ranking 54th and 55th, respectively.
Brazil is the fifth largest country by area in the world and the second most populous in the Americas behind the United States, boasting a population of more than 200 million people. This population is largely middle class and based in urban environments, which creates a consistent demand for new goods and services, despite Brazil’s roller coaster economy, high regulations, seemingly endless political scandals, high taxes, and notoriously difficult business climate.
As one of the most challenging places to do business in the world, operating a business in Brazil is no easy feat. But for companies that do take the leap, capturing a piece of this incredibly large and tech-savvy consumer base can be the ultimate prize for anyone doing business in Latin America. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to generate Silicon Valley style returns for those who enjoy take risks and are willing to slog through Brazil’s ecosystem.
Here’s an overview of the current opportunities and challenges of doing business in Brazil today. (more…)