I’ve been in Latin America for a little over eight years, first going to Chile in 2010. I spent the first five in Santiago, Chile, first going through Start-Up Chile, starting Andes Property and then cofounding Magma Partners. Since 2015, I’ve split my time between Colombia, Mexico, Chile and the US, and have been able to spend time in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and more, as we expanded Magma Partners across the region. I’ve truly been a nomad. I haven’t spent more than 6 weeks in a row in any location since I started this odyssey.
During my 8 years in Latin America, I’ve learned about culture, doing business and the opportunities available to both local and foreign investors. I’ve been writing about Latin America since 2010 and having conversations with top entrepreneurs and investors on the Crossing Borders Podcast since 2017.
Crossing Borders: A Venture Capitalist’s Guide to Doing Business in Latin America is a way to share what I’ve learned, along with these amazing entrepreneurs’ stories. My goal is to help foreigners and locals interested in pursuing business in Latin America get a jump start on their research. I also want help the Latin American entrepreneurs covered in this book share their stories more broadly.
It sometimes feels like investing in Latin America is a secret that U.S. Investors don’t know about. There are so many great companies and talented entrepreneurs in the Southern Hemisphere who are doing great things – not only in business but also for the economies and peoples of Latin American countries.
Patricio Williams Becú is a great example and is my guest on this episode of Crossing Borders. His company, DTA via PagoRural provides funding for farmers in Latin America – and the ways Patricio has grown his company and gotten outside the box to do it provides many lessons for us all. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and learn from his amazing story.
Latin America is the perfect market for full stack startups. I’m convinced of it after living and working in Latin America for the past four and a half years and am even more convinced after having met, worked with and reviewed over 600 startups in the past year and a half as managing partner of Magma Partners in Santiago, Chile.
So what is a full stack startup and why am I convinced that Latin American entrepreneurs should be exploring full stack startup business models?
First, lets start with a definition. Chis Dixon coined the term Full Stack Startup in a blog post in March 2014. He says that a full stack startup is a “…complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses existing companies.” It bypasses the old, existing hierarchy to be able to control the entire experience. According to Dixon:
Prominent examples of this “full stack” approach include Tesla, Warby Parker, Uber, Harry’s, Nest, Buzzfeed, and Netflix. Most of these companies had “partial stack” antecedents that either failed or ended up being relatively small businesses.
So why are companies following the full stack method instead of the old school method of partnering with large companies? (more…)