With startup hubs across Latin America vying to become the next Silicon Valley, Mexico may be ahead of the game, and carving out its own niche south of the border. In 2015, TechCrunch published an article that argued that Mexico’s transition over to the innovation economy might just turn it into one of the world’s biggest economies in the next decade. Bismarck Lepe, a Mexican-American entrepreneur who pioneered Mexico-Silicon Valley cross border companies with Ooyala and now Wizeline, contends that Mexico is one of, if not the most interesting country in the world over the next decade.
Mexico’s unique geographic and cultural positioning allows it to capture both the US and the Latin American markets, while its size and natural resources allow it to compete with South American giants like Brazil.
Three major cities in Mexico – Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara – are at the forefront of the innovative movement and each city is contributing intensely to the growth of the startup ecosystem in Mexico.
While Mexico City is the most powerful due to its size and the availability of private and federal capital, Guadalajara and Monterrey are important second cities that are vying for technology and startup leadership. Here’s a deeper look at the startup ecosystems in each of these Mexican cities. (more…)
In 2014, I was sitting in a Manhattan office tower, asking an experienced venture capitalist for advice about Magma Partners, our new seed stage fund that finds the best entrepreneurs in Latin America and helps them launch and scale their US incorporated startups in the states.
The VC’s advice? Leave Latin America. Come back to the US. “You’re going to lose all your money!” Nearly all of my entrepreneur and investor friends said the same thing.
Since 2014, my partners and I have invested $2M of our own money into a portfolio of 32 fast growing companies founded by entrepreneurs from 9 countries that employ 300+ people from 13 countries. All for less than a typical Silicon Valley company’s seed round.
The diverse founders we support are building real US incorporated businesses that generate eight figures in annual revenue. And they’re 90% more capital efficient than Silicon Valley startups. (more…)
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.
Some of the pioneering investors and entrepreneurs have started to be successful, paving the way for the next generation of startups. Other founders who tried and failed in the early 2010s have learned their lessons and are starting second rounds of companies. The ecosystem is much more developed, including startup specific attorneys and more experienced venture investors. From the link:
Startups in Latin America are using creative solutions to address not just local but also global problems. For investors outside the region, the prospect of working with these startups can appear attractive, yet complicated. Investing in early-stage startups in Latin America can present challenges; however, despite the challenges, time and time again I’ve found it can be well worth the effort.
When I first came to Santiago, Chile in 2010 as part of the pilot round of Start-Up Chile, there was hardly any talk of startups. Most people didn’t even know what startups were. Within nine months of returning to the U.S., the company I co-founded was acquired. So I decided to go back to Chile to look for more opportunities in this emerging market.
Over the next couple of years, I taught entrepreneurship in Chile, mentored local entrepreneurs and eventually started investing in Latin American companies myself. I’ve now invested in more than 30 early-stage companies in Latin America, and I firmly believe the time to help early-stage startups in Latin America has never been better. Here’s why.