With a population of 30+ million people, Peru is Latin America’s fifth largest country. Much like Chile, Peru is extremely centralized, with 10 million people – or one-third of the population – living in the capital city of Lima. Less than a million people live in Peru’s second largest city, Arequipa, resulting in a highly rural population scattered across a diverse landscape that includes the Andes mountains, the Amazon rainforest, and the Andean Plateau.
Peru’s geography provides challenges to both Internet penetration and delivery logistics. These barriers help explain why Peru, despite its young and Internet-savvy population, lags behind the rest of the region in the development of e-commerce.
MercadoLibre statistics show that only 5% of Peruvians currently purchase goods online, citing reasons such as low financial inclusion, fear of fraud, and concerns about delivery logistics for the disparity. By comparison, up to 40% of Chileans and 70% of Mexicans are purchasing online. (more…)
When Latin America shifted abruptly to mobile in the early 2010s, the online dating industry had to change with it. Luckily, Pedro Neira, the founder of Mi Media Manzana, now Latin America’s most-downloaded dating app, had enough experience from his three previous startups to know when to make changes. Mi Media Manzana now has over one million downloads and recently received an undisclosed investment from Axon Capital Partners.
I sat down with Pedro Neira in this episode of Crossing Borders to hear about his journey founding four startups, what it’s like doing business in Peru, advice for raising capital in Latin America and Silicon Valley, and the future of Mi Media Manzana.
Pedro didn’t realize he was an entrepreneur until his third startup
A few of my previous guests on the show called themselves “accidental entrepreneurs” because they never realized their careers would lead them to innovate. Not so with Pedro. Instead of following his MBA classmates down the consulting track, he worked on a startup in Barcelona right before the financial crisis. Only after starting a few Internet businesses when he returned to Peru did Pedro realize his career path was unique. Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn about Pedro’s three startups, and how they prepared him to found Mi Media Manzana.