Researching startup ideas for Latin America
I had a good conversation today with another expat who is intrigued by Latin America. He has passed through Colombia and really enjoyed his time here (particularly Medellin and Cartagena) and is now traveling in Chile. We were talking about the startup environment in the region and how much opportunity we see.
He had some curious perspectives and we had a fun debate about the funding environment. Although capital is still very scarce, my impression has been that there is definite void in terms of some really good early stage, seed funding. This is specifically the area where I’m targeting my efforts with the creation of Tayrona Ventures. Nonetheless, he sees more of a void in terms of Series A funding.
He could be right, but I just think that Series A and Series B type funds are a much smaller jump from the private equity game and seem to me to be popping up nicely (Kazsek, Alta, etc.). Meanwhile, there are interesting deals that I see in Peru, Colombia and other countries that are really struggling to find even $100k or less.
Getting to the topic of the title of this post, one of the things we discussed was also the types of ideas that we both hear on a daily basis down here. Some of these have already been done in other countries (which I have no problem with) and would probably work pretty nicely here. A pet peeve I have, especially in Colombia, is when entrepreneurs as me for my take on their idea and they haven’t done very good research. I can usually name a strong global competitor that they haven’t heard of or do a quick Google search with the same result.
This is Business 101 and there really is no reason for this to happen. Either way, I’ve decided to quickly jot down some startup ideas I’ve heard a number of times and give some examples of players who should probably be looked at in that space. If I’m disciplined about this, the list below should grow longer: