All posts tagged digital innovation

  • What can emerging market investors learn from unicorns?

    Unicorns emerging markets

    Since Aileen Lee’s TechCrunch post last year on so called “unicorns”, startups valued at $1 Billion and above, the term has gained widespread adoption.   From the perspective of a fund manager at any top VC firm, investing in a future unicorn can be key.  However, I’ve been wondering if any of the lessons from Aileen’s post hold any lessons for startups in emerging markets, such as Latin America.

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  • Out to transform business in Colombia

    Lean Startup Enterprise Colombia

    I’ve found that it pays to have lofty goals.  When I first arrived to Colombia, I worked at a well-known technology multinational corporation and told my team that I wanted to build a world-class services organization.  One way to measure ourselves was by the satisfaction of our user base.  Four years later, we were named the top country by that metric in the whole world.  Now, I’m at it again, seeing how ridiculously ambitious I can get with a new Lean Startup Enterprise initiative.

    In a sense, I’m expanding the scope of what I do with the Founder Institute, which I’ve been running for four years in Colombia.  While that incubator (I’m careful not to say accelerator as one commenter is sensitive to the use of this term :)) is focused on startups, the Lean Startup Enterprise initiative expands this scope and invites corporate employees to join the party.

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  • Global digital innovation masters

    Digital Innovation Masters I’ve been thinking more about what really stimulates me at the same time that I’ve been considering the meaning of the word: “TropicalGringo.”  I think I’m coming up with an answer to both questions at the same time.  I’ll have to write more about each topic separately, but let me use this post as first pass to see what you think.

    What really stimulates me is meeting talented, passionate people who are great at creating new things. In general, I like to meet impressive people in all industries, but, being such a nerd, I really am intrigued by those that accomplish this in the digital space.  I’m talking about a great business builder, coder, designer or whatever.  Someone who has achieved mastery in one of the crafts necessary to engender digital innovation and, who call it, “creating cool shit.” :)

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  • Smart Money Diving into Colombian Internet Companies

    brandsbag launchWhen my friend, Jorge Pulido, from PriceWaterHouse invited me to a launch party, I never expected it to be such an impressive launch of an Internet company for the Colombian market. The company is called BrandsBag and it’s entering full speed ahead into the Colombian market with a flash sales site targeting women who love fashion.

    What’s most interesting about this new endeavor is that it is a mix of impressive entrepreneurs from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia that have decided to start their Latin American strategy from Colombia.  As I mentioned previously in a NYTimes article, the Brazilian Internet market is on fire and more and more US VC’s are investing in that country.  Nevertheless, witnessing the impressive launch tonight of BrandsBag confirms our confidence in Colombia as a country from which to launch Latin American-wide Internet initiatives and funding these initiatives through our new Micro VC fund,  Tayrona Ventures.

    alan delioI had the chance to meet the leaders of BrandsBag such as Diego Rodriguez and Delio Epaminondas (with me in the photo on the left).  These are sharp business people who are extremely serious about transforming the shopping experience in the region and see Colombia as an excellent lauchpad to achieve this objective throughout Latin America.  The country boasts a growing middle class, internet penetration and ecommerce increasing at above 40% and a market with overpriced fashion items (sometimes more than 100% markup above prices in other countries).

    As Marc Andreessen mentioned in a previous WSJ article, software is indeed eating up industry after industry as digital innovation takes hold. In countries such as Colombia, the potential is even greater since competition in markets such as retail is much less ferocious allowing incumbents to charge an arm and a leg.  These types of companies are ripe for disruption and make Colombia an ideal market to provide new (digital) offerings that can be incredibly profitable and still undercut the established players.  BrandsBag is betting big on Colombia and in the process has a chance to showcase the potential of this country as a profitable gateway/launchpad to the rest of Latin America.