Episode 23 of Crossing Borders Podcast with Psafe’s founder Marco DeMello, a Brazil mobile security company that’s raised more than $90M in venture capital to create a profitable business.
Codie Sanchez is a finance professional from the US who has deep experience in Latin America. She started off as a journalist, but moved into finance and works with high net work individuals and family offices while angel investing and helping startups.
Santiago Zavala is a Mexican entrepreneur turned investor who now runs 500 Startups in Mexico City. He has a very cool story and sheds light into the Mexican startup scene.
This post is an excerpt of a blog post that appeared on my personal blog with the title What Entrepreneurs Should Expect While Doing Business in Paraguay where you can read the entire post.
The landlocked country of Paraguay flies below the radar for many entrepreneurs and travelers alike. Home to 6.7 million people, Paraguay has a GDP of $27.44 billion as of 2016, representing 0.4% of the world economy. Minimum wage is 1,964,507 Guaranies per month, which comes out to roughly US$353. Paraguay is a major producer of hydroelectricity, and the Itaipú dam, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy, is on the Paraná river. Paraguay had the highest economic growth in South America from 1970 – 2013, averaging 7.2% per year, albeit from a low base. Paraguay has a moderate inflation rate of 5% on average and international reserves of 20% of GDP, twice the amount of the external national debt.
Paraguay is the second-largest producer of both stevia and tung oil in the world, as well as the sixth-largest producer of soybeans and corn. While unemployment remains low at roughly 4.9%, studies estimate that 30-40% of the population is poor, and in rural areas, 41.2% of the population lacks the monthly income to cover basic necessities.
Jason Grullón is the cofounder of Virtu, a sustainable fashion brand that produces most of its apparel in his native Dominican Republic. Please enjoy this episode of the Crossing Borders Podcast.
Federico Vega is an Argentine entrepreneur from a small town in Patagonia who made his way to England, started a business, go a university degree and ended up working in finance. He moved back to Argentina to start his business, which ended up not working. He didn’t give up and moved to Brazil, where he went through massive adversity before finding product market fit and getting investment from Goldman Sachs.
Chile just launched a new tech visa that allows startup founders or tech workers to get visas approved within 15 business days. We think this is a game changer. As countries like the US are making it harder for people to come and work in the US, Chile is opening its arms to people with skills. For a more in depth analysis read Nathan’s post on his personal blog about Chile’s Tech Visa or the Spanish language article from Chile’s La Tercera.
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in Inc with the title How to Raise Venture Capital if You’re Outside the United States and on Nathan Lustig’s blog.
Over the past three years, I’ve been working with 30+ companies that have their bases across Latin America build their businesses. Many of these companies are really US companies that just happen to have a tech and sales team in Latin America and want to raise capital in the US. Others are Latin America B2B companies that would love to raise money in the US, but have found hard sledding.
When I first got started, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find investors to follow in on our companies and our strategies were all wrong. In 2015, I got on a plane to California with Adrian Fisher, the founder of PropertySimple, to take his company to the US market. He’d build an amazing product, similar to Zillow, but in Chile, and 1000+ real estate agents using his product and millions of people using PropiedadFacil to find properties.
As more Magma companies start to do business in Mexico, I’ve started to learn more about the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem. I wrote a guide to the Mexican VC ecosystem that I hope helps entrepreneurs looking for funding in Mexico have a roadmap of Mexican funds. From the post:
Mexico is the most interesting startup ecosystem in Latin America. It’s interesting because:
- Population (125m, Mexico City has more people than Chile)
- Biggest Latin American economy leads to startups servicing local market
- Proximity to the US leads to more global vision from entrepreneurs
- US companies with their tech back offices in Mexico
- US funds with presence in Mexico
There are three important cities for tech in Mexico, although there is activity in many other cities, too.