I wrote my monthly column in the Chilean daily El Mercurio about some of the interesting startups from Latin America that are starting to do business in the US. An excerpt from the English translation here (full English and Spanish versions:
A few weeks ago, COPEC, a Chilean convenience store and gasoline service station chain, acquired Delek, a US convenience store and gas station chain with 348 US locations for $535MM. COPEC has operations in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama, but this is their first foray into the US market. It’s an important step for Chile because it shows that both big companies and startups alike shouldn’t be scared of the US market. In fact, they should view the US market as a big opportunity to expand outside of their home markets.
For way too long, when Chilean companies large and small have wanted to expand out of Chile, they’d look at Peru, Colombia and maybe Mexico. But we’re recently seeing a big change, both by startups and by big companies like COPEC.
It’s important to show Chileans that they shouldn’t be scared of the largest market in the world and that there are opportunities to diversify outside of Latin America. At Magma, we’ve seen a multitude of entrepreneurs pitch and many of them are scared of the US. They think that the market’s too big. That it’s too competitive. That all of the problems are solved in the US and that’s its difficult to compete from Chile. In reality, it’s a lack of confidence.