Peru startup founders never lacked aspiration, they just lacked options.
After five years of facing limited financing options in Peru that required founders to take a traditional, and local, path to raising capital, a new route has opened.
Historically, WAYRA and Endeavor Peru, as some of the first actors in the Peru startup community, have had the most recognized path to success, having supported startups like Cinepapaya, Chazki, Crehana, Culqi, Quantum Talent, Xertica, among others. Thanks in part to support from WAYRA and Endeavor Peru, these startups have managed to raise money from regional venture capital funds and local corporations. There also did exist a lane to US-based funding, through Y Combinator, but it was mostly reserved for serial founders with well-established funds.
Recently, UTEC Ventures, AVP, Inca Ventures, Winnipeg Capital, and others have stepped in to provide financing to early stage startups in Peru. Many of the founders they have backed have gone on to build fast growing local and regional companies and raise subsequent capital at higher valuations. This path has put startups in position to enter regional accelerator programs, like 500 Startups and Parallel18, or receive funding from regional investment funds like Alaya Capital, Clout Capital, and Krealo.
Now, a new path to success has opened up, that adds new options. It passes through UTEC Ventures and Winnipeg Capital and leads to Y Combinator, allowing a new crop of less connected founders a chance to access US-based funding.
Over the past two programs of Y Combinator, 4 startups from UTEC Ventures and 3 from Winnipeg Capital have been selected. These numbers are a huge increase from the historical average of 1 Peru startup per year, mostly startups led by repeat founders with previous connections. UTEC Ventures and Winnipeg Capital invested early on, sometimes prior to product-market fit and coached founders through the Y Combinator process.
This new avenue has opened the door to a more diverse range of startup founders and increased options for startup founders in Peru, by providing a direct path to capital in the U.S.
There are now multiple financing paths for startups in Peru – a clear sign of a maturing startup community that puts founders first.