What is startup success?

For a startup coming out of Peru, 1 million paid users seems like a good measurement.

Joinnus, an event platform, recently announced that 1 million people have used its technology to attend events in Peru. The startup builds community by providing a way for people to find their way to book fairs, concerts, sporting events, and workshops. Their long tail strategy  connects people from all walks of life and interests.

Hard-working founders, scrappy, and soft-spoken founders, Carolina Botto and Domingo Seminario, have gone up against big incumbents with great founder-startup fit and a genuine mission to join people together. The startup has been a beneficiary of a strong ecosystem in Peru, accelerated by Wayra and UTEC Ventures. Javier Salinas of EmprendeUP played a key role in securing their recent financing round.

Success is for startup founders is often hard to define and fleeting. Startups need to grow fast and every milestone reached brings a new challenge. We often celebrate fundraising rounds, when we should be celebrating exits. The reality is that there are many steps along the startup journey, all are worth celebrating, every metric reached, every new team member.

Joinnus’s 1,000,000 users it is big deal – for the startup and Peru. It may not fit into a sustainable development goal, but in an increasingly divisive, sometimes lonely world, using technology to get people together to experience sports, art, culture and music is an impact we can all celebrate.

Join me in celebrating the success of Joinnus!

Teasers: the CVs of Startups

A teaser, or one-pager, is a great way to share a startup’s story and value proposition. The purpose of a teaser is to spark interest and lead to a meeting.

A good teaser, like a good CV, includes relevant information in a standard structure, and has just enough creativity to not get lost in the pile.

SmartBeauty, a startup that is part of LIQUID Venture Studio, has a great teaser. Here is a link to the full teaser.

Kamelia Rodriguez, founder of SmartBeauty, follows some best practices that can be helpful for founders seeking to improve their teaser.

How to make a teaser:

1. Use a standard structure. SmartBeauty’s teaser has done a great job covering the following key points:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Market
  • Business model
  • Competitive dynamics
  • Competitive advantage
  • Team

2. Add uniqueness. Use images of the product, diagrams of the business model, and logos of investors or clients. This will implant a picture of your startup in the reader’s mind.

3. Include some numbers. The teaser is supposed to be shared widely so it is mostly public information. Smart Beauty includes enough numbers (# clients, LTV/CAC ratio) to show the team is measuring the correct metrics for their B2B business model.

4. Analyze market dynamics. The founder’s job is to show market expertise. This can be accomplished by providing market size, growth, and key players. Add the startup’s competitive advantage in order to answer the question – how will you win?

How to use a teaser:

1. Get warm intros. When you ask for intros, the teaser will make it easy for others to share information in your own words.

2. Ask for a call or meeting. Send directly to potential investors to signal you are looking for a round of capital. Nicolas di Pace of Culqi, mentioned the one-pager as a necessary document for raising an investment round.

3. Fill out applications. Many programs have similar questionnaires and forms. When you have a standard teaser, it is a great starting point to fill out those applications quickly and with more clarity.

El Padrino

His Linkedin bio says “Economista”. That is a major understatement and seems much too theoretical for Gonzalo Villarán Córdova.

Over ten years ago, before most of us knew what a startup was or that they could one day exist in Peru, Gonzalo got to work. He became startup evangelist, or padrino, for the local ecosystem. Since then, he has methodically helped build an ecosystem, piece by piece, with leadership roles in both the private and public sectors.

Gonzalo started Peru Capital Network, the first angel investor network in Peru.  He was then Gerente de Negocios at Wayra Peru for two years where he invested in many great startups including, Culqi, Joinnus, and Crehana.

Gonzalo was the first Director of UTEC Ventures during its launch phase and hired Andres Benavides, who led the Peru Ventures Capital Conference and manages Ruta Startup. Gonzalo is also a Director of the investor group The Board.

Most recently, Gonzalo worked at Ministerio de la Producción, first as Director General de Innovación, Tecnologia, Digitalización y Formalización and then as Executive Director of Instituto Tecnólogico de la Producción. In these roles, he worked with the StartUp Peru program, which has provided a foundational support for the entire ecosystem. During that time he was also team champion for MIT REAP https://reap.mit.edu, a global consulting program.

The list of the people that have worked for Gonzalo, or the founders he has supported, encompasses almost the entire startup community. Maybe the title “economista” is apt after all, given that backing high tech entrepreneurs is a proven way to achieve economic growth.

The 100/10/1 funnel

A standard rule of thumb for startup selection processes in Latin America is 100/10/1. Out of every 100 startups reviewed, 10 are selected for further evaluation and 1 receives financing.  These ratios can be observed across the capital stack – from accelerator programs to later stage venture capital funds. 

Real life examples: 

  • Seedstars Lima Regional Summit reviewed 95 startups and out of 30 startups that made the first cut, 8 were selected as finalists. Only one startup, ManzanaVerde, was selected as best startup.
  • MassChallenge Mexico selected 35 out of 745 startups across the region. Out of these startups, only one will receive equity free funding. 
  •  500 Startups LatAm batch ten recently invested in 11 startups out of over 1,000 applications

From a founder’s perspective, this means you will hear “no” a lot, as Andres Benavides wrote. But, having these ratios in mind can help you strategize.

Know where you are in the funnel and act accordingly. Work to get to from 100 to 10, and then from 10 to 1.

First, get from 100 to 10:

  • Take a long term strategy. Applying this year can increase your chance of acceptance in future years
  • Apply to programs whose purpose and selection criteria match well with your startup
  • Use current relationships and investors to provide warm intros
  • Ask where you are in each stage of the process and next steps to gauge probabilities

Next, get from 10 to 1:

  • Get into selection round/due diligence with a few potential programs and investors in parallel
  • Refine you pitch and get ready to present to an investment committee or panel of judges
  • Be responsive to requests for further information
  • Have a reference list ready for current investors or clients
  • Reach out to current portfolio companies to inquire about the program or fund
  • Be proactive in showing interest and sharing how you will get the most out of the program or what you hope to add to the accelerator batch or fund portfolio

If it doesn’t work out, apply again next cycle. Your startup will be in a much different (and better!) place than 12 months ago. If you can show progress between cycles it will do wonders to getting from 100 to 1!

New entrant of the year

Seedstars has entered Lima with a bang! Lima is now one of 13 cities in the world that Seedstars has indetified as a global hub. 

The startup accelerator is not a new actor in the Lima ecosystem. Last year, the program ran a great speed dating session in Lima, and previously, startups TuRuta and Rebajatuscuentas.com have been selected from Lima to represent Peru in international competitions. 

Now, Seedstars has entered alongside Seedspace to provide comprehensive support for startup founders. Seedstars’s global network and best practices complements Seedspace’s physical space for founders to learn and grow. Check out the facebook page and stop by the new location.

June 27th is the selection panel for the first group of companies. Congrats to Check, Kambista, Yegoh, Sportafolio, Manzana Verde, WAWA Laptop, Xubium, Rextie for being selected as finalists for the pitch competition.

This is one more validation of the quality of startup founders in the city. Adding a new permanent accelerator program in Lima is one more step to building critical mass in our ecosystem and helps founders seek international opportunities.

Get out of the country

My first lesson in startup idea generation came from Ricardo Espinoza during the Lean Startup Machine workshop: get out of the building. In order to create products people want to buy, founders need to leave the office, get in front of a lot of potential customers, and get instant feedback.

Once the launch phase is complete and you are ready to scale, it is time to get out of the country. Taking short trips to scout out neighboring markets can be an enriching part of the startup journey.

Why go:

  • Meet other founders solving similar problems in their home markets who can provide valuable contacts in the local startup ecosystem
  • Spend some money now ($1,000-$1,500 on a 2-3 day trip) to help you inform big strategic decisions before deploying even more capital blindly
  • Build relationships with investors to put yourself in a position to raise a successful round

How to set up a trip:

  • Apply to regional accelerator programs (Rockstart has applications up until July 7th)
  • Ask your current investors and program managers to make warm intros. This will allow you to set up a few days of meetings.
  • Plan your trip around a startup or venture capital conference to ensure you meet people from across the region.
Startup founders from Colombia, Chile, México and Peru at the InversionistasAP Roadshow in Mexico City (Photo from Chile Global Ventures)

Here are some founders who are getting out of the country in June. Last week, Peruvian founders Jaime Chiarella of Riqra and Roberto Vargas of Betriax participated in the South Summit in Bogota. This week, Ivonne Quiñones of Urbaner, Jose Delmar of Anda, and Fernando D’Alessio of Juntoz, represented Peru for the InversionistasAP Demo Day on Monday June 24th in Mexico City. They all took advantage of these trips to stay extra days to meet potential investors and clients and understand how the startup community work in Mexico.

Follow the example of these founders and get out of the country!

Meeting basic needs

Focusing on everyday issues that effect a large quantity of people who live in close proximity is a proven recipe for startup success. It’s good news for startup founders that most people in Latin America live in cities!

Startups across Latin America use technology to help urban populations meet basic needs of living, moving, and eating. Latin America is not a easy place to live, but these startups are helping people live better lives -allowing them to save time and money.

Levels of Urbanization in Latin American countries:

Peru’s urban population increased from 63% in 1978 to 78% in 2017, according to the World Bank.

Due to limited affordable housing options, people live far from their place of work, often criss-crossing the city to get from home to work to school and back.

In a large city like Lima, you can’t go a day with out someone commenting on the debilitating traffic congestion – or great food options, for that matter.

Startups are taking on these issues head on and proving real, scalable solutions.

Three key trends:

Living (proptech and fintech) – Startups help people find housing and access financial products that make purchasing a home more accessible.

Moving (mobility) – Urban areas with insufficient public transportation and unsafe taxis have benefited from the entrance of mobility and micro-mobility startups. New solutions are improving mass transportation as well.

Eating (Food and foodtech) – Getting food from farm to plate is hard. Food startups are the addressing important points of the entire value chain of producing food products and providing them to individuals in an efficient manner.

Here are some examples in Peru:

These startups in Peru help people in Lima meet basic needs. Lima’s population of almost 10 million people will provide ample opportunity for them to achieve significant scale.

Global and local investors are taking notice and driving capital toward startups in these three areas. In fact, a recently launched venture capital fund called Arpegio has a investment thesis to “look for companies that are using technology to solve problems anywhere along (and around) the global food supply chain.” Arpegio was lauched by Gonzalo Perez, a Peruvian founder who most recently led startup logistics Bend.

In July, Lima will host a ProPtech Latam Workday  to highlight innovations in the real estate sector and how startups are contributing to positive change.

31 Abrazos

Last week Pedro Neira posted an article announcing the close of operations for MiMediaManzana, the startup he led for six years. The article is a fresh example of transparency and leadership from a leading founder in Peru.

Peru’s startup community stepped up by adding comments to the post congratulating Pedro and thanking him for writing the article. Fellow founders, investors, and ecosystem actors – even from outside Peru – contributed support. As of today, there are 31 comments on the public post and 36 additional comments on a separate post on Pedro’s LinkedIn page.

This type of affirmation and support will make it easier for other founders to stake out on their own, dream big, stick it out through tough times, and make a lasting impact.

The Peru startup community has grown stronger under the leadership of Pedro and founders like him. MiMediaManzana may not exist after June 20th, but if this type praise is any indication, we have not seen the last of Pedro Neira.

Organigramas for startups

Creating org charts, or organigramas (sounds much better in Spanish!), presents challenges for startup founders. In initial startup stages, team members take on multiple roles. Later on, the team grows quickly, but somehow has to increase output per person.

Making an organigrama will help to clarify responsibilities and match goals with roles. It will also help you set up a replicable model (perhaps by country), as you scale and enter new markets.

Org chart example with roles instead of names and space for future hires

Tips for startup organigramas:

Start with roles, then add names. This allows you to think together with co-founders or key team members to find an optimal structure. Then you can add names and put some people in multiple boxes.

Be flexible, then update. Startups move fast. Don’t be afraid to try one structure one month and shift the next. If you are using scrum as a framework for process management, your team will be accustomed to moving around.

First today’s, then tomorrow’s. Make an org chart for how your team is organized today, then another for how it should be organized in the future. This will help identify key hires and signal to your board or potential investors how you plan to grown.

If you are interested in reading more about Org charts, check out this article: 10 Org Chart Styles We Admire (And the One We Use at Buffer)

3 more years!

If over the last four years in Peru you have seen:

  • an improvement in startup pitches,
  • more female founders,
  • better media exposure for the startup ecosystem,
  • more prepared program directors, and
  • more startup experts sharing stories in Peru . . .

. . . there is a common force behind these trends: the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP).

The program recently culminated its first four-year period and wasted no time launching the second, three-year, phase.  Last week, Charlotte Ducrot, Program Manager of Swiss EP in Peru, gave an update on the Peru startup community’s progress. Many, if not all, of the programs have been directly supported by Swiss EP:

Slide from Swiss EP Presentation: Panorama general del ecosistema emprendedor peruano

The breadth of the support, both geographic (diaspora to provinces) and startup lifecycle (incubators to angel investing to PECAP) has been unmatched and reverberated through the startup community:

  1. Support of many incubators and accelerators across all of Peru, primarily in areas of investor readiness including a workshop at latest years PVCC
  2. Entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) program, including 12 EIRs in 12 incubators, accelerators or angel networks
  3. Organized Peer Exchange Meetup, a workshop for Peruvian incubators and accelerators in Switzerland. One of the follow-up actions included 13 speed mentoring sessions to promote a mentorship culture
  4. Launch and institutionalization of PECAP and promotion of initiatives like the quarterly report and legal documents for seed rounds
  5. Promoting gender diversity by supporting female founders through experiences like Women Entrepreneurship Week.
  6. Bringing Peruvians living abroad back to Peru to speak with local ecosystem actors
  7. Workshop for members of the media to understand key concepts

The truth is, in almost every major ecosystem event or project over the last four years, SwissEP, has been involved in coordinating, bringing international experts for strategic advice, promoting collaboration among organisations, and community building.

Slide from Swiss EP Presentation: Panorama general del ecosistema emprendedor peruano

You rarely see them, because they play a background role, but they are behind the progress of our startup community. Here they are:

Swiss EP Team

We are lucky to have them as a backbone to the ecosystem for 3 more years!

You can learn more about the work of Swiss EP and connect with the Peru startup community by signing up for their excellent monthly newsletter here.

Swiss EP is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and operated by Swisscontact and JE Austin in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Peru, and Vietnam.

Next level

Getting to the next level requires next level talent.

Two startup transactions were front and center at PECAP’s May meetup. During the meeting, Ragi Burhum announced the sale of AmigoCloud, and Alain Elias, president of PECAP, shared the Q1 report, highlighting Krealo’s investment in Culqi.

A common thread in both startups is the founders’ superpower of hiring and retaining talent. Ragi, at AmigoCloud, and Amparo Nalvarte and Nicolas di Pace, of Culqi, achieved success by building a supporting cast of key contributors.

Faces behind the founders:

Diego, Pierina, Rodrigo, and William

Diego Bartra, Head of Professional Services, AmigoCloud: Began his career at Tekton Labs then led programs at Startup Peru. Graduate of Universidad de Pacifico.

Pierina Salinas, Head of Operations, AmigoCloud: Previously part of the founding team at UTEC Ventures. Graduate of Universidad de Lima.

Rodrigo Neira, CFO, Culqi: Previously held impactful positions at Belcorp and Chemonics International. Graduate of Universidad de Piura.

William Muro, CTO, Culqi: Five years building product at Culqi following graduation from Universidad Tecnológica del Perú.

The founders of these startups will be the first to give credit to these and other team members that played a key role in getting to the finish line. While founders dedicate time almost exclusively to the transaction, the rest of the team helps out and at the same time ensures the startup continues to deliver results.

AmigoCloud and Culqi are still growing and writing their stories. The next level of talent, below the founders, will become an increasingly important part of future success.

Check out the Q1 2019 PECAP Report here.

When 10 is < 1%

This week the 500 Startups Latam batch 10 was announced. Eleven startups were selected out out of 1,420 applicants – an acceptance rate of 0.8%!

Patrick Wakeham, CEO of Apurata, presenting at the 500 Startups Investor Night in Lima, Peru.

It is a good reminder that:

  1. The number of startups across Latin America is growing. The growth of applicants compared to batch 9 in 2018 was over 50%.
  2. Startup investors are very selective. Being chosen for any program, including StartupPeru, UTEC Ventures, or LIQUID Ventures Studio, is a big deal. Founders and investors in these programs can be proud of what they have accomplished and know they are in special company.
  3. Founding teams from Peru belong to the exclusive 500 Latam community. Apurata, Decompris, Rebajatuscuentas.com, and Fitco are all part of the #500STRONG family. None of the startups from batch 10 are from Peru, but not being selected isn’t a reason to give up, it’s a reason to keep trying.

Last night, 500 Startups held its first Investor Night of 2019 at Comunal Coworking in Lima. The event was a sponsored by Porto Legal. A great collaboration of leading startup community players in Peru and Latin America.

Guardians of the startup ecosystem

Startups aren’t exactly the best clients. Neither are early stage investors for that matter. The lawyers that take them on are an essential part of our ecosystem.

Working with small startups doesn’t make legal work less complicated. Cap tables have lists of 30 or more investors, new rounds are raised every 6 or 12 months, and everybody wants an options pool. None of it is easy, but somehow needs to be done in order for interests to be aligned and exit paths to remain feasible. Lawyers often spend the time picking up the pieces after decisions are made, all the while knowing that getting paid probably depends on a successful future fundraising round.

Fortunately, a new crop of lawyers is shaping around the startup ecosystem in Peru. They are taking their own professional risks by jumping in and are entrusted with making sure that the ecosystem is built on a solid legal ground.

Here is a summary of some of the startup ecosystem lawyers I have come across in Peru. I have divided them in two main groups:

Alexandra Orbezo, who I put in the Transformer group, and Jose Miguel Porto, a Pioneer, were first movers in the startup ecosystem in Peru. Alexandra leads the venture capital practice at Rebaza, which has a long history of working with venture clients, including Naspers, Cinepapaya and Delivery Hero. Jose Miguel, of Porto Legal, and a UTEC Ventures mentor, worked on the recent Xertica round as well as led to process of creating seed round legal documents with PECAP.

Other transformers include Janett Burga at Rebaza, and Itala Bertolotti, who leads the charge to support startups at Muñiz. Diego Carrión of Hernandez & Co. and Augusto Caceres of Rodrigo round out the group.

The Pioneer group includes the Sumara Hub Legal team of Alvaro Castro, Juan Jose Hopkins, Angie Umezawa, who are experts in fintech, the largest startup segment in Latin America, as well as venture capital fund formation and structuring. Sofia Yague, who started Next Legal, is a essential link for startups that are interested in setting up international holding company structures and preparing for Series A financing rounds. Alberto Arrieta, of Legal Ventures, has been a key advisor to startup founders for raising seed rounds and corporate governance, among other things. Francisco Davalos is a valued advisor to many startups that have passed through 500 Startups Latam. Finally, Oscar Montezuma is building a unique cutting edge, legal practice at Niubox Legal. He is a key industry leader, in both words and example, for the legal profession in Peru.

These Transformers and Pioneers are the keepers and protectors of our startup ecosystem. We depend on them and they are looking out for us.

Goals for everyone

If you are a startup founder in Latin America, you are making an impact. It may be time to start measuring that impact – and sharing the results.

The United Nations has taken a leadership role in creating and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals have trickled down from global investors, to the funds they invest in, and now into startups that receive capital. Look no further than the recents investments by Acumen in Crehana and IDB in Cabify for examples of impactful startups that have received backing from global investors.

Why measure these goals?

  • Your investors care. Many funds have the sustainable development goals explicitly in their investment criteria. When you track these metrics, you will open more doors and be ready for an investment evaluation process.
  • Your employees care. Startups compete with better-funded corporates to attract talent. Providing a challenging role and genuine purpose levels the playing field
  • You care. Won’t it be more fun to wake up in the morning knowing exactly how much you are contributing to a global sustainable development? Something you can brag about at startup events when everyone else is talking about the latest funding round.

Start small and specific

Pick a metric and start tracking results each quarter. Take time to make sure you are using the recommended methodology. Over time, I think you will be happily surprised with how much you are doing for the world – and how many people want to help you accomplish your goals.

The first cap tables

I visited Mystic Seaport on a recent trip back to USA and my home state of Connecticut. Unexpectedly, it gave me a chance to observe how whaling trips were financed.

Whaling crews would leave for one to two year journeys to hunt sperm whale off the coast of South America. From a financing perspective, there are parallels to the venture capital industry today, as highlighted in The Economist article entitled Fin-tech.

In order to align incentives and keep crew members motivated, an agreement was made to divide future profit among all parties. 

    • Every crew member, down to the cabin boy, had predetermined share of the profits
    • The captain’s share, typically 1/15th, was much less than what is recommended for startup founders today. (startup cap table tips )

Below is an example of what a “capitalization table” looked like.  If you zoom in on the right hand column you can see the amount of shares allocated to each crew member.

Reality Check

In his book, Principles, prominent investor Ray Dalio writes “truth — or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality — is the essential foundation for any good outcome.” In fact, the first life principle he mentions in the book is “embrace reality and deal with it.”

What is the reality of the Peru startup ecosystem?

First, investment dollars in Peru are small compared to the total in the region.

Data from Peru is from PECAP, while the regional data is from LAVCA. Importantly, the Peru numbers do not include Series A investment rounds in MiMediaManzana, Turismoi and Xertica.

Second, Peru is ranked in the middle of the region both in terms of investment environment and as a technology hub.

LAVCA 2017/2018 Scorecard

What does this mean for founders and investors in Peru?

  1. Focus on maximizing future potential rather than limiting risk (it’s hard enough as it is)
  2. Expect success to take longer, require more work, and involve more unexpected costs
  3. Augment the number of potential investors by seeking regional integration
  4. Seek to maintain future optionality by optimizing capitalization table over valuation
  5. Engage current investors and cultivate potential investors, even those that said “no” the first time

Peru poised to become an Edtech hub

Startup founders are a perfect match for the education sector in Peru.  Founders are experts at identifying problems, finding solutions, and taking on the challenge to deliver an impact.

Here are a few reasons why Peru is a great place to launch and scale a startup in the education space:

Large need coupled with a willingness to pay

Unfortunately, public education in Peru is ranked near the bottom of global rankings. In order to learn more, many Peruvians are turning to private options. Enrollment at private university has outpaced that of public universities and many education companies with traditional business models, including Intercorp (UTP) and Laureate (UPC), have dramatically increased the size of their student bodies even as they improve quality.

History of impact driven innovation

Over the last ten years, significant impact has been made by both for-profit and non-profit actors. Innova Schools has been a pioneer in K-12 private education with a model that is being now being replicated in Mexico. Enseña Peru, also in the K-12 space, has been a non-profit leader in Peru by impacting students in underserved areas as well as the professionals who have taught in the classrooms. UTEC, a new university in Peru, has quickly positioned itself as the leading engineering university, implementing forward thinking initiatives such as an early stage accelerator and open book exams.

Startups exist across the traditional spectrum of education

There are already a full array of startups in Peru from early childhood to lifelong learning that are addressing local market needs. The presence of local players is not a reason to stay a way, it is a reason to learn alongside other founders and use Peru as an education sandbox to test ideas and iterate.

Success stories and regional thought leaders

Trailblazers in Edtech are already paving the way. The largest financing round for Peruvian startup, of any kind, was raised by Crehana, an Edtech startup. Diego Olcese and his team attracted investment from both regional venture capital funds and global funds with an Edtech focus. Laboratoria is making a large impact and is Mariana Costa a thought-leader globally.  

The best is yet to come

All of the ingredients exist for Lima to become a hub for innovation education in Latin America. UTEC Ventures’s recent decision to launch an EdTech program, one of the few sector-specific initiatives in Lima, will add further support and incentives for regional startup to come to Peru.

Perhaps next steps to strengthen the Edtech startup community in Lima could be to incorporate local education experts as startup advisors and build startups that offer value propositions directed at teachers and the government, not only students. There are many people in Peru with deep pedagogical expertise that could contribute a necessary perspective around quality. Including them and working with governmental education providers will help lead to systemic change.

I have no doubt that current and future startup founders will take on this challenge and be the drivers of impact, not just in the startup world but in millions of lives through education.

3 reasons to attend the Lima Fintech Forum

Like many things in the Lima startup community, the Lima Fintech Forum keeps getting better with age. The conference is becoming a standard bearer in the region.

According to LAVCA a report, “Fintech is the #1 sector of VC investment by dollars and #deals in Latin America with $540 million and 94 deals” in the 18 months from January 2017 to June 2018. Fintech accounted for 63% of venture capital deals in Peru during the same time period.

This year’s Fintech Forum. led by Luis Jose Giove, promises a full agenda. Here are a few highlights:

  1. Public policy dialogue

    • What: Luis Jose Giove will lead a panel with leaders of five fintech associations in the region.
    • Why is it important: Any regulatory framework for fintech startups should be a regional effort. This is a must see panel to get into real issues and a great example of ecosystem integration.
  2. Regional perspective

    • What: Panel of venture capital fund managers including Adelina Dasso of Accion, Miguel Herrera of Quona Capital, and Jorge Farfan of Bamboo Capital. Moderated by Alvaro Castro, a local lawyer, with experience both with startups and early stage funds.
    • Why is it important: Regional investors provide the downstream capital for our local startup ecosystem. They bring important perspectives and learnings from other emerging markets.
  3. Founders’ pitches!

    • What: Apply to pitch here before April 21st for a chance to present on the main stage. Stay tuned for the list of founders that will present.
    • Why is it important: Putting founders in the spotlight and and have them share their story build ecosystem. It is their growing companies that make the impact for clients, users and employees. At the end of the day, we are here to help them reach their dreams.

The consistent execution of the Lima Fintech Forum over the years builds trusts and generates value for founders and investors. EmprendeUP, led by Javier Salinas, is leading the way for Lima to to become a Fintech destination in Latin America!


Startup Metrics – Scale

If you are a founder you have likely faced the dreaded scale question: Is this scalable? After asking the question myself, I realized that I didn’t know what it meant. I am still trying to figure out.

Here are some steps to answer the question:

  1. Ask the person to clarify the question, and determine whether they are thinking about scale in a specific way.
  2. Say you are not focused on scale right now. You are doing things that don’t scale on purpose.
  3. Use specific examples of small wins, when possible with a time dimension:
    • Revenue is growing, even when number of people on the team doesn’t
    • Revenue has been achieved in another city or country without having a local team
    • Sales cycle has decreased due to streamlined processes
    • Customers are coming back to buy more often
    • A new sales channel results in reaching more clients with the same effort
    • You have resold existing software or content to another customer
  4. Use benchmarks of successful startups in your industry or with a similar business model and talk about how they have grown.
  5. Walk through a scenario of how your startup could grow over time. Answer the questions: “how does this get really big?” or “what does this look like in an optimal case?” This will show investors you are thinking big and also have an idea how to get there.

One way to think about scale is exerting less effort to achieve the same or more value over time.  Start analyzing your business model and have conversations with investors and advisors about how to grow your business in a non-linear way.

Save the Date! – Peru Venture Capital Conference

The date is set for this year’s Peru Venture Capital Conference. It will be held October 16th and 17th in Lima.

For this fourth addition, UTEC Ventures and COFIDE will once again team up along with PRODUCE and Startup Peru to organize the event in what has been a successful formula in the past. They do a great job incorporating input across the regional startup community and creating momentum in order to make the event a valuable experience for all.


Founders highlight the conference and have space to mingle with investors. The organizing team is actively looking for participants and speakers in areas of venture capital, angel investing, and impact investing.

Last year’s conference was also a multi-day event with lectures, workshops and startup pitches. Here are some posts on the 2018 PVCC with a summary of the content and takeaways.

Set your calendar and come to Lima to share and learn alongside fellow members of our regional startup community.

Stay tuned to the website for more info here: https://www.peruventurecapitalconference.com