The best of the best – Seedstars comes to Peru

This week marked the Seedstars LATAM Summit (#SSWLATAM) in Lima, Peru. It was a punctuation mark to a year full of startup community events in Lima that included Foro Xcala, 2 fintech conferences, PVCC and WeXchange. By my count, that is 6 regional events  for the calendar year. Add to this the multiple other local events, and we have had a great year in the Peru startup community. Continue reading “The best of the best – Seedstars comes to Peru”

Why play catch-up when we can integrate?

We often talk about Peru startup ecosystem in terms of how far behind we are to neighboring startup ecosystems and what we need to do to catch-up.  In the meantime, founders are pushing the envelope by expanding to new cities across the region. They are demonstrating that the way to accelerate our growth as an ecosystem is not to catch-up, but to integrate.

Here are some examples of how this is happening in practice:

A siloed approach (i.e.  focused only internally) to startup community development will be limiting in a small market like Peru with challenges of talent and capital. We can help founders by working to get foreign investment (capital) into startups in Peru and make Lima a destination for founders (talent) in the region.

Let’s stop playing catch-up. Let’s connect and integrate into an increasingly dynamic and interconnected startup community in Latin America.

Founders helping founders

This week during CADE Ejecutivo, a conference for business leaders in Peru, Endeavor Peru is playing an important role by showcasing some great startup founders. Endeavor is hosting various activities, including startup pitches, in one of the conference areas.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of Endeavor Peru. From the beginning, Endeavor recognized that founders are key “nodes” of a healthy startup community. As the startup community in Peru matures we are seeing more and more founders working with other founders as advisors and mentors. This is a natural evolution of the startup ecosystem and a great sign. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have been at the center. Here are a few examples:

These are four entrepreneurs who, while fully immersed in their current companies, still find time to circle back and get involved with other founders. It is part of their founder DNA.

It is no surprise that all four founders are Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Endeavor Peru, a pioneer of the startup ecosystem in Peru, continues to leave a mark by reinforcing the benefits of having founders give back. This creates a mutually beneficial virtuous cycle that will sustain and push our startup community.

5 reporting tools for startup founders

More founders in Peru are using web-based reporting tools to share information with their teams and stakeholders.

Here are a few I have seen:

Why reporting tools are important:

  1. Force founders to focus on only the most important metrics
  2. Improve efficiency by inputting and accessing data on mobile-devices 
  3. Keep teams aligned real-time

Blended approach is enriching our startup community

One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a startup founder or investor to chat. Face-to-face meetings strengthen the connections that are the cornerstone of our ecosystem. There is no substitute. Recently, however, I was struck by how much we can accelerate our connections to the local and regional startup community by integrating technology into our day-to-day communication by creating a blended approach. Blended learning, but for startup communities.

Here are examples of a blended approach:

  1. At the Endeavor Peru Matchmaking event, the team from Carao Ventures participated by videoconference from Costa Rica to talk with 8 founders in Lima.
  2. For the WeXchange pitch competition, over 400 founders connected with 50 judges by video before choosing the 6 finalists who came to Lima for the final, in-person pitch.
  3. At a recent Angel Ventures monthly committee in Lima 5 investors and 1 founder participated in-person, while 1 investor (located on the other side of Lima) and 1 founding team (located in Colombia) connected over video.

If Endeavor, WeXchange and Angel Ventures had relied solely on in-person interaction, none of these connections would have happened.  Instead they opted to create a blended, semi-presencial, experience.

The lesson for me is: don’t prioritize in-person meetings so much that it holds you back from making a connection. 

Here are some ideas for founders and investors:

  1. Don’t delay Board meetings because people can’t make it in-person, instead set up a video dial-in so everyone can connect
  2. Don’t travel across Lima to meet with a mentor to review a few new slides from your pitch, instead connect by video for 15 minutes to share slides.
  3. Don’t wait for you next trip to Mexico to set up a meeting with an investor (or startup) there, instead ask them for a short call now

Use technology to have the most engaging connection possible: Set up a group call on Zoom, Share slides through Hangouts, Send screenshots or audio notes through WhatsApp.

You may even find that these ideas and tools enrich the personal connections you are looking for. I often find it’s much easier to connect with people in-person if I already have a rhythm of connecting with them by phone or video.  

6 top tech founders in Lima this week

Six of the very best female founders in Latin America are coming to Lima this week. They include an Endeavor Entrepreneur, a Y Combinatior graduate, and a founders that Wayra, Magma Partners and Quake Capital have backed. Together the six founders lead startups based in four countries, including one founder from Peru. These six founders were selected out of over 400 startups that applied and went through a rigorous process involving judges from all over the region.

WeXchange Pitch Competition Finalists:

Here is a background on each of the founders who are finalists

WEXCHANGE GROUP

WeXchange is the premier event for female founders in Latin America. The event is especially focused on STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) founders. The event will take place on November 6th and 7th at Universidad del Pacifico. 

Day 1 – Panels and Pitch Competition

Open to all members of the startup community. Follow the agenda here and on follow on Twitter @wexchange where you can find the link to a lifestream feed.

Day 2 – Training and Mentoring Sessions for Female Founders

Open to female founders. Endeavor is organizing mentoring sessions in the afternoon with a great group of mentors on the 7th. You can sign up here.

WeXchange is another example of how Lima is leaving a mark as a startup community led by female founders.

 

5 top Lima-based tech investors

In October, LAVCA updated its list of Top Women investing in Latin America Tech. This year the list includes new names of investors based in Lima and well as a new list of Emerging Women Investors in Latin American Tech. Here are the five Lima-based investors recognized by LAVCA: Continue reading “5 top Lima-based tech investors”