uDocz’s investment round shows Peru is an Edtech hub

Peruvian start up uDocz recently announced an investment round led by GSV Ventures, one of the most prominent Edtech venture capital firms in the world. This is GSV Ventures’s first investment in a Latin American startup. GSV has previously invested in well known EdTech startups including Coursera, Degreed, and Guild Education. 

uDocz Founder Carlos Effio and his team of 20 employees have been hard at work over the past four years quietly building one of the largest libraries of Spanish language content for college students. uDocz’s customers are primarily university students and students studying to apply to university. uDocz’s active user base has achieved significant growth since the outbreak of the pandemic enabling university students to study remotely and continue learning. uDocz is an example of how disruptive edtech startups are transforming and improving the quality of education in Latin America.

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50 startups in Peru ready to take-off

Recently announced successful rounds in Peruvian startups have highlighted the quality of local startup founders. They are also validation that Lima offers a great starting point for launching regional tech businesses. Examples of startups that have raised significant rounds of capital over the last twelve months are: Crack the Code, Crehana, Chazki, Favo, Leasy, and Turbodega. Add to these startup rounds the recent acquisition of Freshmart by Justo, and you have a multiple examples of capital entering Peru across a range of sectors and stages. Importantly, the capital is coming from top tier venture capital funds across Latin America, including Tiger Global, Elevar Equity, General Atlantic, and Kaszek.

Photo by Sekwang Chia on Unsplash

The good news for investors is that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of Peru’s startup potential. There is a growing list of up-and-coming startups in Peru. Most of these companies have achieved product market fit, raised a solid seed stage round and are growing fast. They have been supported by local seed investors including, AVP, Inca Ventures, The Board, UTEC Ventures, and Winnipeg Capital, all funded by private capital. In addition, local programs EmprendeUP, Endeavor ScaleUP, and USIL Ventures, have all provided essential support to get startups to the seed stage in a position of strength. These local sources of funding and support open up new paths to success for Peru’s startups.

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Still on the cusp

Peru’s startup moment has arrived. What are we waiting for?

In early 2020, I wrote that Peru’s startup ecosystem was ready for a leap forward. The country was at the inflection point of building a vibrant venture capital industry. Then the pandemic hit. Two years later, Peru’s local venture capital industry seems to be running in place.

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The startup community we imagined

Imagine a world in which Peru startup Manzana Verde raises from FJ Labs, Fitia gets into Y Combinator, Fitco gets into Techstars, venture capital analyst Enzo Cavalie lands a job at a top US venture firm, and serial founder Amparo Nalvarte begins investing in startups. This is the world we imagined for the Peru startup community. This is the world we live in now.

The list of tangible results that Peruvian startup founders, and the Peru ecosystem, are achieving is impressive and growing longer. A dynamic combination of local funding and global disruption is democratizing capital, making it easier for startup founders to find a way to achieve regional and global success. 

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Has Mexico decoupled?

The recent mega rounds in Mexico, Flink ($12 million), Justo ($65 million) and Valoreo ($50 million), occurred within a few weeks. The size of these rounds marked new highs for Seed and Series A rounds in Mexico.

Let’s face it, this is way beyond the scope of what is happening in Peru. These rounds indicate the gap between Mexico’s startup ecosystem and the rest of Spanish-speaking Latin America may be widending, not shrinking.

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Salkantay Ventures receives backing from IDB Lab

Recently, IBD Lab announced its first commitment to a Peru-based venture capital fund, Salkantay Ventures. Given the IDB Lab’s history as a first mover in backing early stage funds in the region, this is a strong message of support for the Salkantay team as well as the wider Peru startup community. Peru has reached a critical mass of capabilities in both building startups and investing in them.

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Peruvian pushing the boundaries of deep tech

When you meet startup founder Tomás Vega, you won’t get too far into the conversation before he tells you that he wants to become a Cyborg!

What Tomás is doing is crazy. The good type of crazy. The break-boundaries-of-science type of crazy. The type of crazy Linda Rottenberg, founder of Endeavor, talks about in her book Crazy is a Compliment.  

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Marcos Brujis: A legacy of borderless optimism

Marcos Brujis was a loyal Peruvian whose embrace of humanity expanded from Latin America across all emerging markets. Over his long career as an investor, he inspired billions of dollars in capital to support projects, companies, and entrepreneurs all over the world.

Marcos was born in Lima in 1952. After studying at McGill, he worked at HSBC, then joined the IFC where he spent the better part of many years traveling the world persuading asset managers to dedicate funds to Latin America and other emerging markets.

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It’s simple for U.S. investors to invest in Peru startups

More and more startups in Peru are receiving investment from U.S. investors. Many of these startups have reached product-market fit and some have already scaled across multiple countries in Latin America.

This trend is partly due to the growing tendency for Peru startups to set up U.S.-based entities as holding companies. Founders are using Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) financing documents, the standard document for early stage U.S. startups, allowing them to raise money from a wide variety of investors.

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash
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Un punto de quiebre en el ecosistema emprendedor peruano

La novela que empezó en 2017, tuvo un final feliz el pasado 2 de diciembre con la publicación del Decreto Supremo 375-2020-EF, mejor conocido como el reglamento del Fondo de Capital para Emprendimientos Innovadores (FCEI). Como toda buena historia, tuvo momentos muy gratos como la inclusión del FCEI en el Plan Nacional de Competitividad y Productividad en 2019 y la aprobación de recursos por S/ 70 millones en enero de este año a través del Decreto de Urgencia 013-2020. Pero la sazón de la historia vino por los momentos de incertidumbre. En especial, por aquella generada en el ámbito político que incluyó que Perú no tenga poder legislativo (Congreso) durante algunos meses de 2019 y 2020, el proceso de vacancia presidencial del segundo semestre 2020 y -una no política, pero no menor-, pandemia mundial. 

A continuación, voy a compartir una parte del análisis que realizamos en PECAP sobre el FCEI. El informe completo está disponible en la sub-sección “recursos” de este enlace: https://www.pecap.pe/data-y-recursos.

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Youth Movement

Peru’s young people took to the streets last week and made their voices heard. Peaceful protests were met with police aggression and two people, Inti Sotelo Camargo and Jack Brian Pintado Sánchez, were killed. By Monday of this week, a new President, Francisco Sagasti, was chosen by congress to lead the country. President Sagasti has held many roles in his career, including leading FINCyT, a government fund to support initiatives in science and innovation. 

Photo credit: Unknown. Source: https://twitter.com/psecada/status/1326908154882502662?s=20
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From hunters to startup entrepreneurs

Women in Peru have been breaking paradigms for thousands of years. Literally.

This week, archaeologists concluded that 9,000 year-old skeleton of a woman found in the Andean highlands in Peru indicated that she was a hunter, rather than a gatherer. She was buried with a “big-game hunting kit,” according to the New York Times. While this finding was surprising to some scientists, it won’t be to the many female startup founders currently living in Peru today. 

In fact, also this week, three Peruvian women were selected as finalists for the WeXchange Pitch Competition as part of the WeXchange forum, the largest forum for female technology entrepreneurs in Latin America.

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Innovate Summit brings together the region’s top entrepreneurs

Most conferences in Peru have themes that are variations of “How can we build a better future?” Well, next week’s Innovate Peru Summit shows that the future is here and is being built by tech entrepreneurs.

With speakers like David Velez, CEO of Nubank, Mariana Costa, CEO of Laboratoria, and Simon Borreo, CEO of Rappi, it isn’t exaggeration to say this is the most significant conference of the year in Peru.

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