It’s not Capital, it’s Culture

One of the more thought-provoking findings of the Techstars Lima Startup Community Assessment is that culture is something we need to work on more than capital. This may be surprising to founders who have tried to raise money in Lima (it’s hard), but it highlights that a larger, more grassroots effort, is necessary for our startup community to really take off.

Techstars measures ecosystems on five criteria: culture, density, talent, capital, and institutional support. Each was measured on a 1 to 7 scale. Here is where Lima came out:

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Techstars Lima Assessment – Scorecard

The report identified institutional support (government and universities) as well as capital as some of the strengths of the ecosystem – there is still a lot of room for improvement in both.

Culture, talent and density are areas of greater improvement. Here are some of Chris Heivly’s ideas on culture (score of 1.9 out of 7):

  1. Establish / Expand / Enforce Community- Friendly Cultural Norms
  2. Upgrade Mentors & Mentor Approach
  3. Identify, Encourage, and Develop, Storytelling Among Community Leaders

We have a lot of work to do to personalize the #givefirst mantra that Techstars promotes.  Ecosystem actors should also “proactively build out mentor network Lima, (Peru, Latin American, and North America) to fill gaps” and help founders tell their stories.

The Peru Venture Capital Conference next month is a great example of a culture in action. The speaker list has a great group of founders, for example Courtney McColgan, and investors. All are participating without being paid because they believe in what is going on in Peru’s startup community and want to help out. We can learn from what they share at the conference as well as what they are doing by just showing up.

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