What are you waiting for?
There is never a “good” time to leave your job and launch a startup. But for professionals in Latin America, this might be the best time. The current political and economic uncertainty in Latin America is worrying for large corporations. Startups, on the other hand, thrive on solving problems in challenging times.
Here are some reasons why you should take advantage of the current situation in Latin America to launch a startup:
Non-correlated risk. The success of a startup is not correlated to GDP growth, commodity prices or presidential elections. Startups care about things like population density and mobile adoption rates, not GDP. Do you think Rappi is concerned whether the GDP growth of Peru is 3% or 5%? That is closer to it’s weekly growth rate in Lima.
You have a huge advantage. If you have sector knowledge, a solid network and an ability to lead teams, you have what it takes. Perhaps you have a keen sense of the user pain point you will solve. You probably already know your first 10 customers. That is a big deal. In some startups, 10 customers is enough to get to break-even, or enough for you to get to a solid valuation before raising outside capital.
You can be an owner. Startup founders, by definition, own 100% of their companies when they launch. Even after raising first rounds of capital, they can maintain 60% to 80% of the company. This is your chance to go from reporting to your boss to presenting to your hand-picked board of directors!
You are not alone. Founders in Latin America are not “chic@s.” There is a growing list of professionals who left large companies in Peru to launch startups. Giancarlo Panzera of Independencia (Deutsche Bank) , Claudia Quintanilla of Rextie (SURA), Nicolás Droguett of SeguroSimple (Falabella), Juan Cabanas of LatinFintech (Mastercard), Gonzalo Begazo of Chazki (Aje), Courtney McColgan of Runa (Cabify), and Sebastian Otero of Freshmart (BCP). I doubt any do them have any regrets.
Free access to a great network. The startup community, both in Lima and regionally, has free resources and a willingness to make introductions. You’ll be surprised at the amount of people who are willing to meet you if you have a startup pitch.
Fun. The hard kind of fun, but fun all the same. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in “demo days”, “pitches”, and lead a “scale-up.” The fintech laws are literally called “sandboxes.”
Travel. You will have to scale regionally, fast. Don’t worry, you can find financing to travel around the region.
The fall-back plan “B” is actually pretty good. Along your journey, you will receive a lot of recognition and opportunities to share your story. You could even become an Endeavor Entrepreneur. If the startup ultimately doesn’t achieve what you sought out to accomplish, you will find a great job leading innovation and growth initiatives – leapfrogging your peers who didn’t make the startup jump.
So, why not get started?
The startup journey will most certainly be more challenging than your current job, but you won’t regret it. In building a startup, you will learn, play and grow.