Author: Sophia Wood

Uncategorized

Nathan Lustig’s advice for startups on Parallel18’s “Mentored” Series

Our Managing Partner, Nathan Lustig, recently appeared on Parallel 18’s “Mentored” Series to provide tips and advice to startups and VCs operating in the Latin American ecosystem. Here’s what to expect from the episode:

  • What VCs look for when they are analyzing Latin American startups
  • How startups and VCs in Latin America can align incentives for better outcomes
  • How US and Chinese investors analyze companies in LatAm
  • Tips for Latin American startups looking to raise capital outside the region
  • Why Puerto Rico is a great place to start a startup

To hear all of Nathan’s advice for startups and VCs, check out the video above for the full episode!  

Uncategorized

Magma Partners partners with China Youth Center for International Exchange to support Sino-LatAm Accelerator

Last week, delegates from the China Youth Center for International Exchange visited our office during their exploratory trip to Chile and Argentina to learn more about the region and promote youth interchange. During the visit, the president of the organization, Ma Xingmin, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with our partner Francisco Saenz in which both parties agreed to provide support to entrepreneurs from China and Latin America looking to expand into each other’s markets.

This agreement serves to deepen ties between Magma and China after we co-launched the Sino-Latin American Accelerator with Kr Space in January 2018 to help connect entrepreneurs and investors in both regions. As part of the agreement, China Youth Center for International Exchange will support the accelerator program and Magma Partners will continue to host events on Latin America in China to teach Chinese investors and entrepreneurs about doing business in Latin America.

Jie Hao, a Beijing-based Partner at Magma Partners noted, “We believe that China will play an important part in Latin America, both at the governmental level and in the high tech ecosystem. I’m excited to continue to support the exchange between China and the region.”

This trip was the China Youth Center for International Exchange’s first visit to Latin America. The Center is part of the All China Youth Federation, the biggest youth organization in China with more than 300 million members. During their visit, the delegates also met with government organizations, banks, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

“I believe it is important to open up communications and cooperation between Chinese and Chilean young entrepreneurs,” said Ma Xingmin during the signing ceremony.

The visit is a sign of China’s increasing interest in the Latin American market. Chile recently joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative and deepened trade relationships with the Asian giant. Francisco Saenz commented on the trend saying, “I am excited about the chance to learn more about China. I went to China in January 2018 and saw that China is ahead of Latin America in many ways, but especially in high tech. There is a lot that we can learn from China.”

China’s growing influence in Latin America is one of the trends we have been watching this year, and we are looking forward to working with the China Youth Center for International Exchange to promote interchange between the two regions.

Uncategorized

What can startups and traditional businesses learn from each other?

What do startups and corporations need to know about each other? Our Managing Partner, Nathan Lustig, was recently in Mexico City for the 29th Annual Consejo Empresarial de America Latina (CEAL) to talk about just that issue. The event united business people, investors, entrepreneurs, and politicians to talk about how to support tech, innovation, and business across Latin America, from Mexico to Chile.

Distinguished guests included Mexico’s President-Elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, exiled Venezuelan politician, Antonio Ledezma, and Ex-President of Colombia, Oscar Naranjo. These presenters spoke of regional alliances and improved international ties, including with China, to help support Latin America’s budding ecosystem. There is a clear, and well-recognized need, for governments and corporations to lend their support to the private investors and actors in the tech ecosystem.

“Big corporations in Latin America are beginning to feel the threat from startups and are looking to partner, support, and innovate alongside smaller tech companies. For example, in retail, we have seen a spate of acquisitions – such as Walmart and Cornershop, and Falabella and Linio – that point to the fact that corporations are seeing startups as potential collaborators and competitors,” said our Managing Partner, Nathan Lustig. “This change is an opportunity for startups and corporations alike to learn from each other and improve services for their customers.”

Several Magma portfolio companies had the opportunity to present at the event, including Omnibank (previously Portal Finance), Workep, BrainHi, and Albo. These startups were among 25 companies chosen from across Latin America to present for the politicians, executives, and angel investors who attended the event.

Diego Caicedo, CEO of Omnibank, said of the event:

“We work with a lot of traditional businesses, like investment banks, who are just beginning to see opportunities in working with startups. This event was an opportunity for us to meet some of the most important actors in Latin America’s private sector and understand how we could work together.”

Nathan was invited to speak on the Venture Capital panel at the event alongside other regional VCs like Federico Antoni of ALL VP, Sebastian Vidal of Parallel18, and Hector Sepulveda of Mountain Nazca. The panel was moderated by Nicolas Kogan, Puerto Rico’s CEAL president.

“Startups can learn a lot from traditional business-people – and vice versa. This event allows startups and founders to interact with major players in their industry and learn from their experience, and for traditional business owners to explore potential partnerships with people who are innovating in their industry. It is a great place for fostering collaboration,” said Nicolas Kogan about the CEAL event.

We were thrilled and honored to be invited to present at the event, and to be able to support our companies that were able to join, as well. CEAL was an incredible way to bring together all the biggest actors in Latin American business, from politicians to first-time founders, and discuss the future of the region.

Magma Partners in China: Kr Space Seminar, CLACIE & Chile Week

The relationship between Latin America and China intensified over the past three months. Tencent invested US$180M in Nubank, Ant Financial invested millions in Stone Co’s IPO, and Beijing agreed to swap over US$18B in yuan for Argentine pesos.   

China’s relationship with Chile has grown, as well, as the Magma Partners China office has spoken at monthly events about investment in Latin America. During the past three months, Magma China co-hosted a seminar during a visit from Roberto Ampuero, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and presented at two significant events to increase people’s awareness of Latin America  as an investment destination.

Here’s how Magma has promoted Sino-Latin American investment in three events over the past three months.

September: Kr Space Seminar

Roberto Ampuero, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, visited China after being invited by China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yi Wang. During his three day trip, Mr. Ampuero presented during a seminar entitled “Chile, the Latin-American Center of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital at Kr Space’s Zhongguancun Community at Beijing. Magma Partners collaborated with ProChile and Kr Space to co-host the event and generate more awareness of Chile in China. The event also included a presentation from Chris Martin, Vice President of Mobike’s International Expansion Department, who explained why Mobike is interested in LatAm and why they picked Santiago as Mobike’s first Latin American destination. Mobike has just landed at Chile this year and is planning to expand to other countries in the region over the next couple of years.

Chile’s stable economy and business-friendly government make it an interesting destination for Chinese investors. As Ampuero stated at the event, “Chinese enterprises are welcome to come to Latin America. Chile can offer varied talents. We encourage people to invest in Chile, to start a business here, and to talk to our younger generations to get to know the country better. Thus we build a bridge between Chile and China.”

October: CLACIE Annual Conference

Jie at CLACIE annual conference.

On Oct.30, The China-Latin America and Caribbean Investment Exchange (CLACIE), hosted their annual conference in Beijing, China, sponsored by IDB. This invite-only event gathered 125 people who are involved in  the China-LatAm investment relationship who would discuss Chinese-Latin American cooperation across several industries..

Jie Hao, Magma’s Chinese partner, presented at the tech forum as a panel speaker and shared his insights on the emerging LatAm tech ecosystem as a Chinese investor. “Early-stage startups from Latin America are unlikely to find funding in China, even if they visit many times, if all they do is do roadshows, so far Chinese funds have invested into companies in their B, or C round, with early stage being out of scope”

November: Chile Week

Jie Hao at Chile Week’s panel.

Two days later, on November 1st, the 4th Chile Week officially kicked off in Beijing. InvestChile organizes this event once yearly to promote understanding of Chile in China.  The event unites big names from Chile to present before a Chinese audience; Former President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle spoke alongside Chilean Ambassador to China, Luis Schmidt, Chinese Ambassador to Chile, Bu Xu, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Ampuero. Jie once again spoke on a panel about the tech and financial connections between China and Chile.

During Chile Week, Chile officially signed and joined the Belt & Road initiative, China’s development strategy meant to boost multilateral connections, trade, and investments. According to InvestChile, this strategic connection positions Chile as the main hub for Chinese companies operating in LatAm and offers financial backup services to companies of both countries that assists with creating stronger tech innovation.

The Future of Chile – China

Recently, the ties between China and LatAm have been growing stronger. Unlike in the past, not just the construction industry  is receiving backing from the Chinese government. China’s private investors and companies have begun backing Latin American startups. China’s startups see Latin America as a potential market for their fintech solutions. The two regions grow closer with each coming month.

Our partner, Jie Hao believes there is a significant opportunity for Latin American entrepreneurs to visit China to learn about the Chinese startup ecosystem and see if they can apply the Chinese innovation experience to Latin America. “Chinese startups are already far advanced and under extreme competition. Latin America entrepreneurs will learn the best business models, the best technology, how their peers can survive in China, how to raise funds etc.”

Early this year, Magma Partners partnered with 36Kr and launched the first ever Sino-LatAm accelerator worldwide. So far we have hosted a series of events at embassies of latam countries in Beijing and Kr Spaces as part of our efforts to promote awareness of LatAm in China. We are watching China’s growing interest in Latin America and believe that China will have a strong influence in the region’s startup ecosystem over the next few years..

 

Nathan Lustig presents at the Peru Venture Capital Conference

Last month, Nathan Lustig gave a talk at the Peru Venture Capital Conference about the Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem and how Magma is working to support startups in the region. In this talk, he shared how he started Magma Partners in 2014 and how it has progressed so far.

We believe that Latin America is at its inflection point. In the past few years, more US and European entrepreneurs have come to Latin America to develop their startups. At the same time, he has witnessed an emergence of Latin American founders that are striving for their ambitions.

Yet the infrastructure for entrepreneurship in Latin America is not yet fully developed. Magma has been working hard to push the ecosystem forward with entrepreneur-friendly deals, that try to break down invisible barriers of class, gender, and race that still exist in this region.

Magma has recently started to build more pillars for the ecosystem by creating partnerships and content that support the region. Noting the growing influence of China in Latin America, Magma and their Chinese partner, 36Kr, launched the first Sino-Latin American accelerator in the world. Nathan produces a podcast called Crossing Borders where he interviews Latin American entrepreneurs who have interesting stories that rarely reach an English-speaking audience. Magma also created LatAm List, a Latin American TechCrunch that shares regional startup news in English.

To view the whole talk please click here.

 

Scroll to top