News & Press

Follow our blog and stay up to date.

Thomas Allier Viajala Podcast

Thomas Allier is the cofounder of Viajala, which I like to call the Kayak of Latin America. Originally from France, he moved to Chile for Start-Up Chile and then moved to Colombia where he received investment from Mexican and Colombian venture capital firms.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:12] Who is Thomas Ailler?
  • [4:10] Why Latin American airlines don’t share their data.
  • [6:19] How Thomas decided to attack the problems he’d experienced in travel in Latin America.
  • [8:22] Why Thomas was attracted to Startup Chile even though he was from France.
  • [13:50] The beginning states of the company in Chile and Colombia.
  • [20:43] What it is like day to day in Medellin, Colombia (where Thomas is based).
  • [25:17] Recruiting and finding talent in Medellin.
  • [28:19] The expansion efforts made to move into Mexico.
  • [33:54] Doing business in Mexico and Brazil as a Colombian company and why it’s better for a startup to keep things simple and centralized.
  • [36:50] The steps taken to expand into Brazil and Argentina.
  • [40:17] The reaction of Thomas’ family when he announced he was moving to Colombia.
  • [41:57] Thomas’ advice to American companies or founders considering Latin America.
  • [46:30] The challenges and strategies of working with a distributed team.
  • [50:37] Thomas’ advice to his younger self if he were starting over.
  • [55:04] Advice to those considering a startup.
  • [57:45] Resources Thomas recommends to other entrepreneurs.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Andres Barreto Firstrock VC Podcast

Originally from Colombia, Andres Barreto has cofounded and sold multiple tech companies in the US. He came back to Colombia and moved to the other side of the table to start Social Atom Ventures, which has now morphed into Firstrock Capital. Like Magma, invest in companies companies with LatAm tech teams, but whose primary market is the United States.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:03] Andres Barretto, Colombian entrepreneur turned venture capitalist.
  • [2:12] The types of companies Andres’ fund is looking to invest in.
  • [4:15] Why it’s advantageous for US companies to use Latin American engineers.
  • [9:09] Andres’ three-part test for startups.
  • [11:00] What Andres says to Latin American entrepreneurs who are intimidated by entering the US Market.
  • [14:12] How Andres moved to the US initially.
  • [19:50] The ignorant notions US companies must overcome.
  • [31:34] Why Latin American VCs are missing Latin American market deals.
  • [43:37] Andres’ advice to entrepreneurs in Latin America considering US Markets.
  • [48:33] The top mistakes startup founders make when pitching to VCs.
  • [54:41] Andres’ advice to beginning entrepreneurs and beginning VC investors.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Costa Rica

I’ve been writing a blog series about doing business in Latin America and this is an excerpt of a post called Pura Vida: Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Costa Rica that I originally posted on my blog.

Costa Rica, literally “Rich Coast” in Spanish, is a fitting name for a country with diverse geography which ranges from tropical rainforests to vast oceanscapes. Five million people call Costa Rica home, and the official language is Spanish. Costa Rica’s GDP is US$74.9 billion with 72% attributed to imports and exports like coffee, sugar, and fruit. The average wage for Costa Ricans is about CRC654,059 (Costa Rican Colón) or US$1,150 per month.

Costa Rica is a prime location for entrepreneurs because of its proximity to the United States and because of its many free trade agreements. Its largest foreign investments come from the United States, which led to a 2016 marked a trade surplus of US$1.6 billion between Costa Rica and the US.

In the past few years, large tech companies like Amazon have invested in the Costa Rican market. One of the strong qualities of Costa Ricans, locally known as “Ticos,” is their literacy rate of 97.8%, The country has placed education as a top priority, and English is common among the young population.

Read the rest of my blog post about business opportunities and challenges in Costa Rica on my blog.

Guimar Vaca Sittic Building Marketplaces Podcast

Guimar Vaca Sittic is an Argentine entrepreneur turned investor who specializes in marketplaces. Currently based in New York City, Guimar is a principal at FJ Labs.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:17] How Guimar got started in the startup world.
  • [2:33] The path Guimar followed from Argentina to Chicago and beyond.
  • [5:00] How Guimar was able to make his Argentinian startup happen.
  • [7:45] Guimar’s advice about Latin American startups persevering toward bigger ideas.
  • [12:09] The next steps after acquisition.
  • [20:30] The choices Guimar made about traveling and the real costs of doing so.
  • [27:34] Why FJ Labs has taken on so many international investments.
  • [32:30] Success stories in building and funding businesses.
  • [37:50] Why Brazil for the online used car marketplace?
  • [39:54] The dynamics of working with a remote team.
  • [44:55] Advice Guimar would give himself if he were starting over.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Uruguay

This is an excerpt of a post in collaboration with Nadim Curi, the Uruguayan cofounder of CityCop and me about doing business in Uruguay. Thanks to Nadim for taking the time to help out with this post! You can read the entire post on my blog.

The small country of Uruguay, wedged between its two much larger neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, is home to 3.4 million people and has been on the forefront of many innovative reforms. Uruguay ranks first in Latin America for democracy, peace, lack of corruption, e-government, and press freedoms.

Despite it’s small size, Uruguay has a unique culture and interesting achievements that have inspired Uruguayans to believe that anything’s possible. This attitude may be best epitomized by its national soccer team, which has won two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals, and 15 Copa Americas (more than any other South American country).

Besides football, Uruguay has a great quality of life and was ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, lack of corruption, press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity.

Codie Sanchez Investing in Latin America Podcast

Codie Sanchez is a finance professional from the US who has deep experience in Latin America. She started off as a journalist, but moved into finance and works with high net work individuals and family offices while angel investing and helping startups.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:09] Codie’s journey from journalism to angel investing in Latin America.
  • [2:19] Why companies should hire a diverse group of individuals.
  • [6:30] The point when Codie knew she was interested in business and Latin America.
  • [16:20] Making the transition from journalism to finance.
  • [30:30] Climbing the ranks in the investing world.
  • [34:18] Doing free work for her employer to make an opportunity for herself.
  • [37:25] The differences Codie sees in the Latin American markets and opportunities.
  • [42:57] Areas in Latin America where American investors have traditionally invested.
  • [45:29] The work Codie is doing to encourage and help entrepreneurs.
  • [51:54] Codie’s recommended resources.
  • [58:19] The goals Codie is pursuing in her work in Latin America.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Santiago Zavala 500 Startups Podcast

Santiago Zavala is a Mexican entrepreneur turned investor who now runs 500 Startups in Mexico City. He has a very cool story and sheds light into the Mexican startup scene.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:09] Introduction to today’s guest Santiago Zavala.
  • [1:22] The track companies have to follow to get help from Santiago’s company.
  • [3:15] Santiago’s background, growing up on the front end of tech in Mexico.
  • [5:20] The first online venture: a guitar oriented forum and community.
  • [12:04] Becoming known for rescuing floundering projects – as a high schooler.
  • [21:30] Leaving university and connecting with a new startup in Silicon Valley.
  • [26:49] How Santiago got into the investment side of startups.
  • [30:21] The first companies the VC came alongside – all from Santiago’s apartment.
  • [34:17] Lessons-learned in working with failing and successful startups.
  • [35:40] How Santiago connected with 500 Startups.
  • [38:02] Opening the application process to all of Spanish speaking Latin America.
  • [41:22] The changes Santiago has seen in the startup process in Latin America.
  • [45:08] Surprising things about a 500 startups demo day.
  • [49:03] Advice to Latin American founders trying to raise money.
  • [54:15] Santiago’s advice to governments and investors for supporting startups.
  • [58:22] What’s on the horizon for 500 Startups and Santiago?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Brazil

This is an excerpt of a deep dive into the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Brazil that appeared originally on my blog, where you can read the entire article.

Brazil is the fifth largest country by area in the world and the second most populous in the Americas behind the United States, boasting a population of more than 200 million people. This population is largely middle class and based in urban environments, which creates a consistent demand for new goods and services, despite Brazil’s roller coaster economy, high regulations, seemingly endless political scandals, high taxes, and notoriously difficult business climate.

As one of the most challenging places to do business in the world, operating a business in Brazil is no easy feat. But for companies that do take the leap, capturing a piece of this incredibly large and tech-savvy consumer base can be the ultimate prize for anyone doing business in Latin America. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to generate Silicon Valley style returns for those who enjoy take risks and are willing to slog through Brazil’s ecosystem.

Here’s an overview of the current opportunities and challenges of doing business in Brazil today.

Brian Requarth VivaReal Podcast

Originally from California, Brian Requarth cofounded VivaReal, the Zillow of Brazil, which he’s grown by raising more than $78M in venture capital that has more than 600 employees.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] What is VivaReal and how did Brian decide to establish and build the platform?
  • [4:45] The fun entrepreneurial things Brian did when he was in high school.
  • [7:20] The birth of “English Without Borders” in South America, a borrowed suit, and knocking on doors for clients.
  • [9:44] How Brian met his current co-founder and started a web development company.
  • [15:25] How VivaReal made the switch to Brazil from the United States.
  • [18:14] The challenges of operating in multiple Latin American companies at once.
  • [21:24] Advice for those considering a startup in Latin America: When should you pull the trigger?
  • [23:33] The challenges of moving to Brazil without speaking the language (Portuguese).
  • [28:03] Making mistakes raising capital and getting creative with attracting investors.
  • [34:29] The value of having insightful mentors and investors to help establish things.
  • [35:40] Scaling a company in Brazil: challenges and lessons-learned.
  • [44:00] Raising money from Brazil and from abroad.
  • [49:15] Why should U.S. investors consider Latin American companies?
  • [55:30] What Brian is noticing about the current economic conditions in Latin America.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Sebastian Vidal Start-Up Chile and Parallel 18 Podcast

Sebastian Vidal is a Chilean who was part of the early Startup Chile team and later became its executive director. Now the director of Parallel 18, a similar program in Puerto Rico, Sebastian has worked with more than 1000 startups and shares his insights into what makes companies successful.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] How Sebastian made the transition to Puerto Rico from Chile.
  • [4:20] The challenge of starting Parallel 18 from scratch.
  • [6:08] The role Sebastian played in Startup Chile.
  • [11:00] Lessons learned working with over 1000 startups.
  • [22:15] Learning the lesson that focus is of paramount importance.
  • [27:01] The changes Sebastian made starting over with Parallel 18 in Puerto Rico.
  • [35:55] New perspectives from working with companies in Parallel 18.
  • [40:22] What types of companies should apply to be part of Parallel 18?
  • [47:05] How to connect with Sebastian and Parallel 18.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Nathan

If you enjoyed this episode – would you mind subscribing and leaving a rating and review?

SUBSCRIBE, RATE, AND REVIEW ON iTunes

SUBSCRIBE, RATE AND REVIEW ON Stitcher

Scroll to top