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Challenges and Opportunities of Doing Business in Mexico

This is an excerpt from a deep dive into doing business in Mexico that appeared originally on my blog, where you can read the entire post.

Mexico’s business opportunities rival those of any other emerging economy in the world. Despite a complicated history with violence and corruption, the country is starting to transform its negative reputation into new opportunities. New initiatives, especially to boost Mexican innovation, and an ever-expanding middle class with disposable income have given way to a new era of business opportunities for residents and foreigners alike.

To attract new investment, the Mexican government is making significant improvements to its infrastructure to compete globally in sectors like telecommunications and transportation. According to a recent PWC report , Mexico will become the 7th largest economy in the world by 2050.

But, to understand how Mexico will get there, it’s important to understand Mexico’s history and some factors that led it to become what it is today.

Nathan Lustig’s Parallel 18 Mentor Talk

I went to Parallel 18, an equity free startup accelerator in Puerto Rico, as a mentor. Here’s the talk I gave to their startups.

Doing Business in Colombia: Advantages and Disadvantages

This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on my blog titled The Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing Business in Colombia…you can read the entire post there.

Colombia has come a long way as a country and as a place to do business. The sensationalized version of Colombia that Narcos depicts is no longer accurate, though the reputation lives on.

Colombia’s history is long and complicated, filled with violent groups trying to control the country’s lucrative drug trade. But there’s so much more to Colombia than just drugs. 2017’s historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, the largest guerrilla group, is a potential inflection point in Colombia’s history. And if I had to bet on a single Latin American country for the next 10-15 years, Colombia would be my pick.

Though many think it’s coffee, Colombia’s largest export is actually petroleum, which makes up over a third of the country’s exports, followed by coal, coffee, cut flowers, and gold. Coffee, however, was responsible for pushing Colombia toward a manufacturing based economy. After the War of a Thousand Days, which ended in 1902, Colombia’s coffee boom pushed the country to seek better transportation and manufacturing mechanisms.

Diego Saez-Gil Bluesmart Podcast

Diego Saez Gil is an Argentine entrepreneur who is the cofounder of Bluesmart, the world’s first smart luggage. After doing a $2.2m presale on Indiegogo, Diego and his team have raised multiple rounds of venture capital from investors in Latin America, China and the US.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:25] The life of a founder whose offices are all over the world and how he took his path.
  • [8:00] The culture shock of leaving his home and traveling to business centers around the world.
  • [11:54] Diego’s 2011 start of a new business – WeHostels.
  • [16:43] The advice Diego gives to startup founders about building a team.
  • [20:25] Growing a startup app company in a very competitive market – and the process of selling the company.
  • [23:34] Two years later: Crowdfunding a new product successfully – $2.2M raised.
  • [26:28] How the team made the crowdfunding attempt successful.
  • [30:44] Diego’s response to those who say there’s not much talent in Latin America.
  • [35:24] How to keep an international team of 39 working together smoothly.
  • [38:07] Why Diego went to Ycombinator even after a successful crowdfunding launch.
  • [47:04] The features and details of Bluesmart luggage.
  • [49:14] Tips for those interested in building a hardware company, including tips for doing business in China.
  • [51:29] Surprising things about Latin America and China.
  • [55:53] What Diego says to U.S. Investors about doing business with Latin American companies.
  • [1:00:32] Changes in the Argentinian government in relation to entrepreneurship.
  • [1:01:50] Diego’s advice to himself at the beginning of his startup journey.
  • [1:05:00] Learning to take expert advice but staying focused on innovation.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Nathan Klarer, Wearables that Prevent Mining Accidents

Nathan Klarer is a US entrepreneur who founded Bridgecrest Medical, a wearable startup that helps prevent mining accidents. Many of his clients were in Latin America and his company was later acquired. This is his story.

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Nathan Klarer. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends!

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

Nora Leary: Starting Up in Argentina and Colombia

Nora Leary is a US born entrepreneur who is the cofounder of Launchway Media a PR firm with offices in Argentina and Colombia. This is her story.

I’ve had a great time talking with Nora and I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends!

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

Jose Caya Cayasso: Building Slidebean From Costa Rica and New York City

Caya Cayasso is a Costa Rican entrepreneur who leads Slidebean, a company that allows you to create presentations that design themselves. They’re a Magma portfolio company and Caya has a great story.

I had a great time talking with Caya and I hope you enjoy his stories as much as I do. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends! Check out past episodes with David Lloyd, Adrian Fisher, Devin Baptiste, Nicolas Shea, David Basulto and David Assael.

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Argentina

This is an excerpt from a blog post called The Opportunities and Challenges of Doing Business in Argentina that I wrote on my personal blog. You can read the entire article there.

I’ve written extensively about doing business in Chile, and since Argentina, the country next door, has been making a lot of noise, I decided to write up an overview of opportunities in Argentina. Argentina has the third largest economy in Latin America (after Brazil and Mexico), and the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the region in PPP terms (after Chile).

You may have heard the saying, “As rich as an Argentine,” a phrase that was coined to describe Argentina’s wealth and prosperity in the 1800s-1929. Argentina had the 4th highest GDP per capita and was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Between 1890 and 1930, the capital city of Buenos Aires transformed from a colonial town to the sprawling, mammoth of a city it still is today.

Unfortunately, the Great Depression followed all of that prosperity and then decades of political turmoil. Over the next few decades, Argentina borrowed from foreign banks and ran hefty budget deficits. In the 1970s, Argentina’s credit rating dropped so low that leaders resorted to printing more currency, leading to the Argentinian Peso’s steady decline.

PropertySimple Raises US Venture Capital

I’m excited to finally be able to announce that our portfolio company PropertySimple closed a $3M round in the United States to help them continue to grow. I’ve been working closely with Adrian Fisher, PropertySimple’s founder and CEO, and team over the past year, helping them navigate their US market launch.

PropertySimple gives real estate agents the tools they need to compete in a social media powered world by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. Their software as a service product drives leads and follows up on them for real estate agents and starts at $2500/month.

Read more about PropertySimple on my personal blog.

Devin Baptiste: Building the Tastiest Way To Change the World

Devin Baptiste is the cofounder of GroupRaise, one of our portfolio companies. I saw down with Devin to talk about how he cofounded one of the most diverse startups in the world.

If you liked this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher and check out the first five episodes with other top entrepreneurs doing business in Latin America.

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