Adrian Fisher, founder of ProprtySimple, is a US entrepreneur who spent more than 7 years in Latin America, split between Argentina and Chile. He’s been building technology since he was 15 and now is the founder of Magma’s fastest growing portfolio company.
David Lloyd is a British entrepreneur and the cofounder of The Intern Group, an education company with offices in 12 countries. He’s built much of his business from offices in Latin America…this is his story.
I wrote a guest column for TechCrunch about the new opportunities for investing in startups in Latin America and why we’re betting heavily on these markets.
Startups in Latin America are using creative solutions to address not just local but also global problems. For investors outside the region, the prospect of working with these startups can appear attractive, yet complicated. Investing in early-stage startups in Latin America can present challenges; however, despite the challenges, time and time again I’ve found it can be well worth the effort.
When I first came to Santiago, Chile in 2010 as part of the pilot round of Start-Up Chile, there was hardly any talk of startups. Most people didn’t even know what startups were. Within nine months of returning to the U.S., the company I co-founded was acquired. So I decided to go back to Chile to look for more opportunities in this emerging market.
Over the next couple of years, I taught entrepreneurship in Chile, mentored local entrepreneurs and eventually started investing in Latin American companies myself. I’ve now invested in more than 30 early-stage companies in Latin America, and I firmly believe the time to help early-stage startups in Latin America has never been better. Here’s why.
Continue reading A New Era for Startup Investing In Latin America on TechCrunch.
I’m excited to finally be able to announce our investment in GroupRaise. We first invested in GroupRaise in early 2016 after I’d been trying to convince Devin Baptiste, GroupRaise’s cofounder and CEO, to let us invest since we started Magma back in 2013. After watching Devin, Sean, Kevin and Paul and the rest of the team set milestones and execute against them, while usually blowing them out of the water, it was a no brainer to invest again in 2017 when they asked for more capital to grow more quickly, especially when we’re able to invest alongside great investors like Techstars Ventures and Kapor Capital.
For a more in depth analysis about why we invested in GroupRaise, check out my blog.
PortalFinance, a Chilean/Colombian startup that provides a SaaS product as well as an evaluation decision making algorithm for the factoring industry. I’m really excited to welcome Diego and Felipe to our portfolio. If you want to read a more in depth analysis about why we invested in PortalFinance, check out my blog post on my personal blog.
Chile just launched a new tech visa that allows startup founders or tech workers to get visas approved within 15 business days. We think this is a game changer. As countries like the US are making it harder for people to come and work in the US, Chile is opening its arms to people with skills. For a more in depth analysis read Nathan’s post on his personal blog about Chile’s Tech Visa or the Spanish language article from Chile’s La Tercera.
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in Inc with the title How to Raise Venture Capital if You’re Outside the United States and on Nathan Lustig’s blog.
Over the past three years, I’ve been working with 30+ companies that have their bases across Latin America build their businesses. Many of these companies are really US companies that just happen to have a tech and sales team in Latin America and want to raise capital in the US. Others are Latin America B2B companies that would love to raise money in the US, but have found hard sledding.
When I first got started, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find investors to follow in on our companies and our strategies were all wrong. In 2015, I got on a plane to California with Adrian Fisher, the founder of PropertySimple, to take his company to the US market. He’d build an amazing product, similar to Zillow, but in Chile, and 1000+ real estate agents using his product and millions of people using PropiedadFacil to find properties.
I wrote a blog post about how expats are finding jobs in startups in Latin America and how they can find the startup job openings in places like Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Another version also appeared in VentureBeat. Check out this excerpt and read the entire post on my blog:
I get multiple emails per month from US and European tech workers who are interested in moving to Chile and want to know what the tech job market looks like. These emails have picked up in frequency both as the Chilean tech ecosystem has grown and as many tech workers explore more options for working abroad after 2016.
Chile’s tech ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds since 2010, when startup Chile began seeding the Chilean tech ecosystem. Since then over 1700 companies have come to Chile, many of which have stayed and created a presence in Santiago. Additionally, more Chileans have started companies both for the local market and to attack the US market.
The most in demand workers are Ruby on Rails developers, UI/UX designers and online marketers, but there’s also significant demand for native english speaking sales people and customer success roles.
No matter where you work in Chile, you’ll almost for sure make less money than you would in the US. Tech salaries are lower, but so is cost of living. Getting a work visa is very easy; all you need is a job offer and you can get a one year temporary visa, a RUT government id number and everything you need to get started.
There are five options for expat tech workers who are looking for opportunities in Chile:
Learn more about how to work for a tech company in Latin America by reading the rest of the article.
A version of this post originally appeared on our Managing Partner Nathan Lustig’s blog with the title Magma at Three Years.
Francisco, Diego and I first started working on Magma Partners in December 2013, which means we’re just passing our 3rd birthday. We originally planned to invest in 4-6 Chile based companies per year, but quickly found that demand for private capital, high quality mentorship and a bridge to the US market outstripped our modest goal.
We like to be the first check into a startup and invest an average of $50k initially, with the capacity to follow on with $250k more in two niches:
- B2B companies that serve the Latin American market
- Startups whose tech team is based in Latin America but whose primary market is the US.
In 2016, we invested in 7 new companies, moved to new offices in Santiago and expanded our presence in Colombia and in the US. We’ve honed our expertise in helping Latin American startups derisk the jump to the US market and have had our first successes helping B2B companies in Latin America negotiate significant deals with legacy companies.
We also focused on building out our networks in Colombia, Mexico and the US. As more of our companies started to expand outside of Chile, it was the logical next step to live up to our promise of helping entrepreneurs with more than just money.
As we turn 3, here’s some of our 2016 stats:
A version of this post first appeared on Nathan Lustig’s personal blog in English. Tambien, una version de este post aparece en español con el titulo Lo Que Debes Saber Antes de Invertir en Startups. También fue una charla (video).
As startups and tech investing has gone mainstream with things like AngelList, Shark Tank, The Social Network, the proliferation of accelerators and incubators, and the celebritization of founders and VCs, more money has flowed into the industry.
Most non professional investors interested in startups are starting to dabble in early stage companies as angel investors. Friends often send me deals they’re think about investing in, asking for advice.
Here’s a concrete example of a typical question from a successful entrepreneur friend looking to invest:
Read the rest of the article about advice for investing in startups on Nathan’s blog.
Photo credit: David Yu