Photo of Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash
Author: Emily Cashen
April 12, 2021
In latest years, Latin America has established itself as one of many world’s most promising areas for start-up exercise and burgeoning tech expertise. Venture capital funding in Latin American tech has been rising steadily over the previous 5 years, doubling yearly since 2016 earlier than reaching a file excessive of $4.6bn in 2019. The COVID-19 recession has, after all, impacted this movement of funding pouring into the area, however a lot of Latin America’s thriving start-up communities – from Brazil via to Mexico – have proven exceptional adaptability and resilience within the face of the quite a few challenges of the previous yr. Here, World Finance takes a take a look at 5 of Latin America’s most enjoyable tech hubs.
1 – São Paulo
The vibrant metropolis of São Paulo is sometimes called Brazil’s innovation powerhouse, with its dynamic tech group attracting a gentle movement of VC funding from all around the world. Indeed, over 60 p.c of start-up investments in Brazil are concentrated within the metropolis, and it’s not laborious to see why. The south-eastern megalopolis is dwelling to a wealthy tech ecosystem, which helps a formidable variety of native ‘unicorns,’ in addition to boasting extra fintech start-ups than every other Latin American metropolis. It’s hardly shocking, due to this fact, that tech giants equivalent to Amazon, Uber and Spotify have chosen town as their Latin American base. The well-established nature of São Paulo’s expertise sector has spared it from the worst of the COVID-19 recession, with a lot of its start-ups not simply surviving, however thriving in these financial laborious instances.
2 – Mexico City
Home to over 21 million individuals, the sprawling megacity of Mexico City is quick establishing a popularity as one in all Latin America’s most promising tech hubs. For many traders, Mexico is one thing of a gateway to the remainder of Latin America – whereas Brazil is likely to be extra populous, its main language is Portuguese, which may pose a problem to companies seeking to set up a wide-reaching Latin American presence. Spanish-speaking Mexico, in the meantime, gives the perfect entry level to the area’s rising economies, whereas its capital Mexico City additionally enjoys a strategic location, with the US tech hubs of Los Angeles and Austin a comparatively brief flight away. Streaming large Netflix is one in all many big-name firms which have established a regional headquarters in Mexico City, marking a vote of confidence within the metropolis’s thriving tech group.
3 – Santiago de Chile
There’s a superb motive why the Chilean capital has earned itself the nickname ‘Chilecon Valley.’ A quite distant metropolis, surrounded by the Andean mountains, Santiago is maybe an unlikely tech hub, nevertheless it has lengthy been a hotspot for entrepreneurial exercise. Back in 2010, the Chilean authorities launched the ‘Start-up Chile’ seed accelerator for small enterprise, which gives equity-free investments for start-ups from across the globe. Since its launch, it has labored with over 1,500 start-ups from 80 totally different international locations, in what has been hailed as a world-leading programme. What’s extra, the nation ranks as Latin America’s prime nation for entrepreneurship, in line with the 2020 version of the Global Entrepreneurship Index, with a forward-thinking and adaptable tech group that can assist to drive restoration within the aftermath of the Corona Virus disaster.
4 – Buenos Aires
Some of Latin America’s most profitable start-ups have been borne out of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires – and it’s not simply by probability. The metropolis is dwelling to a vibrant and ever-expanding technological ecosystem, gaining a popularity because the area’s greatest performing tech incubator. Ecommerce large Mercado Libre – typically referred to as the Amazon of Latin America – is undoubtedly town’s biggest success story, however Buenos Aires can also be establishing a reputation for itself as a regional blockchain hotspot, with the variety of Argentinian blockchain and cryptocurrency firms rising by 10 p.c in 2019 alone.
5 – Medellín
Colombia’s second-largest metropolis has seen its tech scene develop considerably lately. The metropolis has been working laborious to reinvent itself and shake off the popularity that has dogged it for therefore a few years – with Time journal dubbing it “the world’s most harmful metropolis” again in 1988. Nowadays, Medellín might be related to some way more constructive adjectives: revolutionary, open and dynamic. In 2019, two of China’s largest tech firms, Huawei and Tuya Smart, introduced that they’d be establishing bases in Medellín, particularly throughout the metropolis’s specially-developed Innovation District. The Ruta N advanced, the place each companies can be primarily based, is a co-working house designed to foster innovation and collaboration between start-ups, with hopes to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the metropolis.