The seven startups that pitched their businesses to the investors were Apparta, an app for making restaurant reservations; Talentu, a program that helps companies optimize their hiring processes; Nauty 360, a boat rental platform; Saludtools, a medical software that reduces administrative procedures during doctor appointments; Teclogi, a platform that helps companies with their logistic operations; Todos Comemos, a service that delivers homemade food; and Zulu, a digital wallet that handles transactions in US dollars for the Latino audience.
The event turned out to be successful. Every company had at least one interested investor, and in the end, there were 66 potential investment opportunities for these startups that aim to improve Colombian’s quality of life and expand their operations to other countries in the region. Another thing that helped these companies to have such an outreach was that ‘Colombia Venture Nation’ was held amidst the VC Latam Summit, which happened also in Miami and assembled several Venture Capitals from Latin America.
Another key component for success was the fact that two Country Brand Ambassadors gave the companies a mentoring session prior to the pitching event. Both Andres Barreto, Managing Director at Techstars and Valerie López, CEO and founder of Angle, led a training plenary that’s one of a kind for this new generation of entrepreneurs.
“We are fully aware of the potential of the Colombian startup ecosystem and that’s why we are committed to its development through initiatives like Venture Nation, because we believe that all that these great entrepreneurs need is the opportunity to meet key players, investors and funds in order to grow faster and stronger than ever”, said Francisco Noguera, president of the Colombian entrepreneurship and innovation agency, iNNpulsa Colombia.
In fact, Colombia is a role-model in the whole region in terms of its entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, which is made of 1,110 startups that cover more than 20 sectors. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, in 2019, Colombia was the third most entrepreneurial country in Latin America; and more recent data from CEOWORLD magazine ranked Colombia as the most entrepreneurial country in the region in 2021.
“For many investors, Colombia has become attractive because there is an ecosystem with growth potential and great startups. For this reason, we consider it’s important to support events such as the VC Latam Summit and Venture Nation, where the VC ecosystem can access to an international network, and new business opportunities can be generated between startups and venture capital funds. From ColCapital, we will continue to work for the consolidation of the VC sector in Colombia", says Paola García Barreneche, executive director of ColCapital".
The Colombian entrepreneurship ecosystem is also heavily supported by public policies. For instance, the National Development Plan 2018-2022 and the National Entrepreneurship Policy (CONPES 4011), which was enabled by the Entrepreneurship Law, approved back in 2020, encourage entrepreneurial initiatives by offering benefits that help formalization, productivity and the creation of an entrepreneurial culture in the country. In addition, the work made by agencies like iNNpulsa and ProColombia is also very important for supporting startups all over the country and showcasing them to the world through events like ‘Colombia Venture Nation’.
“With this, Colombia becomes a benchmark at the regional level, as a nation that, through updated public policy, promotes the transformation of its entrepreneurial ecosystem”, said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.
“Colombia is the perfect gateway for entry and expansion in Latin America because of its competitive costs; because it has the best investment protection, as indicated by the World Bank's Doing Business, as well as skilled labor and proximity to strategic markets. And, unlike other countries, Colombia has multiple business centers and several regions with different sectoral vocations”, Santoro added.
Colombia’s main goal regarding the growth of the entrepreneurship ecosystem is to become a catalyst country for ‘unicorns. This year’s goal is to have at least two unicorn companies by the end of 2022. The first Colombian company that ever became a unicorn was Rappi back in 2018 and Habi, the largest protech in Latin America, just became the second unicorn in Colombia a few weeks ago!
The first round of ‘Colombia Venture Nation’ was held in San Francisco, in the earlier days of May, and had the participation of 11 Colombian startups from the technological sector who met with 14 VCs from the United States.
For more information about investment opportunities in Colombia, please go to: investincolombia.com.co