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CHAPTER 1

The List

Tecnolatinas have already proven that Latin America can succeed in creating value in businesses driven by technology. Latin America already has nine (9) companies worth over US$1B, or Unicorns, as they are normally called in the industry, given their relative rarity in the startup world.

These LatAm Unicorns have a collective net worth of US$23.2B and represent the bulk of the value of the ecosystem (61%). The majority of them are focused on the Internet space and were born before or shortly after the 2001 Internet bubble bust (except OLX and software companies Softtek and Totvs), showing how digital ventures can create tremendous value creation in a relatively short period of time.

As it comes out clearly from the list, most of the Tecnolatinas in our Radar are concentrated in Brazil (59), Argentina (22) and Mexico (17). It also shows the map of Tecnolatinas is very different from the map of Multilatinas, i.e. the multinationals from Latin America, mostly in traditional sectors),  thus showing that the key success factors in this space are very different from those of the traditional sectors.

Brazil and Argentina cluster 37% of the Multilatinas but a whooping 66% of the Tecnolatinas (and Argentina accounts for 37% of the regional ecosystem total value). On the other hand, Mexico, Chile and Colombia account for 55% of the Multilatinas but only 29% of the Tecnolatinas.

Most of the Tecnolatinas are based in the largest megacities of the region: Sao Paulo (51), Buenos Aires (20) and Mexico City (13) represent 68% of these companies and 87% of the ecosystem value creation, highlighting the value of a large and diverse pool of talent and early success. But clearly the Tecnolatinas revolution is quickly spreading across the region and we expect the portfolios of other cities like Santiago to flourish as their ecosystems mature.

 

 

Most of the Tecnolatinas in our Radar (58%) are worth less than US$100M but, as we mentioned above, most of the value is concentrated in the most successful companies: Unicorns (worth over US$1B each) represent 61% of the total ecosystem value.

The conclusion is twofold. On the one hand, it confirms he winner takes most nature of technology markets and startup portfolios; on the other, it reflects the fact that most of them are still young and also that making it to the top league is not easy and takes time.

 

The vast majority of Tecnolatinas are new (69% are less than ten years old) and were created by young and daring entrepreneurs. They are the result of a rapidly blossoming supportive ecosystem that includes NGOs, universities, investors, governments and service providers. Their cultural reference is Silicon Valley. They keep themselves updated on global and regional market trends using the most advanced digital technologies. They are constantly experimenting with the latest business practices like the business model canvass, A/B testing and crowdfunding. They are out to change the world and in many cases they are proving that is not such a far-fetched aspiration but a real possibility

Most Tecnolatinas are focused on the consumer internet space, but many are going beyond. The most common strand is made up of consumer Internet regional players that replicate and localize the model of successful US players that have yet to set a foot in the region. They focus on spaces where there is local friction (ie. need for distribution, contracts, payment solutions). They create value by developing what will later often become building blocks for global players, accelerating penetration of powerful solutions in the region. But many Tecnolatinas are having success in other fields such as games (Etermax), space (Satellogic), software (Globant) or the Internet of Things (Bluesmart).

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