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Latin American Unicorns: Where Fantasy Meets Reality

As the global tech industry continues to grow and evolve, Latin America has emerged as a major player in the scene, with a growing number of successful startups achieving unicorn status. Even with the global economic crisis, Latin America’s private sector and entrepreneurs have shown an uncanny ability to rise above it all and succeed. According to World Finance, by 2021, venture capital investment in Latin American tech had been growing steadily and doubling annually since 2016, and in 2021 alone, $14.8 billion was invested in the region. 

In this blog, we will explore the most successful and innovative startups from across the region, illuminating their unique stories, the challenges they've overcome, and their impact on the tech industry. From Brazil to Mexico and beyond, we will showcase the most exciting and transformative Latin American tech unicorns, inspiring those looking to follow in their footsteps. So come along on this exciting journey as we delve into the fascinating world of Latin American tech unicorns!

Why technology investors and recruiters are targeting Latin America?

Latin America is a treasure trove for shrewd tech investors and recruiters seeking exceptional talent at reasonable rates. The region is home to numerous fast-expanding tech companies and a highly-skilled, youthful workforce.

Sources: LatamList and Hireline

Furthermore, countries such as Mexico, Colombia, and Chile have implemented policies that foster entrepreneurship, streamlining bureaucratic procedures and creating favorable conditions for startups to thrive. Alongside this, Latin America boasts an ever-increasing pool of IT professionals. 

Also, the region has a large pool of highly skilled and educated IT professionals who are proficient in various programming languages and technologies. Latin America is producing big amounts of young engineering talent day by day, making it full of attractive candidates to choose from when companies are looking to set up world-class development tech talent networks or to hire individual remote engineering talent. 

Additionally, time zone and cultural similarities with the United States make it easier to collaborate and communicate with Latin American teams. Plus, Latin American countries have a favorable business climate, with government support for entrepreneurship and innovation. Finally, labor and operational costs are generally lower in Latin America than in the United States, allowing companies to save money without compromising on quality.

Top Startup Destinations

In recent years, Latin America has emerged as a thriving hub for startups and entrepreneurship. With a growing talent pool, favorable business climate, and increasing government support, the region is home to numerous emerging companies that are disrupting industries and making a significant impact.

Here are some of the top startup destinations in Latin America to look at:

São Paulo, Brazil: With a population of over 12 million, São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The city is home to numerous co-working spaces, accelerators, and startup incubators, making it an ideal destination for entrepreneurs looking to connect with like-minded individuals and grow their businesses.

Mexico City, Mexico: As the capital city of Mexico, Mexico City is a bustling metropolis with a thriving startup scene. The city is home to several startup incubators and accelerators, as well as a growing community of tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Several successful startups in Mexico City, such as Rappi, Kavak, and Clip, have achieved unicorn status with over $1 billion valuations.

Bogotá, Colombia: With a population of over 7 million, Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia and a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The city has a growing tech sector, with several notable startups, including Rappi and Liftit, emerging in recent years.

Santiago, Chile: Santiago is the capital city of Chile and home to a vibrant startup ecosystem and one of the top hubs for technology unicorns in Latin America. The city has several incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces, and the government has implemented several policies to support entrepreneurship and innovation. Also, Santiago has become a preferred destination for startups looking to expand their operations in the region, with its strategic location providing easy access to major markets in South America. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. The city boasts a thriving startup ecosystem with a growing number of successful technology companies, including MercadoLibre and Globant, emerging in recent years. Buenos Aires offers a range of advantages to startups, including a talented pool of software developers, a supportive business environment, and access to funding.

Latin America is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, and these five cities represent some of the most promising startup destinations in the region. From São Paulo to Buenos Aires, the region is full of exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to make their mark and disrupt industries. With a supportive ecosystem and a wealth of talented professionals, Latin America is an ideal destination for startups looking to thrive and grow.

5 Latin American Unicorns to keep an eye on

1. Betterfly

Valuation:$1.00B (February 2022)

Country: Chile

Started in: 2018

Industries: FinTech, Fitness, Health Care, InsurTech, Wellness

Number of employees:100-250

Funding Amount: $202.50M

Number of investors:17

https://betterfly.com/en/ 

The company, certified as a B Company for its impact on social and environmental well-being, is also the first Latin American "social unicorn." The company was founded as “Burn To Give” in 2018, a platform that allowed it to convert into food rations the calories burned by its members doing sports, jogging, and cycling, through an app that measured the activity by GPS. In 2020 Burn To Give became Betterfly, a name alluding to the term "butterfly" as the company promotes a "positive butterfly effect that transforms your healthy habits into social impact and financial protection."

Betterfly offers a digital platform of benefits to employees of companies of any size, including financial and wellness education, virtual fitness, telemedicine, and mental health, and rewards its members' healthy habits with life insurance coverage that grows at no cost.

2. Kavak

Valuation:$8.70B (October 2020)

Country: Mexico

Started in:2016

Industries: Automotive, E-Commerce, E-Commerce Platforms, Online Portals

Number of employees:1,000-5,000

Funding Amount:$1,188.00M

Number of investors: 24

https://www.kavak.com/ 

Kavak is a Mexican startup that is transforming the used car industry by providing a platform for buying and selling high-quality, reliable vehicles. The company has quickly become one of Latin America's most successful unicorns, with a valuation of over $8 billion.

Kavak's success can be attributed to its innovative platform and rigorous inspection process. The company's platform allows buyers and sellers to connect in a seamless and efficient way, while Kavak's inspection process ensures that all vehicles are of the highest quality and reliability.

3. Rappi

Valuation:$5.25B (August 2018)

Country: Colombia

Started in: 2015

Industries: Consumer Goods, E-Commerce, Food Delivery

Number of employees: 5,000-10,000

Funding Amount: $2,248.01M

Number of investors: 44

https://www.rappi.com

Rappi is a Colombian startup that is revolutionizing the on-demand delivery industry in Latin America. With a valuation of over $5 billion, Rappi has quickly become one of the region's most successful unicorns.

Rappi's success can be attributed to its innovative platform and commitment to customer satisfaction. The company's platform allows users to order a wide range of products, from groceries and meals to pharmacy items and electronics, with fast and reliable delivery. In addition to its on-demand delivery services, Rappi has also expanded into other areas, such as financial services and travel. This has helped the company to diversify its revenue streams and expand its reach throughout Latin America.

4. Ualá

Valuation: $2.45B (August 2021)

Country: Argentina

Started in: 2017

Industries: Apps, Banking, Financial Services, FinTech, Personal Finance

Number of employees:1,000-5,000

Funding Amount: $608.00M

Number of investors: 22

https://www.uala.com.ar/ 

Ualá is an Argentine startup specializing in financial services in Latin America, with a valuation of over $2 billion. Ualá's comes from its innovative platform and commitment to financial inclusion. The company's platform allows users to access a wide range of financial services, from online payments and savings accounts to investment opportunities and insurance products.

One of the key benefits of Ualá is the ease and convenience of its platform. By using the app, users can manage their finances easily and efficiently, without the need for a physical bank branch. The company also offers a range of services designed to help underserved populations, such as low-income individuals and those without traditional bank accounts, to access financial services. This has helped Ualá to become a leader in financial inclusion throughout Latin America.

In addition to its financial services, Ualá has also expanded into other areas, such as mobile phone services and e-commerce. This has helped the company to diversify its revenue streams and expand its reach throughout the region.

5. Bitso

Valuation: $2.20B (May 2021)

Country: Mexico

Started in: 2014

Industries: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Financial Exchanges, FinTech

Number of employees: 250-500

Funding Amount: $314.66M

Number of investors: 20

https://bitso.com/ 

Bitso is a Mexican cryptocurrency trading platform that facilitates the purchase and sale of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This startup is leading the way in cryptocurrency exchange in Latin America. Its innovative platform, commitment to security and transparency, and diversification into other areas have helped the company to become one of the region's most successful startups.

Bitso's success can be attributed to its innovative platform and commitment to security and transparency. The company's platform allows users to buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, with fast and reliable transactions.

Latin America is home to a growing number of unicorns, which are driving innovation and growth throughout the region. These startups are leveraging cutting-edge technology, innovative business models, and a commitment to customer satisfaction to transform a wide range of industries, from financial services and transportation to e-commerce and on-demand delivery. With a favorable business climate, a growing talent pool, and increasing access to capital, the future looks bright for Latin American unicorns, and we can expect to see even more exciting developments in the years to come.

Finally, the success of Latin American unicorns can be directly related to the existence of highly-skilled software developers in the region. These developers are a critical component in the success of many of these startups, providing the technical expertise needed to build and maintain innovative platforms and products. With a growing number of highly-skilled software developers in Latin America, startups have access to the talent they need to compete on a global scale. This talent pool is a key factor in the region's ability to attract investment and foster innovation. It is likely to continue to fuel the growth of Latin American unicorns in the years to come.

Therefore, looking towards Latin America is a great choice for American companies looking for highly-skilled software developers. Find your local partner to access the best talent in the region and set yourself up for rapid international expansion without most of the typical struggles associated with it. 

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