This Startup Accelerator Aims To Be The Y Combinator Of Latin America


Latin America’s tech scene is rising up. There’s no denying the speedy tempo of development within the area, with record amounts of transactions recorded in 2020, and over $4 billion in capital raised, all regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the regional ecosystem matures, native founders, mentors, and traders are enjoying a bigger position in supporting the following wave of innovation. One such participant, Chile-based accelerator program Platanus Ventures, is hustling to find and assist construct native corporations fixing native issues. I spoke with the Platanus Ventures group and their portfolio corporations to study extra in regards to the alternative they’re chasing, and why they’re uniquely positioned to succeed.

Latin America: The Proper Substances for Lasting Technological Disruption

The case for startup development in Latin America, and greater than that, expertise catalyzing financial development on a big scale, has by no means been stronger than it’s at present. Latin America is a compelling marketplace for a number of causes, together with an actual want for brand spanking new options to outdated and widespread issues, a comparatively widespread tradition and language (aside from Brazil) in comparison with different world areas, and a big, younger, tech-savvy inhabitants prepared and capable of break with conference. 

A lot of Latin America’s economies are characterised by volatility, inequality, and inefficiency. A lot of the inhabitants is minimize off from accessing their nation’s monetary system, creating separate formal and casual economies. In a area with 600 million individuals, the precise serviceable shopper market is way smaller—for now.

These challenges can and must be reframed as alternatives. As a current post from Sequoia Capital famous, “LatAm is the best setting for the web economic system to disrupt the true economic system. LatAm is house to a comparatively younger inhabitants that’s internet- and mobile-native…Furthermore, Latin America is house to a rising center class that’s now buying healthcare and training, automobiles and houses, supply providers and e-commerce.”

The place Expertise Meets Alternative

The present development is being pushed by a stability of expertise and alternative—provide and demand. Whereas Latin America has lengthy been a “good market” for development, over the previous few years, the extent of skilled founder and investor expertise has matured, that means far more of the chance within the area could be realized. There’s been a noticeable shift in Latin America from copycat startups to localized services uniquely tailor-made to Latam’s various markets. Every current success story and mega-round of enterprise capital funding, from Cornershop (Chile) to Rappi (Colombia) to Nubank (Brazil), infuses the ecosystem with new leaders and contemporary native capital. The Latin American startup ecosystem is regularly changing into extra localized—extra self-sustaining.

Platanus Ventures: A Homegrown Accelerator to Propel Startup Progress

If localization and a deep understanding of native market dynamics and shopper preferences is the important thing to Latam’s tech development, the logical evolution of the ecosystem is to additional construct out its personal infrastructure. On this regard, Latin America has made nice strides as talked about above when it comes to founder expertise and funding: the area is the world’s quickest rising enterprise capital market. Nonetheless, there are nonetheless lacking hyperlinks; capital could be arduous to lift, particularly in markets like Chile the place traders are risk-averse. What’s wanted to maximise development is the maturation of correct native startup incubation and acceleration infrastructure to efficiently floor and direct new startups in the direction of the appropriate traders. Startup accelerators are short-term, growth-oriented applications whose objective is to remodel concepts into merchandise, and merchandise into higher, extra scalable merchandise.

That is the place Platanus Ventures matches in. Platanus Ventures is an up-and-coming accelerator program began by 5 leaders of the Chilean startup neighborhood: Agustin Feuerhake, Andres Matte, Paula Enei, Jaime Bünzli, and Joaquin Stephens. Feuerhake and Bünzli are every co-founders of profitable native startups (wealth administration startup Fintual and crypto trade Buda, respectively); Matte comes from a software program engineering background at software program agency Platanus, which is affiliated with the accelerator program; Stephens labored as a lawyer within the tech area; lastly, Enei beforehand labored at Startup Chile, the renown public accelerator program.

These founders bonded over a core mission: to make use of their information and experience to create an unique founder-friendly program specializing in early stage corporations with robust technical foundations. Their supply to Latin American startups: mentorship, technical assist, and US$50,000 in trade for 7% fairness within the enterprise.

Spectacular Early Outcomes

Platanus Ventures lately wrapped up its second distant cohort, or era, of startups, and to this point has supported 9 startups complete. This system has been deliberately selective, accepting solely 2% of candidates in an effort to dedicate its time to some high-potential corporations. The aim is to ultimately assist two generations of startups per 12 months within the Fall and Spring, with 5 startups in every era collaborating within the 3-month program.

As with all accelerator program, the measure of its success is within the outcomes of its startups. The early outcomes for Platanus Ventures are promising. In a demo day occasion hosted by Platanus to current its first era startups to an viewers of traders, representing the end result of this system, startups raised over US$400,000 in 72 hours. Within the second era demo day, 4 startups collectively raised US$1.3 million, and three of the 4 closed their goal funding rounds inside 72 hours. Moreover, two startups from this second era utilized and had been accepted to the distinguished Y Combinator accelerator as the following step of their journey.

What Differentiates Platanus Ventures

It’s arduous to disregard these outcomes, however Platanus Ventures is in no way the one high quality accelerator program catering to Latin America’s startups. Notable native gamers embrace 500 Startups Latam, NXTP Ventures (technically an early stage investor though beforehand operated as an accelerator), and Wayra. Moreover, main U.S. accelerators reminiscent of Y Combinator have began investing closely in sourcing and supporting companies from Latin America.

What differentiates Platanus Ventures from different accelerator applications? To start out, Platanus Ventures was constructed by native founders, in distinction with many different accelerators which might be both not constructed by founders, or not constructed by native founders. Because the group at Examedi, a healthcare market from the second era, famous: “Platanus Ventures supplies the mentorship from an experience-based standpoint. Coming into this system, you might be surrounded by founders who’ve already gone via what you’re going via, and are prepared to offer their opinion on sure enterprise methods and choices.”

Moreover, Platanus Ventures prides itself on understanding the significance of expertise in constructing a profitable startup. The truth is, Platanus Ventures requires every of its startups to have a technical co-founder. This system’s origins and operations are deeply rooted in expertise. For its current demo day, Platanus Ventures developed a digital platform via which it invited traders, enabled startups to pitch the traders, and facilitated conferences between corporations and traders to lift capital. All funding in Platanus Ventures corporations was accomplished utilizing software program. This system additionally gives a technical assist observe for startups hiring builders. It leverages its related Platanus software program agency to supply startups rapid growth assist at a diminished fee.

Lastly, Platanus Ventures has constructed a stellar mentorship community, supported by founders from native success tales like Cornershop and lots of the Latin American founders who beforehand participated within the Y combinator program. Because the group at Fintoc, a startup from the primary Platanus Ventures era that subsequently was accepted to Y Combinator, identified, as a result of there are so few startups in every cohort, “it’s extra personalised and boosts your execution in a better means firstly. We see Platanus Ventures as a greater various [than other accelerators] for idea-stage startups.” 

The Subsequent Section

There’s a lot work that is still for Platanus Ventures, and others prefer it, to make an enduring affect of Latin America’s tech ecosystem. This contains increasing past Chile, the homebase for this system’s operations and the headquarters for all the startups which have participated within the first two generations. The founding group has already begun exploring Mexico as its subsequent goal market, and the distant, software-enabled nature of this system ought to facilitate scaling to a number of markets.

Platanus Ventures can be engaged on hanging the appropriate stability of serving to startups internationalize as rapidly as doable, whereas proving its worth in order that startups respect the advantage of becoming a member of an area accelerator versus a world program. Three of the 9 Platanus Ventures startups have participated in Y Combinator following the Platanus Ventures program. Nonetheless, Platanus Ventures views itself initially as an area development catalyst versus a feeder to Y Combinator.

Final, Platanus Ventures is concentrated on increasing its neighborhood. The group has created a mannequin of “related startups” that can be inaugurated by our subsequent batch. Which means that all of the startups that take part on this batch will make an fairness swap of 1% with the remainder of their era. With this, Platanus Ventures seeks to acknowledge and financially incentivize the assist that’s organically given between founders.

Ideally, the efforts of Platanus Ventures and its counterparts will proceed to energise the area, and to be the glue that fuses compelling founders and merchandise with capital to propel development. Be looking out for extra to return from Platanus Ventures—the following era begins in September 2021 and runs via December 2021.



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