After more than fifteen years selling to Latin American markets, including five years living in Canada, Myriam Lazarte began organizing LatAm Conference StartUps as part of a successful startup ecosystem. Her job is not just about translating words or language. It’s about translating culture: business attitudes, customs, ways of thinking.
Thanks for joining us Miryam. Could you start by telling us why you took the challenge of launching the LatAm Startup Conference?
Because a wave of startups is coming in Latin America, and I want to see them succeed. They don't have to move to North America to go global -- not unless they want to. LatAm is booming right now and I want to see Canadian investors come down and realize they've got to write some cheques if they want to take advantage of this wave.
What outcomes do you expect for this first edition of LatAm Startups Conference?
We will measure the success of this Conference by how many startups get the funding they need to scale and go global.
I know that you appreciate so much how Canada is developing its startup ecosystem. Are you thinking of copy this model into Latam? If so, why do you think it will get success?
Every country must innovate its own startup model based on local conditions. It would be foolish to try to impose a foreign model in LatAm -- it wouldn't work. That said, there is a great deal LatAm startups can learn from successful Canadian entrepreneurs and investors. The LatAm Startups Conference will feature two days of talks by Canadian thought leaders in this area. It's an opportunity for startups to learn more about how to scale their businesses. It's also an opportunity for North American VC and angel investors to discover what great investment opportunities LatAm now offers.
For startups specifically, what would you say are the biggest strengths of Latam?
Technology is increasingly democratic and global. The cost of entry to write code, to prototype the next breakthrough in green-tech, or clean-tech, or bio-tech, is much, much cheaper than it was even five years ago.
LatAm inventors, coders, tinkers, and entrepreneurs can now create startups with relatively little seed capital. World-changing ideas will come from Latin America. I tell investors: Get a head start and discover LatAm now before everyone else does.
In what areas would you say Latam is well developed?
Latin America is booming. The region is playing catch-up with the developed world, but it won't be more than 5-10 years before the major players in LatAm take their seats at the table with Europe and North America. VC and angel investors curious about this phenomenon should consider attending the LatAm Startups Conference.
Where is the highest growth expected in the nearby future?
Software. Green-tech. Clean-tech. Bio-tech.
What are some of the major organizations driving the startup community
Startup Chile, of course. Startup Brasil. Also privately-funded incubators/accelerators like NXTP Labs in Argentina. Wayra, too.
For whom does Latam offer great opportunities at the moment?
Latin America is producing tons of great startups, world-changing innovations that go nowhere fast because they lack the capital to do so. Angel investors would be well-advised to add a LatAm startup or two to their portfolio.
Are there any people / skills specifically that are wanted in Latam?
Capital! Bring us your tired, your weary, your dollars. We will put them to good use, and give you great ROI in return!
If there was one thing you could say to entrepreneurs from other corners of the world, what would it be?
You don't have to be based in Silicon Valley to succeed.
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