Startup and entrepreneurial trends are growing all around the world. Greater economic stability and quotidian innovation inspire cunning businesspeople into forming their own business. Some countries and regions are better suited for this growth in entrepreneurial spirit and have already seen great success. Nowadays, Colombia is one of the many countries seeing high levels of entrepreneurship and institutionalized support for startups. Colombia’s government has supported innovation and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. As a result, the country is now seeing progress and great success with some its earlier startups. Serving as inspiration for current and future entrepreneurs, The StartupVC gives a comprehensive overview of the top five startups in Colombia.
Economic climate for startups in Colombia
Colombia is hardly a stranger to startup growth and success. The country has been an attractive site for entrepreneurs and startup businesses for quite a while. Thanks to a variety of positive and impactful changes in the country, its politics, and economy, startups in Colombia have an even brighter future ahead.
The popularity and prosperity of startups in Colombia started back when the country was turning itself around. This move to have a strong economy and attractive business markets started with an increasing consumer base in the country. This makes market sizes for different industries larger and stimulates more revenue. Globally, Colombia has the 29th largest population, reaching nearly 50 million. What’s more is that this population base is becoming wealthier too. The country’s middle class has more than doubled over the past fifteen years. A larger middle class stimulates the economy and promotes spending, both of which are attractive aspects for a startup environment.
National support for startups and entrepreneurship
Growth of startups in Colombia also came due to increased government support, international relations, and foreign direct investments. Governmental support for innovation and entrepreneurship is evident through the many incubators, accelerators, and coaching programs for startups throughout the country. These public resources help guide entrepreneurs while they are forming their startup, developing new technologies, and/or testing the waters to see if a career in entrepreneurship is right for them. Heightened international relations also contributes to the growth and success of startups in Colombia. Trade deals and foreign-owned companies in Colombia make promoting mutually beneficial international business easy for the Andean country. Finally, with so many encouraging signs and trends, foreign investments in Colombia have been rising. In 2018, the country received five times more venture capital funding than they had the year prior. Standout Colombian startups are catching everyone’s eyes as they dominate Latin American, and global, markets.
The MVP of startups in Colombia: Rappi
Rappi is one of Colombia’s best-known startup businesses. Founded in 2015 by three Colombian entrepreneurs, Rappi is an on-demand, mobile delivery service. Now, it operates in nine different countries throughout Latin America. In 2016, investors allocated around $2 million for the company. After working through a couple of accelerator and incubator programs, the company received over $200 million in investments. A year later, in 2019, Rappi received its largest investment to date from a Japanese holding company called SoftBank: $1 billion. This investment captured the attention of many onlookers and investors worldwide. Latin America was now on the map as being home to a large, virally popular service that innovated and changed the world around it. Currently, Rappi has a total company valuation of about $3.6 billion.
Why was Rappi so successful in such a relatively short amount of time? The three entrepreneurs were able to take an innovative idea, incorporate the latest technologies and applications, and employ the training and tools they received from the accelerators and incubators. Moreover, the company expanded its service as it grew. Starting out purely as a food and drink delivery service, it now gives the option of having groceries, medicine, and other goods delivered to customers. Beyond internal, controllable factors, it also had to do with the external environment. Political unrest, unstable economies, and lack of connectedness to the rest of the world do not define the Latin America of today. Prior to Rappi, investors worldwide were already poking around Latin America, looking for the region’s game changer to step out and make a move.
Biz Latin Hub
Leaving the food industry and diving into the B2B services sector, Biz Latin Hub is one of Colombia’s fastest growing startups. Founded in 2014, BLH is Latin America’s leading commercial representation and back-office services provider. Working with both domestic and foreign companies, BLH plays a key role in the successful global expansion of its clients. By providing multilingual services, streamlined processes, personalized solutions, and a network of eighteen different offices in corresponding countries around the world, Biz Latin Hub’s clients have all the tools and resources they need to successfully expand their businesses and operations to a multinational or worldwide scale.
Biz Online Marketing
Diving into the PR and digital marketing world, Biz Online Marketing is one of the newest startups in Colombia on the scene. Tailored services and unique digital marketing plans provide clients with standout brand personalities that come through even online. Services from BOM include online public relations, personal branding, business logos and designs, and promotional videos. By focusing on search engine optimization and online digital footprints, BOM creates a cohesive online message and relationship with site visitors for their client. Biz Online Marketing serves a wide variety of clients, positioning those in both B2B and B2C sectors.
Feelenials is an up-and-coming Colombian startup that works to use artificial intelligence and technology to humanize and refine workplaces. With such stark juxtaposition as the company’s main goal, one might be unsure exactly how Feelenials works. The founders saw the growing importance of workplace culture and happiness for employees and company-wide productivity. With this as the driving ‘why,’ they looked into how AI can be used to improve employee mood. Although the startup is still in its bootstrapping phase, it has planned to officially launch in June of 2020.
Feelenials uses AI for emotion analytics. With a calculated algorithm, the technology identifies different moods, feelings, and general wellbeing of employees in an organization. The AI software does this by analyzing micro-facial expressions, tone of voice, and written works such as e-mail. By compiling this data into a cohesive report, leadership at any organization will get a glimpse into their overall effectiveness, workplace culture and energy, and employee productivity and loyalty.
Successful startups in Colombia continues to impress industry standards and experts with companies like DataGran. Established in 2017, DataGran is a “all in one data workspace.” Without coding, DataGran enables companies to employ machine learning (ML) quickly to get production rolling. Altogether, the DataGran incorporates five different tools into one program to facilitate data learning and collaboration. The company has been so successful because it is useful and applicable to both large and small companies. Already, organizations such as Falabella, Telefonica, Discovery Channel, Rappi, Kia, and Team Solutions uses this company to innovate and efficiently run their businesses.
Stay up to date on the latest startups in Colombia
Startups in Colombia are always working on the next best thing, constantly innovating and inventing, and generating economic and crucial market activity every day. With so much activity constantly occurring, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest startup and entrepreneurial news and trends in Colombia. Truly, all of Latin America is becoming and innovation hub. Colombia is leading this charge with its countless successful startups. To stay informed on the latest Latin American and Colombian startup news, follow The StartupVC on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.