Latin America is stealing the world’s attention in the startup ecosystem. More and more unicorns are emerging, attracting more capital and making the region an important innovation hub.
Latin America has always been characterized by an economy based on agriculture and raw materials. When thinking about technology and innovation, the eyes of the world turned to Asia and the United States. However, with the turn of the millennium, start-ups began to appear and found their way to rapid growth.
Between 2005 and 2013, the first unicorn companies in the region began to appear. But it was in recent years that they began to have a boom and now the south of the continent has become a cradle for this type of company. Remember that unicorn is the term used to refer to those companies that are valued by the market or private equity funds at more than $1,000 million dollars.
The presence of unicorns is important not only because they drive innovation, but also because they become economic and social accelerators for a region that has historically been mired in underdevelopment. This technological awakening is building a path of rapid economic growth that is also opening the door to greater social inclusion.
People’s habits are changing, governments are paying more attention to technological transformation and Latin America is succeeding in exporting talent to the rest of the world.
Brazil continues to dominate as the giant it has always been. In fact, Nubank, the most important fintech in the region, has a current valuation of $25 million dollars. The South American giant is also the country with the largest number of technology companies with 48%, followed by Argentina 19%, Mexico 14%, Chile 8% and Colombia 7%.
Mexico and Argentina are starting to take on unprecedented strength. The northern country has a strong ecosystem of investors and capital, as well as a very large market for sectors such as fintech and proptech. For its part, Argentina has created four of the most important unicorns on the continent: Mercado Libre, Globant, OLX and Despegar. But surprisingly, in the last month they added 6 new unicorns: Auth0, Vercel, Aleph, Mural, Bitfarms, Ualá and Tiendanube.
In particular, Mercado Libre reached the category of ‘hectacorn’ at the beginning of this year, achieving a valuation of more than $100,000 million dollars.
Chile continues to be characterized as one of the countries with the greatest innovation and best conditions for entrepreneurship. And Colombia, along the same path, stands out more and more at the regional level for its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Government policies are driving growth and cities like Bogotá and Medellín are becoming increasingly attractive for investment and innovation.
Currently Brazil has 22 unicorns, Argentina 11, Mexico 5, Chile 2, Colombia 1 and Uruguay 1.
Latin America continues to grow strong. Digital transformation is a priority that is making unprecedented strides, investments are getting stronger. Innovation is becoming a landmark and human talent is becoming more and more evident. Surely more unicorns are on the way and greater prominence and growth for the region.
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay