Fortaleciendo el ecosistema de startups en Latinoamérica

Por @MarcNager

Latinoamérica siempre me ha parecido una región fascinante. Su diversidad cultural y geográfica la convierten en una de las más interesantes del mundo. De la misma forma, siempre me han llamado la atención aquellas cosas que son comunes a los latinoamericanos, sobre todo su capacidad de adaptarse a los cambios y su imaginación infinita para superar las adversidades.

No es sorpresa, entonces, que América Latina sea una de las regiones más emprendedoras y que su ecosistema de startups sea uno de los más pujantes y con mayor potencial del planeta. Diversas empresas tecnológicas han surgido de la región en los últimos años, e incluso  muchas de ellas se han consolidado en mercados que en principio son ajenos, como el norteamericano.

Latinoamérica se encuentra ante una oportunidad histórica de generar riqueza y empleo a través del emprendimiento, apoyándose en su ADN emprendedor para generar nuevas empresas y atrayendo startups extranjeras con miras a que basen sus operaciones en la región en búsqueda de nuevos usuarios. Aprovechar este potencial requiere que los gobiernos sean capaces de articular políticas públicas inteligentes con foco en las necesidades e inquietudes de los emprendedores latinos, impulsando un enfoque de innovación hacia la resolución de problemas locales.  

A partir de estas problemáticas, desde Techstars, y con el apoyo de Google, hemos llevado adelante un proceso de discusión con emprendedores y referentes del sector acerca de los cinco pilares que consideramos son necesarios para generar comunidades prósperas de emprendimiento en la región, incluyendo políticas públicas. Durante el 2015, se han  organizado talleres de discusión en nueve ciudades de Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, México, Perú y República Dominicana para compartir inquietudes, detectar casos de éxito y pensar en soluciones de políticas públicas que fortalezcan el ecosistema de startups en base a esos cinco pilares: cultura, densidad, capital, talento y ambiente regulatorio.

Entre los resultados más interesantes detectamos la necesidad de generar más mujeres emprendedoras impulsando el estudio de carreras tecnológicas desde edades tempranas en este grupo demográfico, y de trabajar en cambiar la percepción a veces equivocada que se tiene en la región sobre el emprendimiento y sobre el fracaso como parte del proceso de aprendizaje. Desde el punto de vista regulatorio, tuvimos algunos temas con mayor discusión; legislaciones modernas y armonizadas entre los diferentes países de la región que simplifiquen los procesos de generación y cierre de empresas,  limiten la responsabilidad de los intermediarios por contenido generado por sus usuarios y fomenten la disponibilidad de capital. Lo más sorprendente, sin embargo, fue encontrarnos con decenas de ejemplos de iniciativas y modelos exitosos en la región y que pueden replicarse y utilizarse como referencia por otros países.   

Fostering Entrepreneurship Communities in Latam One Pager

Éstas, entre otras conclusiones y recomendaciones se encuentran documentadas en el informe “Fomentando el ecosistema de emprendimiento en Latinoamérica”, que con orgullo presentamos esta semana en el Global Entrepreneurship Congress en Medellín, Colombia, ante líderes mundiales y que puedes consultar al final de esta publicación. Confiamos en que este proceso sea el primer paso hacia una mayor participación de los emprendedores en la construcción de herramientas y políticas que los afectan directamente, a través de más instancias de discusión e involucramiento de las comunidades. El desarrollo del ecosistema de startups debe basarse en una mayor articulación público-privada, de forma tal que todos los actores que lo conforman, directa o indirectamente, puedan aprovechar los beneficios del emprendimiento.   

Puedes encontrar el Blog Post original aquí. 







White Paper 2.0: ¿Cómo se ve el emprendimiento en Latinoamérica?

En septiembre de 2014, UP Global en conjunto con Google for Entrepreneurs, lanzó el White Paper, anunciando 5 ingredientes que ayudan al fomento de un ecosistema de innovación y startups. En este documento, se ofrece un esquema de trabajo y lenguaje común para las comunidades de emprendimiento alrededor del mundo. La publicación resalta cinco ingredientes críticos que soportan a los ecosistemas prósperos de emprendimiento: talento, densidad, cultura, capital y ambiente regulatorio.

En Latinoamérica buscamos lanzar la versión 2.0 de este proyecto a finales de 2015; teniendo en cuenta las ciudades principales de Latinoamérica e incluyendo diferentes tipos de mercado en la región, hemos estado trabajando en conjunto con Google Latinoamérica para el análisis de problemas y soluciones en la región dentro de los cinco pilares.

La semana pasada, se llevó a cabo el primer workshop de la Ciudad de México en WRK, espacio de co-working anfitrión de la oficina regional de UP Global. Dentro de este taller, tuvimos la participación de representantes de la comunidad de emprendimiento, instituciones universitarias y de apoyo al emprendimiento, inversionistas, aceleradoras, gobierno, y más.

La dinámica, liderada por Leticia Gasca, de Fuckup Nights, tuvo un gran resultado; se obtuvieron los principales problemas de cada pilar en la primera parte del taller y durante la segunda se crearon grupos de trabajo para generar soluciones a esos problemas específicos.

Este proyecto, que ha llevado a cabo sesiones en otras 5 ciudades latinas, incluyendo Bogotá, Buenos Aires, San José de Costa Rica, Lima y Guatemala, se realizará además en Guayaquil, Guadalajara, Medellín, Viña del Mar y Santo Domingo; y continuará con una serie de Hangouts y Mesas Redondas en las que se discutirán las soluciones para así crear un segundo documento enfocado en la región.

Para más información acerca del White Paper 2.0, sigue a UP Latam en redes sociales. Twitter, Facebook y LinkedIn.








Week Three: New Regulations Affect London's Startup Community

Over the course of five weeks, UP Global is highlighting the 5 key ingredients for Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem’ in cities: Bogotá, Seattle, London, Tehran, and Nairobi

whitepaper, UP Global

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The Imperial West Innovation District is located near London’s White City. The project’s centerpiece is a 48,000 sq. meter ‘hub’ intended to support 1,000 students, researchers, and entrepreneurs through the Imperial College London.

startup weekend LondonEntrepreneurs at Startup Weekend London. 

The project’s hub will use more than half of a £200 public investment by the United Kingdom to develop the cluster in support of a dense, innovative workforce, and a culture for startups.

Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem suggests that governments can encourage entrepreneurs by providing hospitable regulation for operating and investing in startups. The UK’s premier entrepreneurial cluster will also be supported by taxes placed upon several of Silicon Valley’s most influential companies.

The UK government has followed other European nations by proposing targeted tax policies for Google, Facebook, and Apple– including a 25% tax on the ‘economic activity’ conducted by tech multinationals in the UK.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this so-called, ‘Google Tax,’ is structured to raise approximately £1 billion in tax revenue for the UK over the next five years; and like legislation in the EU, is directed at taxing companies that sell digital ad products overseas.

The revenue created by the UK’s prospective corporate taxes are intended to support startup policies developed by the government. London’s officials have been investing in the city’s startup community for several years, and are eager for additional funding.

“In 2010, aides to Prime Minister David Cameron stumbled across a cluster of British high-tech companies that were thriving despite the recession – and without any government aid,” Emma Vandore, an urban policy expert, wrote in the Lisbon Council. “Alerted to the potential of Silicon Roundabout, as the cluster is known, officials were quick to see the potential – and to take action. Within months, the Tech City Initiative was conceived and launched by [Prime Minister] Cameron.”

The UK government uses this kind of official patronage to generate excitement and legitimacy for London’s tech scene, and beyond Prime Minister Cameron, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also been recruited to help promote London’s startup potential.

UP Global, Startup Weekend LondonWilliam and Kate, no strangers to the London tech scene, play with HP TouchPad at L.A. event

In contrast with an otherwise-strict immigration policy, the UK has recently offered regulatory support for an ‘entrepreneur’s visa’ as a way to attract startup talent from sluggish markets in Europe. According to Vandore, this policy was made possible through monthly breakfasts at 10 Downing Street, in which regulators and entrepreneurs discussed startup ecosystems.

London seeks to out-compete its European counterparts by cultivating a strategic, physical ecosystem for entrepreneurs and researchers to collaborate. It has accommodated foreign entrepreneurs who want to work at startups in the UK, and has piled on the support of regulators and academics alike.

But in its attempt to cater to startup businesses, the UK has also targeted tech multinationals (who invest heavily in entrepreneurship,) with a 25% tax rate, and this may reduce the willing participation of large companies in London’s startup community.

The question is, will such a tax help or hurt London’s startup ecosystem over the next ten years?  

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We invite you to read along and lend your perspective.
What challenges are you facing in your community?
What solutions have you developed?
What questions do you have about these communities?

#ThrivingEcosystem








Week Two: Corporate Capital Propels Seattle's NewSpace Industry.

Over the course of five weeks, UP Global is highlighting the 5 key ingredients for Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem’ in cities: BogotáSeattleLondonTehran, and Nairobi

UP Global, whitepaper

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In concert with an established entrepreneurial community, Seattle has become a premier cluster for raising capital– particularly for private space industries. For more than a decade, the city has quietly hosted several of the world’s most well-funded private space ventures and just today, Elon Musk announced plans for a Seattle office for Mars colonization.

startup weekend space, spaceParticipants at Startup Weekend Space. 

Seattle has nurtured such celebrated brands as Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon, but it owes its reputation as the ‘Jet City’ to an older, innovative local: Boeing. Boeing became a cornerstone for Seattle’s economy through funding advances in human air travel, and through its continuing investments in human flight, the company remains close to the Seattle’s current renaissance in jet technology.

“Seattle is a great place to start a space business,” Eric Anderson, co-founder of Planetary Resources said at an August fundraiser. “There’s a confluence of high-tech hardware and software communities, and a highly educated workforce [in Seattle].”

“I like to call Seattle, ‘Silicon Valley light.’”

Planetary Resources, a company researching the technology necessary for mineral retrieval from space, is located east of Seattle, near Microsoft. Anderson also helped found Space Adventures in 1997, the first private-sector company to successfully brokerage space tourism. The company’s first client, Dennis Tito, paid $20 million for six days in space.

startup weekend space, space

Founded in 2010, Planetary Resources has attracted such billionaire investors as Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and Charles Simonyi (the only private citizen to travel recreationally into space, twice) to the idea of mining in space.

Anderson said that Seattle– like Silicon Valley– has a powerful combination of available capital and innovative culture. Anderson cited the relationship between Seattle’s academic and aeronautics communities as a value partnership for the development of space exploration.

Blue Origin, Boeing, and Planetary Resources are all located within a ten-mile radius of the University of Washington, which offers top-tier programming in computer science and medicine, and accounts for thousands of educated residents in Seattle. The area is also home to such influential space investors as Simonyi, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates.

With close to $500 million in personal investment from Bezos, Blue Origin intends to design, manufacture, and sell rocket technology to other privatized space organizations over the coming decades.

During the “Space Race”– the famous Cold War subplot of spending and political control of outer space­– the US government invested up to five cents from every tax dollar into the development of technologies related to space exploration and research.

startup weekend space, space

Currently, less than half a cent of every tax dollar is used in this way.

Government divestment from space has inspired influential investors from Seattle (and around the world,) to apply their knack for business innovation towards operating privatized industries in the newly underserved markets of space.

“In 2012, for the first time, global government spending in space declined… However, the space industry as a whole expanded due to the exponential growth of emerging commercial space companies,” Chad Anderson, European managing director at Space Angels Network, said. “The growth going forward is expected to continue to come from new commercial business models, entrepreneurs, and startups.”

Based in Seattle, Space Angels Network is a global agency of 50 seed and early-stage investors focused entirely on private-sector space ventures. The organization is the global leader in angel investment for private space startups.

Billionaires Elon Musk (of SpaceX,) and Richard Branson (of Virgin Galactic,) have made well-publicized investments in space technology over the past decade, as well, and have substantiated the possibilities for individual investors in space’s private-sector.

Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem found that whether businesses are just starting, or trying to scale, access to capital is critical for success. Experienced capital– through billionaire investors or through firms– can really make a difference for new companies. Policy makers can also take proactive measures to make it easier for startups to access the capital required to start and grow businesses.

Through available capital for Seattle’s space companies, the city looks to solidify its status along Houston and Cape Canaveral as global centers for space innovation. Seattle earned its “Jet City” credo from a commitment to building airplanes, and contemporary investors hope to return the city to a leadership role in building jet technology for the future.

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We invite you to read along and lend your perspective.

What challenges are you facing in your community?

What solutions have you developed?

What questions do you have about these communities?

#ThrivingEcosystem








Week One: Urban Density Fuels Innovation in Bogotá

In conjunction with our recently published white paper, UP Global is spotlighting five communities, on five continents, that exhibit one of the entrepreneurial ingredients documented by our research: density, talent, culture, capital, and regulatory practices.

Over the course of five weeks, UP Global is highlighting these key ingredients in Bogota, London, Seattle, Tehran, and Nairobi– to get a local view of the challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs.

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Innovation is sewn at the intersection of great minds; where the density of talented thinkers and makers is high, the potential to “Make Your Own Silicon Valley” dramatically increases. Silicon Valley’s magic is that the five innovation ingredients coexist with high density.

In Bogotá, Colombia, entrepreneurs face complex and long-standing challenges regarding innovation density– challenges that must be accounted for by those hoping to launch a startup.

Design Your Space, startup weekendLocal Innovator at Startup Weekend Colombia, “Design Your Space”  

“Bogotá’s urban expansion has been ‘oil spill development,’” Luis Borrero, a third-generation Colombian architect and an expert on global practices in urban sustainability, said. “A drop here, a drop there, and eventually, drops spreading out into one another.”

Borrero is a fellow at the University of Washington Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies, and serves on the Seattle Planning Commission. Borrero said that parts of Bogotá are extremely dense, but that the city’s 613-square-mile footprint is dominated by low-rise structures; built against and on top of each other, and spread vastly across a plateau.

ColombiaPhoto: Ross Buchanan

Colombia is a nation whose human and natural ecosystems have been ravaged by war. Ten percent of the country’s population left the country during the 1990s, and in 1992 the country’s murder rate per 100,000 citizens was the highest in the world. Colombia maintains the third largest population of internally displaced refugees on the planet, and is a seasoned battleground for the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror.

“Through rapid urbanization, rural communities were forced to become a part of [Bogotá,] and it forced communities to come up with a new plan for managing density,” Runstad Center fellow Eric Hadden said. “The creation of bicycle highways, caught our attention because their popularity has been building steadily, and they’re a good example of bottom-up pressure as a force for density innovation.”

Hadden traveled to Colombia in March of 2014 as part of the Runstad Center’s annual fellowship in urban sustainability. Hadden and the Runstad team visited Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellín, and with Borrero’s guidance, the group analyzed patterns in urban resilience, sustainability, and density.

“The automotive congestion [in Bogotá] was horrible… Urban developers have done a good job of actually engaging leaders from the community when expanding the mass-transit and bike highways around the city,” Hadden said. “The city brought informal settlements and neighborhoods into the fold with the Transmilenio [bus lines] and bike highways.”

Recognizing the migration of business density away from the city center, Urban developers created Plan Centro, a strategy to reinvest in business, retail, and governmental density in downtown. The plan uses robust mass-transit and a 180-mile bike transit highway to encourage worker mobility across a larger metropolitan area.

Borrero notes; however, that without the feeling of safety in a dense, urban space, startup ecosystems cannot begin to flourish. Banks and financial services relocated out of El Centro (the city’s business core) over Colombia’s thirty-year period of dramatic corruption, violence, and crime.

“The Wall Street Journal noted in 2013 that, ‘Arguably, no place has been more resilient or more innovative in the face of challenges than Colombia,’” Hadden said. “[As a fellowship] we were looking to study urban spaces that were overcoming trauma, corruption, and political instability­– in a way that actually made the community stronger.”

To account for Bogotá’s informal settlements in urban planning, city government turned to community leaders for their expertise.

“We were continually told by the communities we went into, ‘You can’t just go about installing municipal hardware ….you need the software to go along with it,’” Hadden said. “A city may install a library (hardware), but if they have no infrastructure for informing the populace, or bringing citizens to the institutions (software), the project can’t function as a hub for the community.”

BD Bacata is another notable example of density redevelopment in El Centro. The project is in the redevelopment zone set forth by Plan Centro, and upon completion, the two-towered, skyscraper will be the tallest structure in the country, and will host 1.3 million sq feet of commercial/residential space.

colombia

Perhaps most intriguing to entrepreneurs, the building will be financed entirely through crowdfunding. It will house businesses, families, and international ‘feducies’– or banks– on the same premises.

Prodigy Networks, a New York financial group, is responsible for curating the crowd-funded structure. The company advertises that up to 80% of the building’s 3800 investors are Colombian, and that the skyscraper is a way for middle class investors to build wealth.

BD Bacata hopes to be an advanced physical hub, and the first crowdfunded superstructure. It will host office and commercial space and many condominiums. It will offer density, and an enormous jolt of capital– into a small, accessible location, in a city of eight million people.

As a burgeoning and complex cluster, Bogotá is a reminder that startups need not only the five essential ingredients for fostering innovation– but also a cultural resilience to the unique challenges that face their community. It is through this resilience that Bogotá hopes to redevelop its urban density on behalf of startups.

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We invite you to read along and lend your perspective.
What challenges are you facing in your community?
What solutions have you developed?
What questions do you have about these communities?
#ThrivingEcosystem








White Paper: Announcing 5 Ingredients For Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem'

Introduction

While supporting thousands of community leaders over the past six years, UP Global has consistently found itself at the center of larger conversations about what makes entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive.

Fundamentally, our goal is to provide a global framework for these conversations, that can be adapted to support the unique efforts of the community leaders and entrepreneurs – wherever they may be.

I’m pleased to announce the release of the Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem white paper. This research project extends our commitment to entrepreneurs around the world, and substantiates our optimism for the economic progress that occurs every day. We hope the conversations around these topics continue as we work together towards providing global access to entrepreneurship.

Foreword by Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs

UP Global, Startup Weekend

Entrepreneurship and innovation are thriving in communities across the globe, and we see the transformative power entrepreneurs have to build products and companies that improve their communities, cities, and ultimately the world. Over the last several years, we here at Google have seen a surge in entrepreneurial activity in cities as far ranging as Damascus to Detroit, Sao Paulo to Nairobi, led by local leaders and influencers.

UP Global is empowering communities with the support and resources they need to foster local innovation and entrepreneurs. Their belief is everyone in the world should have the opportunity to go from idea to startup. UP Global has over 7,000 volunteers across 125 countries who are eager to join in larger conversations with corporations, universities, and policymakers about building and fostering a favorable climate for entrepreneurs in their local community.

There is plenty of research that provides advice for entrepreneurs and highlights a few common ingredients that help to foster successful ecosystems. This white paper underscores the five critical ingredients that support flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems: talent, density, culture, capital, and regulatory environment. My hope is that we continue the conversation about how to foster these ingredients in our daily work.  As a board member of UP Global and a close partner of theirs through Google for Entrepreneurs – I’m excited about the organization’s continued support for entrepreneurial communities and the powerful opportunity these communities have to impact the world.

Please join me for a Google Hangout with Brad Feld, VC at Foundry Group and author of Startup Communities and Marc Nager, CEO of UP Global on thriving startup communities and creating alignment and not just density in your community.

 

Enjoy the white paper below! Click ‘save’ to download for easy reading.

Click to download the German translation or the Spanish translation.