Investors, Entrepreneurs Review Venture Capital Potential in Latin America

June 07, 2021

Actors in Latin America’s venture capital (VC) industry came together at end-May in an event entitled “Venture Capital in LatAm: Potential, Opportunities and Challenges” to discuss the development of the region’s VC sector. The webinar was co-sponsored by the Columbia Business School (CBS) Chile Alumni Club and the Santiago Center.

In Latin America’s VC industry, “we’ve heard of more success cases, bigger investment rounds, and a higher number of unicorns [a startup valued at US$ 1 billion or more] in the region and higher interest in local and international funds in investing in the region,” noted Evelyn Von Bischhoffshausen (CBS’18), Principal at Chilean venture capital fund Kayyak Ventures, who chaired the event.

“While the pandemic has really affected us, it has shown now more than ever that Latin American entrepreneurs have grit. That resilience in turning problems around has been very important in these last 18 months,” said Susana García-Robles (SIPA’99), Senior Partner at global investment firm Capria Ventures. “Latin America also has a young population, has adopted technology and there is still a gap but this has turned into an opportunity. And there’s been a big change in the last ten years in the ecosystems. It’s positioned well to be an investment hub.”

The event’s other two participants - Julio Guzmán, Co-founder and CEO of online agenda app startup AgendaPro and Cristóbal Perdomo, (CBS´02) Co-founder of early-stage venture capital firm Jaguar Ventures - agreed with García-Robles’ observations on the resilience and perseverance of entrepreneurs in Latin America and were upbeat about the outlook for the industry. Guzmán credited the rise of delivery app Rappi with helping to evangelize the case of Latin American entrepreneurship with investors in markets such as North America and Europe.

The VC sector in Latin America saw a record 488 deals in VC transactions representing US$ 4.1 billion in Latin America in 2020 alone, according to the Latin America Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (LAVCA).