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Bogotá

Bogotá is one of the best up-and-coming startup stories in Latin America. Much of its growth is derived from a friendly local and national government that is funneling dollars into supporting the tech and startup economy. Major government initiatives like iNNpulsa and Fondo Emprender provide funds to entrepreneurs, and talent is strong due in part to a cluster of universities. Colombia ranks as one of the most entrepreneurial-minded countries in the world and is riding high from a decade of political stability and smart infrastructure investments. That being said, the ecosystem is still very young and is competing for talent with nearby city Medellin. Many of the big industries are run by wealthy families that concentrate wealth and resources, though their kids are increasingly open to investing in new opportunities like tech. It needs most: private sector capital, better designers, and a local exit to inspire.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.

Opportunities

  • Significant government support. The Colombian government provides tremendous resources for entrepreneurs through initiatives such as iNNpulsa and Empresa. This is fueling the local startup scene.
  • An enterprising mindset. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Colombia ranks as one of the most entrepreneurial-minded countries in the world.
  • Strong investment protections. The World Bank’s Protecting Investors ranks Colombia at 6th place, tied with the United States. The country has made great strides towards bettering its business regulatory environment, improving faster than any other Latin American state.
  • Comparatively low restrictions for foreign investment in new ventures and acquisitions, with a variety of supportive government programs aimed at foreign investors.
  • Well-educated workforce with a strong base of software developers. Bogotá is also home to half of all Colombian universities.
  • Good quality of life. Bogotá has made significant investments into public infrastructure over the last decade, with good public transit and ample bike paths. The city is also quite pleasant, with nice weather, green spaces, and a plethora of major cultural events.

Risk Factors

  • Too much government support. While a major opportunity, this is also a risk, as government funding has a distortive effect on the startup ecosystem and can impede the growth of private sector investment.
  • Lack of downstream capital. While the government helps with pre-seed and some early-stage investments, there is limited history of angel or venture activity in Colombia. This makes it difficult for startups to fundraise going forward.
  • There is a lack of cohesion / collaboration between institutions that promote entrepreneurship, which causes redundancy.
  • Weak design talent. Bogotá, and Colombia in general, needs designers in greater numbers and skills in order to feed demand.
  • No major exits to inspire. Major success stories catalyze startup scenes and act as beacons to new generations of entrepreneurs. There has yet to be a major technology exit beyond $100M, though a number of Colombian startups hope to change this themselves.
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