Looking for a Latin American Seed Fund? Try the Colombian Government
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Grooveshark creator Andres Barreto is placing a bet on Colombia.
Barreto, who founded the music sharing site before he hit 20 and has built tech companies everywhere from Gainesville to Guadalajara, thinks Colombia could skip its “industrial revolution” and transform directly into an information economy. “There’s a huge opportunity, business-wise, for entrepreneurs who want to build companies from Latin America… [We’re] building the services and technology for the next 3 billion people who go online…. I think the resurgence of Colombia as a political and economic power has allowed it to become a player – investors are now seeing the potential for growth.” When he weighed his options for where to start his next project, a start-up incubator called Socialatom Ventures, the choice was clear, but not for the reasons one might think: “The Colombian government offered the best resources and showed the best intentions of making something like [Socialatom Ventures] work quickly.”
The governments of other Latin American countries, such as Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, have gotten lots of attention for their efforts to jumpstart entrepreneurship and lure international start-ups to their countries. Colombia’s efforts look a bit different, though: Several national initiatives, including programs called iNNpulsa and apps.co, funnel money from various agencies directly to Colombian entrepreneurs who are looking to start new companies or scale their businesses globally.