By Cecilia Gonzalez
Last Wednesday, the 3rd edition of the VC LATAM SUMMIT took place in Miami, which was organized by major associations within the VC space across Latin America, including AMEXCAP, ABVCAP, ACVC, ARCAP and others.
The event was incredibly empowering, despite the current challenges faced by startups and VC funds, the energy and enthusiasm in the room were infectious. The Latino warmth and pride that permeated the atmosphere created a sense of belonging that was truly inspiring. With a mix of Spanish, English and Portuguese spoken, the conversations were lively and animated, reflecting the dynamic and diverse nature of our community.
We wanted to share with you our main learnings
· Three major pain points have been identified in the Latin American landscape: low productivity, social inequality, and limited physical space. While these challenges may seem daunting, they are also untapped opportunities for businesses to address unmet needs and tap into the vast potential of the market.
· Latin America represents a green field of opportunity for investors. With strong democratic institutions and a rapidly growing population, the region offers a fertile ground for innovative businesses. For example, Latin America has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world, providing a wealth of raw data that can be leveraged for digital solutions.
· Despite the challenges of 2020, the explosive growth we witnessed was a silver lining for many aspiring founders. This trend empowered a new wave of entrepreneurs to leave their traditional jobs and pursue their dreams of creating new companies.
· Profitable business models are nothing new, but in today’s climate, it is crucial for VCs to back responsible solutions and founders must listen to their board members and incorporate their guidance into their decision-making process.
· LPs, GPs, and founders all have a responsibility to prioritize diversity and inclusion. As we navigate this Darwinian stage of growth, only the strongest and most innovative teams will survive and thrive. By embracing diversity, we not only enhance our chances of success but also create a more equitable and inclusive future for all.
· As demand, technology, and user needs continue to grow, the only missing piece of the puzzle is capital. It is up to us to think outside the box.
· This industry is all about humbleness, you don’t know what you don’t know, and the rules of the game can change in a second. Stay humble.
· This is a long-term rollercoaster, start working on your resilience skills and at an optimistic attitude.
Additionally, we were fortunate enough to attend the first day of eMerge, Miami’s biggest innovation event, where we had the privilege of hearing from Tom Brady (yes, the GOAT) on the topics of success, failure, leadership, and perseverance. Tom offered invaluable insights that deeply resonated with our founders and the challenges they are facing. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways from Tom’s talk:”
· Team Building is crucial for your growth. Push them and let them push you, create a close support system that applauds you in the good and empowers you in the bad.
· Take care of your mental health, your body, and your self-esteem. No matter your age, sometimes you won’t feel 100% confident about yourself and you need to learn to see your lower times as temporary places. Once you feel better, get yourself out there.
· Put yourself great standards but be flexible on your journey. In the end, nothing is as hard as we think.
· Payback with what you can control, such as your effort and a positive attitude.
As the saying goes, crisis creates opportunities, and we are ready to seize them in 2023. As Latin Americans, we are known for our tenacity and hustle, and we will continue to invest in our countries, support our people, and unleash our potential. Resilience runs in our blood, and we are determined to keep rocking despite the challenges.