LATAM has, can and will create global companies
By Bianca Martinelli and Patrick Arippol
About this op-ed’s authors:
Bianca Martinelli is a partner at Alexia Ventures, an early-stage investor supporting the best founders from Latin America who are running disruptive business models driven by software platforms, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. She has 15+ years of experience scaling up operations across 40 international markets, with a special focus in Latin America and Europe.
Patrick Arippol is a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Founding Partner of Alexia Ventures. He is also a Venture Partner of 2 VC funds that he led in Brazil (together with DGF's partners), where he backed and helped build some of the top tech companies in the region. Earlier, in Silicon Valley, he founded a mobile payments startup and investment group Delphis Capital, after co-founding and selling a leading e-health company in Brazil.
The Realistic Optimist is a subscriber-funded publication.
This allows for deep, nuanced and sponsor-free articles.
Shifting the paradigm
A pervasive ill afflicting LATAM citizens is the subconscious belief that foreign products are inherently better than anything produced locally. This belief applies to tech products, among others. It is erroneous.
In the past decades, LATAM founders have proven that world-class, industry-leading companies could be conceptualized, crafted, and scaled from the continent. While companies such as Nubank and MercadoLibre have beautifully seized and solved LATAM-specific pain points, others assertively compete globally from the get-go.
All of the mentioned companies are either growing globally or have already gone through a handsome exit. They all have strong LATAM roots. Pinpointing the catalyst that infused LATAM founders with this global ambition proves difficult. Finding what hindered such ambition is easier: in Brazil for example, the local market is large enough to build a successful company without going through the pain of international scale.