Smooth Scaling: How to Keep Your Startup Afloat

Editor’s note: This post comes courtesy of Mark Kirkpatrick, a writer and online entrepreneur living in Los Angeles. He often shares his passion for small business through his writing, and he hopes that this infographic offers some great tips for fellow entrepreneurs!

The Latin American market is growing stronger every day, spurred by not only multinational corporations but by the small businesses that crop up weekly and the owners of those businesses. To ensure that the market does actually grow over time and not just recycle new companies over closed ones, small businesses need to know how to scale their growth appropriately.

The following infographic from SmartTollFreeNumber.com will give you some idea of why having both a short-term and a long-term scaling strategy is important for the survival of small business, and will outline some of the benefits that such a plan carries with it.

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Early stage startup funding in Latin America

Editor’s note: This post comes courtesy of Adam Komarnicki. Adam is a Chief Customer Officer at Fundacity, a Santiago-based startup that provides tools connecting startups and investors, to help them select and grow the next big thing. You can contact him at [email protected].

If you are a startup founder based in Latin America and tend to read US tech websites such as TechCrunch or Venture Beat, you wonder if the news about startup valuations and rounds raised is for real. The amounts are sometimes enormous! The reality in Latin America is quite different; serious financing is both harder to get and usually much less smart if you succeed. Don’t lose your hope however, because the situation is improving, especially for early stage startups. Let’s look at the most common options of external funding for such startups – LatAm angels and accelerators.

However, before starting to think where to look for funding, early stage startups should be asking themselves these two questions:

  • How much money do I need in the next 8-10 months to grow my business?
  • How important it is for me to attract “smart money” i.e. additional benefits from my investor such as advice and contacts?

We will give you an overview of your options based on these criteria.

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Reaching a Good Balance: Being Too Cautious or Taking Too Many Risks with Your Startup

Editor’s note: The post below is from Brian Flax, a freelance writer based outside of the Washington, D.C., area. 

Success doesn’t come without taking risks, whether you’re investing money in the stock market or creating your own startup business venture. It’s important to find a balance between being too cautious with your business decisions and taking too many risks. While it’s good to take risks, putting all your money in one pot could lead to failure, so making carefully calculated business decisions should be your number one priority. If you’re too cautious, your business many never grow to its full potential. Take too many risks, and you could end up closing shop before you’ve even had a chance to start.

Let’s take a look at how to reach a good balance between being too cautious with your startup venture, and taking too many risks.

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Lessons from women in Uganda: Chile, take note.

Mary is a small, slim woman no taller than 5 foot 3, but she speaks with a sincerity and conviction unparalleled among people two times her size, and when she does so, the world stops and listens. When you speak to her, her eye contact never wavers from yours as she carefully digests every word, consonant, and syllable that you say. She is a mother, a teacher, a leader, and an entrepreneur (in no particular order, she puts her heart into everything). Her laughter is contagious, her kindness infectious, her spirit uplifting, and her ambition inspiring. She embodies beauty and strength.

Mary (whose name has been changed for anonymity) is a woman that I met last April, who I had the pleasure of working alongside throughout 2013. Five years ago, Mary and her family were living in a mud shack. When a local organization offered to give her a microloan to start her own business, Mary wasn’t sure she was capable of becoming an entrepreneur, but she mustered up her confidence and began her own store, selling bottles of soda for around $0.20 USD in her small village. A few years later, Mary saved enough money from her small business to build a semi-permanent house. She and her family are healthy and financially stable; most of the money she makes now goes towards her children’s school fees to ensure that they receive a good education. Furthermore, she’s now an Assistant Director of the nonprofit organization that gave her the loan to start her business in the first place. She inspires women in three different countries to follow her lead. She is Ugandan, and she is the strongest woman I have ever met.

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Pictual: Finally an app that makes texting less boring

Being the diligent investigative journalists that we are here at AndesBeat, we spent hours doing independent research for today’ s post about Chile’s up-and-coming picture messaging app, Pictual.

…By “independent research” I mean: I couldn’t tear myself away from my desk where I spent an hour inserting every phrase that crossed my mind into the app to see what groovy graphics resulted. Below I bequeath you with the fruits of my investigative research for your viewing pleasure. Continue reading

Ex-Groupon executives launch site for parents and their babies

This article, originally posted on February 15, 2014 on Emol.com, has been translated from Spanish to English for AndesBeat readers. To read the original version, click here.

Babytuto subscribers grew from 10,000 in August of 2013, to more than 50,000 of January of this year. They hope to reach 200,000 by the end of 2014. Continue reading

Thanks everyone! Mindscore app “draws the curtain”

The following is a post from MindScore’s blog that has been translated from Spanish to English. The original post, shared on February 17 2014, can be read here. See our previous posts covering MindScore on AndesBeat here.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most sorrowful moments for our team, as we have decided to “draw the curtain” on our first project together.

Several decisions have led to the above, which are detailed in this and this post. It is probably not the best moment for this tool/platform; perhaps the business model is not validated or as a team we are not mature enough. Whatever the case, we feel assured that we made the decision conscientiously and earnestly.

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Latin American Startups demo day at 500 Startups Silicon Valley

The following is an article from Digitantes posted on February 7, 2014 that has been translated from Spanish to English. Read the original version here.

This week, 28 startups presented their pitches at 500 Startups Demo Day, after passing through an acceleration process of almost 4 months in the heart of Silicon Valley.

During the program, these entrepreneurs have access to mentors and experts in different industries and disciplines. The program’s primary focus is improving the startups’ models of distribution, monetization, and design.

Startups from more than 10 countries, including Colombia, Brazil, and of course Mexico, had the opportunity to present their pitch in 3 minutes in front of investors and investment funds. The objective: proving to be an attractive investment opportunity.

Here is the list of Latin American startups that were present.

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Nazca Ventures Bets on Fashion E-Commerce in Two New Investment Deals

On January 22, 2014, PulsoSocial published an article highlighting Nazca Venture’s latest investment picks: Cranberry Chic and eGlam & Ropit. Read the full article here.

Nazca Ventures made its seed capital debut in December 2013 by leading a $1.3 round for the freelance job marketplace, Nubelo. This January it made its second and third investment selections in:

1) Cranberry Chic, an exclusive social network and e-commerce platform that allows fashionistas to share their styles, save lists of clothing items and accessories they have or want, purchase new items

2) eGlam & Ropit, a platform that allows end-to-end e-commerce services for fashion brands and sports teams. 

As Emily Stewart, PulsoSocial journalist notes: “Nazca Ventures is clearly placing its bets on fashion e-commerce, though neither of its most recent picks are going the most traditional routes in their strategies.”

 

Digital Bank LatAm seeks innovative solutions for startups throughout the region

The following is an article from PulsoSocial that has been translated from Spanish to English. The original article, posted on January 29, 2014, can be read here.

The banking and finance sector of Latin America knows well the potential that start-ups have as a source of innovation in terms of New Digital Banking. Therefore, everyday we see more initiatives in the region that aim to integrate innovative start-up solutions with traditional banking.

Here we discuss Digital Bank LATAM, a banking innovation meet-up in Latin America organized by eBanking News, which touched down for the first time last year in Santiago, Chile, in which 23 startups presented their banking solutions. This year, Digital Bank LATAM 2014 will land in Bogota on May 14 2014, with the aim of revolutionizing the banking sector of Columbia.

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