Updated: Apr 27
Connecting the Spanish and LATAM innovation ecosystems with the rest of the world. Preparing your Market Expansion plan and have your eyes on LATAM? Spain is so, so ideal for especially European startup founders to expand to right now.
Not only is it the right time in terms of digital advancements with now half of the Spanish population, resulting in 23 million people, making purchases online, (just a few years ago they were mostly just surfing), it is also the strongest economy in the Euro zone when it comes to GDP growth, healthy growth coming from increased national consumer spending.
LATAM talent in Spain
Leading online media Sifted, covering European Entrepreneurship, has recently proclaimed Spain as the not-to-be-missed LATAM gateway. It is true that among the Spanish startup hubs the Catalan city of Barcelona, together with Madrid, are the most mature ones. However, I would argue that Spain hosts Tech talent and all sorts of creative talent, representing the LATAM countries, across the Peninsula.
But let’s not fuss over which Spanish hub is the best right now although that is a real, passionate and entertaining discussion today with Valencia, Malaga and Bilbao also growing in popularity and recognition from international players.
Connecting the Spanish and LATAM innovation ecosystems with the rest of the world
Let’s instead focus on where you can go to get more knowledge and find opportunities to collaborate with key players in both Spain and LATAM. One such meeting place is the upcoming South Summit in Madrid.
Established in 2012 South Summit has become so much more than a Startup conference. It has since then become a global reference point to connect the key players in the different Innovation ecosystems, the South of Europe and LATAM with the rest of the world. Startups, investors and world leading corporates flock to the Spanish capital in the beginning of October every year to explore and also agree on business opportunities during the 3 days.
Global speakers to expand your business mind
As for speakers there are a multitude of interesting profiles, global well-known names as well as Spanish business heros taking one of the many stages to share their wisdom.
To mention just a few of the celebrated, leading Entrepreneurs present last year were:
And many of the most known Tech brands share invaluable learnings through top executives speaking from Uber, Softbank, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.
Probably less known to you but if you want to build on the knowledge bank for your LATAM expansion here are some speakers who were present last year.
Marcela Cubillos, Minister of Education, Government of Chile
Orlando Ayala, Education and technology advisor to the president of Colombia
Marcus Dantus, Founder & CEO, Startup Mexico – Mexico
Alonso Aznar, Head of Iberia & Mexico, Afiniti
Nikol Wolpert, Head of Business Development LATAM, OrCam Technologies
Hernan Fernandez, Managing Partner, Angel Ventures Mexico
NEW opportunities for Networking and showcasing ideas
New for last year was a Demo Stage to give all attending startups the opportunity to present their ideas to investors, bigger companies and corporations on the lookout for top innovators, always interested in the latest technology to become future-proof. Yet another way to facilitate for the attendees to find collaborations and reach strategic agreements.
100 startup finalists in 10 categories from all over the world
The South Summit Startup Competition receives more and more applications for every year, from more and more countries all over the world. Previous finalists probably help out in spreading the word as they share their success stories. Some of the best known are Cabify, Typeform, Drivy, Glovo, and Spotahome.
As well as these impressive statistics certainly boost the application numbers:
The startup finalists from previous years have together raised more than 2.7B$ in investment and have a 95% survival rate.
For 2019 more than 3.700 startups (3,500 in 2018) have applied from 115 countries. All of the 100 finalists for this year's Competition, chosen by a panel of 150 experts and investors in their fields, are impressive and fascinating to learn about, making it very difficult for the jury to choose the winners in all of the 10 categories (see image) .
LATAM startups competing
6 of the startups which made it to the final selection are based in some of the most important LATAM markets namely Columbia, Chile and Mexico.
Unima, based in Mexico, competing in the category Healthcare & Biotech, has developed a fast and low cost diagnostic and disease surveillance technology for diseases. Their technology "allow for doctors, nurses and community health workers to diagnose diseases directly at the point of care, without the use of any lab equipment and at a very low cost.". Maybe you get a chance to talk to their CEO, Jose Luis Nuno at the Summit.
Also based in Mexico is Synabox, AI Powered Consumer Research, testing their strength in the Marketing & Content category. They claim to let you "Understand and validate your content and products performance with real consumers to improve, learn and iterate faster." If that sounds interesting then you should look up their CEO and co-founder Cristina De la Peña or someone else from the Synabox team who might be at the venue in Madrid.
In the category of Travel & Tourism, coming from Colombia, Cityscan has created a a platform platform for tour guides to let you"Discover places and tours around you with augmented reality and audio guides". Maybe you can locate CEO and founder Luis Javier Parra and Marketing Director Andrea Otavo to hear more.
One of the finalists in the category called Cutting Edge Technologies is the Mexican startup Trato, having CEO and founder Ignacio Bermeo leading their way into their exciting future. Their claim to fame is their capability to "Automate your contracts from start to finish", using Block chain technology.
Competing for the gold medal in the category Edtech Enlighted is Neekids from Chile. They have developed a a tool that performs psycho pedagogical and neuropsychological tests to select the best educational program for hospitalized children with special needs.
There is really no better place for you to meet and greet the key players in both Spain and LATAM to add the next action steps to your LATAM market expansion plan.
Also, adding some pleasure to the obvious business value, October is one of the best times to visit Spain's magical capital. So if you haven't already, get your tickets to yourself and your favorite colleagues to hang out with here. See you in Madrid then?!
Crafted by Caroline Lagergren for the benefit of South Summit.