10 Startups That Are Transforming the Lives of Mexicans
Mexico’s technological sector is quickly rising in recent years and with it a thriving ecosystem of startups that covers various areas such as fintech, electronic commerce or energy. The new Mexican technology companies are creating products and services that are on the radar of big startups in Silicon Valley. The technological entrepreneurs are found throughout Mexico, not only in the Federal District. For instance, Jalisco is home to an emerging software industry, while Puebla and Monterrey house several ecotechnology, fintech and medical care companies.
With over 158 startups, Mexico is the largest fintech market in Latin America, surpassing other large markets such as Brazil (130 new companies) or Colombia (77 new companies). Most of these companies focus on payments and remittances, personal financial management, crowdfunding and loans. Mexican startups obtained seventy-three financing agreements last year worth 130 million dollars, the first time the country has the largest number of venture capital transactions in Latin America, according to the Latin American Association of Private Equity & Venture Capital. Brazil attracted more money, with 64 agreements worth 279 million.
As the Financial Times recently recalled, Mexico City has positioned itself as the gravitational center for venture capital activity in the country, with multiple weekly networking events that connect investors with entrepreneurs. A cultural change is taking place in the country, which is allowing to expand financing options: top executives of multinational companies’ Mexican divisions, such as Google, seek to invest personal funds in startups in the country. These executives are mostly under 50 and have a solid understanding of technology. They are entrepreneurs “that have come out of the closet”, as they are known in the Mexican field of startups. Their entry into the VC rounds has been a great help for entrepreneurs, who obtain capital, knowledge and mentors. We have made a selection of ten Mexican startups that stand out in 2017 for their growth, ability to access funding rounds and innovation level.
Directed by Claudia de Heredia, one of the leading entrepreneurs in Mexico, and Claudio del Conde, Kichink is a startup that helps entrepreneurs create an online store and market their products. The app has a very simple and intuitive use and is designed to sell literally anything: from large companies and warehouses to small businesses or craft stores. It can be used for free and is easy to connect to the website and the entrepreneurs’ social media. Kichink was named one of Google’s main startups in the latest edition of Demo Day for Entrepreneurs, Women’s Edition.
Officially launched in 2014, Zaveapp has become one of the most interesting Mexican startups and praised by the country’s ecosystem. This app is designed simply for its user to have a savings discipline and do so according to exclusively financial criteria. It helps them manage their money effectively to deal with unexpected expenses or last minute whims. The app encourages the user to ‘complete’ any transaction made with the card that connects with the app. The amount of change that the user would get if she or he pays in cash is automatically stored in a savings account that is practically growing without the user being aware. There is the key to saving.
Companies in developing countries need access to financing as elsewhere, but the “developing” part retains small businesses. Kubo.financiero is a regulated microfinance institution that provides loans between 400 and 4.100 Mexican borrower dollars. Common uses are working capital, fixed assets and education. The startup connects people who need a loan with people looking for investment opportunities.
Kubo.financiero received in 2015 the Mexican government authorization to capture savings from the National Banking and Values Commission’s (NBVC) public, after two years of having permission to operate as Popular Financial Society (Pofiso). In this way, it becomes the first financial institution in Mexico with the approval of the NBVC to capture savings and give loans through the Internet.
This startup has been highlighted by popular media such as Buzzfeed, which published an article about Mexicans who are doing positive things inside and outside their country. The reasons for choosing Taller Nu seem clear: it was founded in 2012 by Olga Olivares and Pilar Obeso after having been financed by a Kickstarter campaign, and is an ethical social design company whose main objective is to promote art and fashion, while providing employment and training to citizens who have been incarcerated. This, ultimately, reduces the possibility of recidivism and allows them to develop practical and applicable skills to use in their social reintegration.
Launched in 2015, Capptu is a startup that allows amateur and professional photographers to upload their photos online and thus earn some income for the rights of their work. The CEO, Manual Villegas, thought that connecting locals with companies and users looking for stock photos would be a good idea. This way, it would be able to offer the requesters more options and also more interesting choices to find that ideal photograph. Capptu also has an intelligent function that allows detailing the type of photo the client needs so that the photographers can accordind it according to that demand. A kind of photography UBER.
Epesos offers a revolving line of credit and is particularly popular among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not have an important bank account. The fintech firm is venturing into the Mexican work environment by offering employees quick access to cash when they need it. Both reports and experts agree that a low-cost short-term loan is the vital seed for hundreds of startups that are created every year in Mexico. Epesos is building a new payment platform that will allow borrowers to receive and pay funds through a mobile wallet.
The use of smartphones has spread globally and online purchases and other types of services related to transactions, bank payments and acquisitions are becoming more common. The problem arises when the payment systems change from one country to another. The company Conekta is a technology startup and a certified aggregator whose objective is to develop a payment system that helps consumers to conduct online transactions in a satisfactory way. Conekta allows developers and companies to create a payment solution with its own flow and is designed for any application and website.
Yogome is a Mexican IT startup that makes iPad games for children. It has managed to raise 6.6 million in Series A funds. The company had previously raised 3.2 million dollars in initial funds and is also supported by 500 Startups.
Founded by Manolo Díaz and Alberto Colin in 2011, Yogome offers a subscription educational game service for iOS and Android tablets that is focused on children between 6 and 11 years old. Their “mini-games” claim to be pedagogically sound and are developed under the supervision of education experts, including the work done with Yale University to measure the effectiveness of mathematical games designed for first-grade students.
Mexican traditional techniques and artisanal skills have returned to the forefront within the unique creative universe of the fashion world. Through this impulse that wants to unite past and future through a present full of brilliant ideas, numerous companies have partnered with local merchants to develop a new line of contemporary Mexican fashion. Some, like the startup Vaaiu, include an element of a social and inclusive nature that makes them even more valuable. They combine traditional products with contemporary designs, working with artisan collectives in Tenancingo and with incarcerated women. They are growing and want to expand into other communities.
Founded by three Mexican entrepreneurs, Mayte Velázques, Daria Nikitina and Juan José Mora, four years ago, AtlantiaSearch is a startup that works to make companies market studies faster and easier. The basic objective of its strategy is to facilitate the search for specialized information over research through vectors: technology, international experts and a network called “collective intelligence”. The companies simply send their research needs to AtlantiaSearch, who use the aforementioned process to obtain all the information they were looking for within a period no longer than 15 days.
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