Three Venezuelan startups have found the formula to take off and expand their service offer, even overseas. Their creators applied the finest practices and alliances to design the strategy that has caught the eye of several investors, who, between 2013 and 2014, gave over US$ 600,000 to boost the profitability of these operations. Innovating ideas aimed at solving problems of the daily life, regional approach, brands with export quality and effective marketing plans are some of the variables included in the selection. These are enterprises that completed their incubation process in the local market and, in less than 24 months, they have successfully internationalized their business proposal, so the market value of two of them is over US$ 1.800,000 .
DISENIA: A CHANNEL TO PROMOTE AND SELL PRODUCTS CREATED BY LATIN AMERICAN DESIGNERS
Rafael Odreman’s idea came true in July 2013 when he visualized the opportunity to shed light on the work of the best Latin American designers and take their offers to a market made up of buyers that are eager to acquire innovating products.
Besides counting on a group of curators that filter and handpick the pieces to be showcased on the website, the founding partners of Disenia have taken great care to make users’ experience be simple and visually enjoyable when buying, “with any payment method and by means of any device”, Odreman points out.
Disenia got its first boost from Wayra accelerator in Venezuela, economic support (US$ 50.000 to be paid in Bolivares), as well as consultancy in the development of business and the possibility to participate in a mentor network, contact network and workspace to launch the project. The potential of Disenia was recognized as it was chosen to join the ninth generation of Startup Chile in December 2013. “We had short time to establish parameters in our processes in order to be in Chile in March 2014. We were given US$ 40,000 and we teed off the internationalization process of Disenia”, its founding partner explains.
The accelerator selects one hundred startups per generation and, out of that group, 10 per cent go to the top level that joins an incubation program called Highway. This platform “helped us count on the advice of prestigious Marketing senior executives or such outstanding investors as Nazca Ventures” Rafael Odreman recalls. Nowadays, Disenia is present in Mexico with 500 Startups, which is ranked within the top 10 of business accelerators in the United States. After 2 years, Disenia features a Customer Lifetime Value that is the equivalent to 15 times its acquisition cost (CAC).
PERSONALING: YOUR PERSONAL ONLINE SHOPPER
Heidy Garcia is a Venezuelan woman that lives in Barcelona (Spain), who found her business opportunity in one of her personal characteristics: “I’m 6.23 feet tall and it’s very difficult for me to find clothes of my size, so I needed help to deal with a problem women face on a daily basis when it comes to handpicking what to wear”. Following the customization concept, Garcia and her partner launched the personal online shopper with support provided by a computer specialist partner. “In 2013 we joined Wayra, which gave us structure and put us into the acceleration process”, she said.
In Garcia’s opinion, the differential advantage of her business so as to look attractive to investors is focused on two aspects: “the final customer is given customized attention as the personal shopper experience in a physical boutique is retaken; and retailers are guaranteed an increase in the conversion of visits into sales (which is nearly 30 per cent in Personaling) and in the average shopping linked to recommendations”, Heidy Garcia underscored.
The last aspect is achieved by means of influencers. “They create an ideal party look for slim and tall women, for instance, and share it on their social networks; they are paid for generating traffic for Personaling”, its founder commented. The investors came after having won Wayra, Ideas Contest (as the best business idea) and Startup Chile. Nowadays, the network in Spain and the South American receives over 2 thousand visits on a daily basis and there are 13 active users.
SIN-COLA: AN EFFICIENT SOLUTION FOR WAITING ROOMS
One of sin-cola’s partners was complaining about having lost an entire day of work because he had spent 5 hours waiting for the doctor to see his pregnant wife. That was the beginning of this startup. In 2012, a group made up of 7 people started working on the project to combine the technology of cell phones with line theories so as to give users the opportunity to manage their on time.
This project allows users to manage their turn by means of SMS and information related to the proximity and number of the office or window where they are going to be served or seen. “Furthermore, our software is on the cloud, which favors the fast implementation and doesn’t entail additional costs for our customers”, Ronald Rodriguez, CEO of sin-cola, emphasized.
As a post service, the platform developed by this Venezuelan startup runs surveys at the moment via SMS so as to learn how the attention paid to the user was. “We entered Wayra in 2012, where we were given the first capital boost with 50 thousand dollars, according to the exchange rate in Venezuela at the time. We received there our first corporative client, Telefónica, which was interested in trying our proposal with its employees”, Rodriguez recalled.
In this sense, sin-cola’s CEO explains that they have had two rounds of investment increase: “the first one took place with two former executives of important companies in Venezuela, who invested 75 thousand dollars. And some months ago, those investors, in the light of the results obtained, reinvested nearly 3 million bolivares, which have helped us in the process to consolidate sin-cola and optimize our platform”, Ronald Rodriguez detailed.
Sin-cola presently stands as a company that is backed up by its own operations, since it’s an innovative solution that has already been adopted by 124 clients throughout Venezuela, including small and middle-sized businesses, governmental and municipal institutions and big corporations. In 2015 sin-cola looks forward to having operations in Peru, Colombia and Mexico.