Startup Stories is a new space proposed by PanamericanWorld in an effort to take our readers closer to the growing enterprising ecosystem in Latin America. We tee off this approach with NXTP Labs, one of the main startup accelerators in the continent. They tell us about their first steps, explain how they managed to position their name, as well as the sectors in which they are going to focus their money. The interview comes to an end with tips that could be very useful for entrepreneurs.
How did the NXTP Labs idea come up?
—After having invested time and resources in some startups, the founders decided to go to the next level and create a Techstars-style accelerator. The attractive aspect of this model was the fact that it had been conceived in an outlying area of the United States (Boulder Colorado) and it later became one of the top accelerators of the world, thus giving rise to such companies as Dropbox or Sendgrid. Since day one, the idea aimed at investing in companies from the whole region, since the growing potential of Internet in Latin America is exponentially going up year in year out.
What are the main strengths of NXTP Labs’ acceleration program?
—The access to a network of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors with practical knowledge and experience in Latin America. Likewise, we give you the possibility to assess your strategy, go-to-market and we check the business model.
What requirements are to be met by a startup in order to enter NXTP Labs?
—Our startup basic selection criteria demand that the founding team of the startup is to be made up of at least two members. Likewise, we want one of the co-founders to have business expertise and the other one to know the technical aspects of the product. The last one is a key element, since we invest in technological startups. The founders must be totally committed to the project. On the other hand, the startup must have an operating MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and the project’s scope should be global, or at least regional. We’re presently opening a space for disruptive startups in Fintech.
How is NXTP Labs doing with its Silicon Valley-based office?
—In Silicon Valley we work with our partner, Puente Labs, we’re even members of the board of directors. Puente Labs is in charge of handpicking Latin American companies that are already selling their products in the US market, so they are provided support to develop a market presence in the United States and foster the access to future funding rounds. Startups included in our portfolio, such as Bluesmart and Satellogic, are being boosted from there.
What results were obtained by NXTP Labs last year?
—All in all, we’ve invested over 10 million dollars in 92 companies, such as Comenta.tv (presently Wayin), Sparkflow, Jampp, Wideo, iBillionaire, Auth0, Rodati.
What are NXTP Labs’ main goals in 2016?
—We have planned to invest 14 million dollars throughout the next 3 years. We’ll keep on investing up to one million dollars per company included in our portfolio, those with the best development and growth.
Which startups are you planning to accelerate this year?
—We’ll continue looking for Fintech companies, since that sector is showing an exponential growth. Moreover, we aim at business models that apply innovation in the chain of productive value added at corporative/business level. We’re also interested in Agritech, because it’s linked to the potential of countries in the region as food producers.
What investments carried out by NXTP Labs have brought about the best dividends?
—Among other successful investments, we can mention Tutum (a service in the “cloud” for software developers), which was acquired by Docker Hosting and the investment return was higher than 50x.
What does NXTP Labs advise to entrepreneurs when they receive the first investment?
—They should manage the startup with the “leanest” methodology. They should invest the money in the idea that made them request it. Save your money in terms of office and perks for collaborators, because that’ll come in later stages. The aim is to develop the entire product and reach the first balance point with that money.