Although of course there are millions of ordinary people in Latin America that don’t give a second thought to the notion of tech entrepreneurship, in that small but growing community of people that do care on a daily basis, it seems like there aren’t many at home this week, whether you look in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, or Rio. A good many of the entrepreneurs that fuel the community, both on the entrepreneurial side as well as the investor side, have packed their bags and headed North.
To San Francisco.
I speak, of course, of TechCrunch Disrupt, at which Latin America is making history next week by having the first “pavilions” for Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and (belatedly, after an earnest PR campaign) Mexico. Team Mexico had to quickly pull together over two dozen companies to commit to going to the event, and I spoke to at least one person recently who said that folks in the tech community here in Mexico were literally making donations from their own pockets to companies to allow them to get to San Francisco for the event. That’s community spirit.
Disrupt isn’t the only show in town, but it is probably responsible for the other one, which starts today, at least in the sense that it brought together the critical mass of audience that enabled the coming “invasion.” NXTP Labs and Brazilian/NYC accelerator 21212, about which we’ve written several times, are sending Argentine and Brazilian entrepreneurs to “invade” Silicon Valley starting today. From the press release, I counted 19 companies that are doing demos for VCs and others in The Valley starting today, which has got to be some sort of record for Latin American startups pitching at one time. I’m not aware of any similar effort by European or Asian startups.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this really does underline one of the themes we’ve been noting for quite a while, namely that Latin America’s startup time has come. The stars are aligning, people are sitting up and taking notice, and entrepreneurs are stepping up to the podium to make their pitch. While to some extent I agree with Andres Barreto’s recent comment that Latin America needs more global ideas, by showing that their business models work in their own markets, LatAm startups are showing they understand how to succeed.
And as Dumas said, “Rien ne réussit comme le succès.”
San Francisco from Flickr user www.frontendeveloper.com. Creative Commons license.