Latin America is stepping up big time

Bernardo Montes de Oca

Latin America is stepping up big time

The investment world faced a tough Q1 as funding dropped 19% from a record-setting Q4 '21. It's the most significant percentage fall since 2012. Latin America was no exception as funding fell for the third quarter. So, it's reasonable that people raise red flags, yet I can't help but feel excited about Latin America. 

In this region's imperfection lies the possibility of a very fruitful 2022. Latin America still has many problems, mostly around modernizing infrastructure and commerce. After all, the region saw investment in the past decades but lagged, especially compared to Asia. Now, it's rushing to catch up, and this means potential. 

The most remarkable example is how Latin America still relies on cold hard cash for payments, while others have gone cashless a long time ago. Many startups are striving to tackle this challenge, such as Neon, one of Brazil's latest unicorns. This company has tripled its revenues during 2021 and now has 15 million customers, and here's what I find most exciting. Most of these customers are from lower-income classes. So, it's already aiming to solve a problem that affects a vast majority of the population. No wonder it raised an impressive $400 million this February. 

For those of us who visit the US regularly, the idea of same-day delivery is lovely. Yet, it felt distant and almost impossible in our countries until a few years ago. Now, fast and easy deliveries are becoming more familiar, thanks to the rise of companies such as Rappi and 99 minutos. After all, the latter was born due to delivery problems and a lack of tobacco. The Mexican startup has raised $82 million and wants to connect more e-commerces in the region. 

If anyone is up for the challenge, the problems are there for everyone to see and solve. That's the secret to Latin America. So many are stepping up to the plate to bring more startups, funding, and jobs in the following years. So, while it won't be easy, I can't wait to see what this region brings. 

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Fertility startups are growing fast and uneven

The world of fertility startups saw record-breaking investment in 2021, keeping up its growth over the past five years. As technology improves, and more people talk about infertility, the market has opened up. Still, it hasn’t been an easy ride for everyone. 

Infertility encompasses many issues, but only some get enough funding to move forward. In vitro fertilization and egg-freezing get the most money. Meanwhile, other startups tackling topics such as endometriosis struggle to draw the attention of VCs and investors. This happens so often that there’s a term: taboo tech. 

Founders want to shed that label by getting their point across. Infertility doesn’t have to be reactive. In fact, by increasing preventive treatments, there are other benefits, such as lowering costs by improving on different stages. Their challenge now is getting investors on board. 

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Up until this point, I engaged with the story and thought it would take the usual path. Cordova would carve her way into becoming a startup CEO, but no. Instead, she went in a different direction, one that I haven’t frequently seen in the past, and I think it’s fascinating. Now, of course, there’s the meteoric rise to upper management positions at just 22, but her life is more than that. 

In fact, this profile shows the other world of startups that we don’t typically cover. Some fascinating and talented young people are working as investors, not as startup founders. We’ve traditionally given this role to older males, but not anymore. Cordova is a prime example, and now, she’s a partner at First Round. As for me, I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for more of these bios. 

Bernardo Montes de Oca
Content creator in love with writing in all its forms, from scripts to short stories to investigative journalism, and about almost every topic imaginable.
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