We are living in a constantly changing world. Companies launch new tools and programs that help us during the day and make our lives easier every day. External events also influence how we relate to these new advances and the impact they will have on peoples’ lives.
This was clearly felt during the COVID-19 pandemic which affected every industry. Even though we are still dealing with this problem, there are some businessmen and women that took these hard times as an opportunity to start a business that would work as a way to help society and help them grow financially.
This hit harder in Latin America due to the social-economical situation some countries in the region dealt with. No access to basic services, high crime rates, limited access to an Internet connection, no quality education for everyone, and lack of job opportunities are some of the everyday problems for thousands of people.
Even when Latin American countries do not usually top the lists of technology, this changed due to COVID-19, globalization, and economical opening. Recently, specifically between 2020 and 2021, a bunch of new entrepreneurs launched amazing start-ups that have benefited millions of people in Latin America and the world. Here we will mention some of the most recognized entrepreneurs and startups in Latin America we believe we should have an eye for the upcoming years.
Brazil is considered the monster of the south, not only for its large land territory but also because of being the leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. Zoop is proof of that, this Rio de Janeiro-based fintech startup designed an instant payment system that helped customers access new sources of credit through Zoop Antecipa, which allows big companies to extend credit to smaller businesses; and launched Banking as a Service, which lets non-financial companies offer digital accounts to customers.
Zoop was born from the growing need for small businesses in Brazil and the rest of South America to have transactions with banks during the pandemic. Brazilian VC Movile invested $11M in September 2020 to fund the expansion of the company’s B2B digital payments, banking, and credit services throughout South America.
Access to well-functioning electrical is still today a constant struggle for people in Latin America, and Sunew wanted to make a change and help people to access green energy. This Brazilian green chemistry company completed the largest installation of organic photovoltaic film in the world, on the 2,000-square-meter rooftop of a facility in Cajamar, Brazil, owned by the beauty conglomerate Natura.
In 2020, Sunew announced a partnership with Pepsi for them to reach as many people as possible.
Latin America has been characterized for its social struggles and activism, one of the main topics we are still fighting for in 2022 is the incorporation of women and equal opportunities for them in every small town of the continent. Laboratoria has played an important role here; the project began in Lima, Peru with the aim of harnessing the talent of women who live in vulnerability and training them in web development, thus promoting their insertion into the labor force.
Its founder Mariana Costa seeks to promote a diverse digital economy that is inclusive and competitive in Latin America. Today, Laboratoria operates in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, and with more than 2,000 graduates, the employability rate has increased and more than 800 firms have contracted its alumni. This proposal has attracted the attention of Barack Obama and it has regional allies including BlackRock, Cisco, IBM, Google.org, among others.
Venezuela is currently going through the worst economical and social crisis in history, but it didn’t stop Gerson Gómez to found Ridery, a reloaded and tropicalized version of Uber adaptable to the Venezuelan context. It had huge success since its launch in March 2021, and today, with an internal team of 100 people for 4,000 trips daily, and more than 5,000 drivers in five cities, the company keeps growing and looking to reach the whole Venezuelan territory and other near countries.
Ridery was a risky decision to go for because when the platform was launched, the taxi market was depressed and the company decided to use traditional drivers. Part of its success comes from taking the right opportunity and the right time, with the boom in delivery services and the dollarization process in Venezuela.
These are just a few of many startups and entrepreneurs that have taken the best of the adversity to help others and make a better world along with technology.