For a long time, Peru has been building momentum as a major startup hub in Latin America. From TechCrunch to The Next Web, Peru has been making headlines with its continued startup success. The countries most recent successes include the news that a Peruvian entrepreneur won a major innovation competition at MIT, in addition to the news that Peru’s largest venture capital event will return this September.
To get a better understanding of the current startup climate and the secret to its success we spoke with Jose Deustua, Managing Director at UTEC Ventures, the entrepreneurship department at Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), an organizer of the upcoming Peru Venture Capital Conference (PVCC) in September.
What are the factors behind Peru’s current success as a startup hub?
We are catching up with other Latin-American ecosystems by learning from their mistakes and good practices. There is also an important government role, supporting startups but also supporting corporative innovation and the creation of Peruvian VCs. We have also decided to foster alliances with other ecosystem and recently launched a program to help foreign startups to soft land in Peru.
What do you think the future will look like for Peru’s startup ecosystem over the next 5 years?
We will have an ecosystem 10x times bigger, with a significant number of foreign startups landing in Peru but also another significant group of Peruvian startups landing in other Latin American countries.
What hurdles does the community need to overcome in order to progress as a major startup hub?
Foster the adoption of technology, everywhere. Perú is a low tech country which creates a great opportunity to leapfrog by adopting new technologies in every possible market. In this regard, we need to lose the fear to innovate and try new things. Startups have a key role in this process.
Can you give an example of a startup from the UV portfolio that has done well to conquer the Peruvian market?
Joinnus (www.joinnus.com) is an excellent example. It has grown to become a significant player and is the first startup to receive a significant investment from a Peruvian corporation.
Can you give an example of another UV startup which has gone on to succeed in foreign markets?
Two startups have recently been accepted in 500 startups in Mexico City: rebajatuscuentas.com and FITCO.
Mesa 24/7 is also growing steadily in Chile.
What advice would you have for startups in Peru or for startups looking to enter the Peruvian market?
Having a great technical team is essential to be successful in Perú as in any other market.
Perú has an interesting market size, a vibrant community and plenty of challenges, and is looking for innovative solutions to resolve these challenges. Interesting markets are agritech, edtech, health, logistics, fin tech, mining, food tech and tourism.
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company