Mexico will be the first Latin American country to set up a startup pavilion at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt event, to take place this weekend in San Francisco. Seen unthinkable a couple of years ago, why is this now being possible? Let’s see.
Mexico’s economy is growing 40% faster than Brazil’s, over twice as fast as the United States, and is already the world’s 14th largest economy (on a GDP based scale). With an ever growing professional middle class, the market is well poised for innovative companies… Some indicators for this are: the massive market potential across industries, especially in mobile (1 out of 5 mexicans owns a smartphone, Google calculated that by 2015 the market will have grown 70%); the quickly growing internet-connected population (40 million Mexicans are connected to the Internet. It’s the third most internet-connected OECD member), and the rapid growth of e-commerce sites (43% just last year)
The startup ecosystem is proliferating in this environment. Mexico holds the largest Startup Weekend presence outside of the United States (Mexico and the UK were the first countries to establish Startup Weekend offices).
Universities are also taking an active role in shifting towards “the entrepreneurial mindset” and away from cultural conservatism by financing “knowledge bridges” between Mexico and Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurial centers are becoming more and more popular at universities nationwide, as well as graduate programs that focus on enticing innovation and entrepreneurship as a career path.
The government is also becoming increasingly aware of the need to advocate for local talent. Last month the official announcement came from NAFIN (Mexico’s National Financial institution) and the Secretary of Economy: there is now a public seed capital fund, which will amount to almost 30 million USD and will have two lines of investment: a seed capital fund and as a co-investor in startups.