October 7 of 2020

WIND Ventures Survey Reveals VC Investors Unaware of Growth Opportunities for Tech Startups in Latin America

WIND Ventures, the newly formed corporate venture capital arm of Copec, a leading energy company throughout Latin America and the Southeast United States, today released the results of a survey on the venture capital community’s view of global growth markets. The survey reveals that venture investors do not perceive Latin America as a high priority for startup expansion with just eight percent viewing the region as the largest growth market behind China (37 percent), Western Europe (29 percent), Southeast Asia (13 percent) and India (12 percent).

“Our research confirms a broad misconception about Latin America as an attractive growth market for startups,” said Brian Walsh, head of WIND Ventures. “With double the population and equal urbanization to the United States, Latin America has a large concentrated population that has quickly become highly connected and prolific users of smartphones and digital platforms. The region is experiencing a very rapid cultural shift towards digitalization, which is only accelerating due to the pandemic. It is already a significant growth market for many tech companies, including Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Coursera, and others.”

In July of 2020, WIND Ventures surveyed over 50 venture capitalists from a diverse cross-section of professionals including traditional venture capitalists and Corporate venture capitalists. While the majority (70 percent) of those surveyed were early-stage investors, 19 percent were seed investors and 11 percent were growth-stage investors. The research made clear that venture capitalists are largely unaware of the compelling fundamentals of the Latin American market, creating the significant opportunity to correct this misconception and infuse more innovation into the up and coming region.

Additional findings include:

  • Market size and rate of tech adoption are top considerations for growth markets but Latin America’s attributes are unrecognized: When asked how venture investors typically measure attractive growth markets for startup expansion, 38 percent surveyed chose market size first, while 23 percent ranked a high-rate of tech adoption as most important. Other key attributes include:
    – Large and growing middle-class first (16 percent)
    – Supportive local partners first (16 percent)
    – High mobile adoption (six percent)
    – Large urban population (six percent)
    Despite having many of these attractive market attributes, Latin America is not viewed as having the important elements to drive startup expansion with just six percent of investors associating the region with the above.
  • The misconception of the Latin American market presents an opportunity: While many venture capitalists did not understand the benefits of the region, a majority of those surveyed said they would view Latin America as an attractive growth market for startups if they knew it had all of the top attributes (100 percent of seed investors, 68 percent of early investors and 83 percent of growth investors surveyed agreed).
  • The primary perceived challenge for business building is political: Investors surveyed ranked the political climate (90 percent) as the biggest challenge for building a business in Latin America, followed by economic (54 percent), cultural (48 percent) hurdles and the impact of COVID-19 (15 percent).

“While enormous opportunity exists in Latin America, the political, economic and cultural landscape can be complicated given there are over 20 countries that make up the region,” said Walsh. “Having a well regarded and trusted local partner to help navigate the market can mitigate much of these complexities and is key for startups when entering the region.”

To see the full findings, please visit

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