From artistic crowdfunding, to marketplace lending, to enabling more people to donate blood, these Mexican startups should impact the world in intriguing ways
Mexico is a land of opportunity for startups and investors. With a budding marketplace, an innovative populace, and direct access to the rest of the Latin American market, it has the potential to hold the next big idea.
Even though Mexico is the 11 largest country by population, its tech scene is still fairly new. Budding entrepreneurs are creating new and innovative technologies to solve day-to-day challenges in varied sectors such as fintech, e-commerce, and health.
Here, we take a look at 10 of the most intriguing and well funded companies coming out of Mexico to understand what makes them and the Mexican startup ecosystem unique.
Overview: Bridgefy is the technology that allows all kinds of apps to be used without Internet or phone services like SMS, and will become the third standard of telecommunications after these two. The goal is to empower people that own a smartphone but don’t have constant access to Internet due to economic stress, situations like natural disasters, large events such as music festivals, sports games, etc. Bridgefy strengthens the relationship between apps and users by removing third parties such as Internet and phone service providers. The technology creates connections of up to 160 meters between two people, and then allows for information to “hop” from user to user until it reaches its destination, extending the range indefinitely over a mesh network. The Bridgefy SDK is being constantly worked on and will be seen working in major apps by Spring 2016.
Funding: A pre-seed capital of $325,000
Founders: Roberto Betancourt, Diego Garcia, Jorge Rios
What makes it unique: Co-founder Jorge Rios explains to Geektime, “Bridgefy is the only technology that allows mesh network communications using smartphones, over great ranges, with encrypted and efficient methods of transferring data. The closest competition only provides a local means of communicating in a large public group, whereas Bridgefy permits users to send private and secure messages over very large distances.”
Overview: Kueski is the fastest micro-lending service in Latin America. Users apply for small loans and request when they would like to pay it back. Kueski leverages the requester’s credit history, social graph, and other online information to build a credit risk model that will approve or reject loan applications in minutes. If the loan is approved, a wire transfer will be made immediately.
Funding: $5.11 million from investors including Patrick Gallagher, S. Akamine & J. Earl, Bismarck Lepe, Mathew Sonsini, Ariel Poler, H. Fernandez
Founders: Adalberto Flores and Leonardo de la Cerda
What makes it unique: Kueski said that what makes them unique is, “We have built the best team in Guadalajara: visionary founders, innovative engineers, crazy data scientist, passionate marketers, and wonderful team of customer service reps focused on improving the lives of millions of people through financial services online. We have grown at an amazing 10X a year. Our family today has more than 55 members. We are always looking for brilliant and fun people to work in our extraordinary company.”
Overview: It allows marketers to connect with individuals, referred to by the company as influencers. The influencers create marketing material and the marketers pay the influencers based on how successful the content was, as measured by analytics.
Funding: Seed round: $50,000; Series A: $1.75 million
Founders: Gustavo Lopez and Manuel de la Torre
What makes it unique: The tactic of hiring outside help in marketing campaigns is not unheard of. Campaigns will often hire freelancers to create content, or social media gurus to help a post go viral.
What VoxFeed does is reward those people who are creative and clever enough to find new ways of connecting the brands they represent with an audience. By monitoring the influencers’ analytics, they can figure out exactly how much they have impacted a campaign and how much they have earned.
Overview: A turn-key e-commerce solution that allows sellers to create their own online stores. Businesses in most industries, especially in developing countries like Mexico where basic banking and logistical infrastructure are lacking, find it nearly impossible to develop a direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales channel. Kichink helps them create and manage their own store, getting their wares out to customers.
What makes it unique: According to Claudia de Heredia, what makes Kichink unique is it’s business model. She says, “Kichink was designed by a group of digital marketing, software, and logistics professionals to provide businesses with a complete solution that allows them to start selling immediately with little or no upfront investment. Kichink enables them to scale a sustainable online channel with robust infrastructure, powerful online tools and solid expertise so they can focus on improving their product or service.”
Overview: A crowdfunding website focused on creative artistic endeavors in the Latin American market.
Funding: $40,000 in one seed round.
What makes it unique: Fondeadora provides for a much needed market in Mexico. Like Gofundme before it, Fondeadora helps individuals pursuing passions in fields where it might not be as easy to find funding. Combining this with the only country in the world where it is possible to pay federal income tax with original artwork, and you have a unique pairing that not only encourages art, but also helps it thrive.
Overview: The first digital philanthropy website in Mexico that allows an effective interaction between donors and nonprofits. Through the platform, nonprofits publish institutional information and donors can support with online donations, volunteer work, and in-kind donations, helping charities’ operate easier.
Funding: Undisclosed, however initial investors included Eduardo Saverin (one of Facebook’s co-founders), Bruno Ferrari, Andrés Domene, and Mayra Hernandez. The website has also received economic support from the National Entrepreneurship of Mexico, which categorized it as a success case and a high impact social venture.
Founders: Aldo Alvarez and Eduardo Saverin
What makes it unique: Aporta’s goal is to make donations easy. As co-founder Aldo Alvarez explained to Geektime, the idea came about in 2010 when hurricane Alex hit Mexico. He was in New York at the time and when he tried to find a way to provide monetary support, there was no easy way to do so. Along with Eduardo Saverin, they launched Aporta to make it easier for some 250 nonprofits to fundraise and collect donations in the simplest way possible. Aporta also allows donors to crowdfund aid for natural disasters, making it easier to provide much needed assistance in dire times.
Overview: An app that helps donors find hospitals and schedule appointments to make donating blood much easier. It also allows people to create campaigns for themselves and others to find people willing to donate in their area.
Funding: $20,000 and was housed in the Startup Studio Monterrey incubator
Founders: César Esquivel and Javier Esquivel
What makes it unique: Co-founder Javier Esquivel says that what drives them is the “decisive factor between life and death. This is what makes us wake up every day and keep working with passion and love to ensure everyone can have access to blood when they need it.”
Sector: Data analytics
Overview: OPI is a big data analytics firm that uses cloud-based computing to compile and analyze data from citizens for governmental and private sector use.
Funding: $1 million
Founders: Alejandro Maza and Alberto Tawil
What makes it unique: OPI’s use of cloud computing allows it to compile and analyze large amounts of data in a short amount of time. This makes them incredibly useful to large entities, as their data can be used in everything from marketing to security. The company is a first of its kind in Mexico, marking an important entrance to this growing global field.
Overview: Prestadero is a portal that connects lenders and credit applicants. Removing middle men such as banks, they offer better rates to loan applicants and improved returns for lenders.
Funding: $400,000 seed round; $670,000 Series B
Founder: Gerardo Obregón
What makes it unique: In Mexico, where the individual financial system is still evolving and people may not be as trusting of banks, this gives them the state of mind to agree to loans. For lenders, it guarantees a better rate of return since they aren’t splitting the cost with a broker. Everyone wins.
Sector: Home goods
Overview: A marketplace that connects cleaning professionals and those looking for housekeeping services, enabling better communication and negotiation while improving service for customers and job conditions for workers.
Funding: $100,000 from angel investor; $800,000 from seed round.
Founders: Ana Isabel Orvañanos Riquelme and Rodolfo Corcuera
What makes it unique: Aliada gives their customers with peace of mind. To allow someone into your home requires that you trust them. By providing a medium for housekeepers and those seeking cleaning services, the company offers both parties the ability to better negotiate and trust one another.