This generation is witnessing a revolution in Latin America. However, this revolution doesn’t look anything like the chaotic rebellions that disrupt the politics of the region during the 20th century. This is a digital revolution that is changing radically the way of doing business in LatAm.
Since a few years ago, investments in LatAm are booming. The unicorns of the region pass from zero to 17 in just three years. With a population twice the size of the US and a GDP half that of China, this appealing is not just an affaire. Investors have noted that the region is big.
The current pandemic showed that investing in tech in LatAm was never a quixotic idea. In October, the venture capital fund Atlantico shared Latin America Digital Transformation Report 2020. In the research, they showed how in just a few weeks, Latin America has accelerated its digital transformation.
However, not all is good news. The region of Latin America and the Caribbean still face major challenges. Inequality, poverty, and scarcity of tech profiles in the talent pool are some of the barriers to faster development in the region.
First Tech-Giants in LatAm
Around the globe, tech companies became the most valuable in the last ten years. This hasn’t been an exception for LatAm. In 2020, MercadoLibre is the most valuable company in the region, beating oil state-owned companies like Petrobras.
Argentina has the most valuable company. However, Brazil is the most vibrant ecosystem. In the last years, unicorns have mushroomed in a country that a few years ago had only soccer championships to show to the world. The Brazilian Nubank expanded in Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia in the last two years. This year, Mexico got its first unicorn.
Read also: Nubank, in search of Mexican talent
This is the Latin American Tech Boom
Covid-19 has caused several problems for the region. However, it’s also opening new opportunities for tech entrepreneurs. Between March and May, e-commerce grew up the same that it was projected in the next ten years. The educative system has had to migrate at an accelerating pace to digital platforms. Even traditional companies have had to achieve digital transformation in a few months. Companies that brought forward have had an advantage in this new normal scenario.
A descriptive case is Colombina, a century-old company. Despite being a traditional company, it’s become an example of digital transformation in Colombia.
Colombina started its digital transformation three years ago. At that time, the Colombian company migrated its systems to the cloud. This change not only started a revolutionary process of technological transformation but also laid the foundations of the remote work that today is a fundamental part of its operation. As a result of the public health emergency of COVID-19, this company modified a high volume of its face-to-face work towards virtuality.
Colombina is one of the most traditional in Colombia, with more than 90 years in the market, focused on captivating its customers with practical food. It is one of the forerunners of exports in Colombia, with a current presence in more than 80 countries and millions of international clients. Colombina focuses his business vision on values such as customer service, creativity, and innovation.
It was no small challenge for this company, which sweetens and supplies food to more than 80 nations. But as has happened with most companies, organizations, and governments that had already begun a digital transformation before this juncture, Colombina’s adaptation was swift and his response resilient. In less than three weeks, more than 50 percent of her collaborators were connected to cloud services for teamwork. This adoption allowed Colombina to hold meetings, work online on shared documents, track key projects, and continue operations remotely while her production plants couldn’t stop.
Early players have a lot to win
Undoubtedly, outsourcing companies that early bet in tech development in LatAm have a lot to win in this new scenario. New startups are struggling with the same problems that once time ago they have had to face.
Now, a new market is opening for tech companies that have many years of experience outsourcing to Silicon Valley. Seeking and retaining talent has been one of the main issues that most tech companies in the region face. Outsourcing companies already know how to do that and they can offer this kind of service to the young tech companies that are blooming in this challenging year, or to traditional companies that are already understanding the value of investing in digital transformation.