As we reported before, last Friday, Wayra accelerator initiative, selected the 10 startups that it will work with during the following 6 months in Colombia. . As one of the judges, I was able to get a bird’s eye view into the pool of potential companies vying to for one of these coveted spots and this year’s selection was, indeed, a difficult one.
As I’ve written in the past, Colombia still has a way to go to build up its startup ecosystem on a par with the US and Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina. That’s why initiatives such as Wayra are so important. Also, in a country with practically no seed investors, the fact that Telefonica ends up investing tens of thousands of dollars in each company provides one of the only recourses for promising startups.
This year’s batch of startups has larger portion of companies focused on the global market than last year. Though most are focused on the consumer market (B2C) some are focused on Enterprise markets as well. Without further adieu, we present the Wayra Colombia 2012 startups:
1.- Opination – A company that makes surveys fun and provides an easier and more cost-effective way of conducting market research, it’s Facebook community already boasts more than 100k members and growing fast. Target market: global
2.- Talent Surfers – Boasting one of the most balanced team with a talented designer, developer and business developer, this startup is focused on connecting teachers or tutors with students. Target market: global.
3.- MyBand.is – This startup offers a service for independent bands looking for a quick and slick website that integrates their social media content in one centralized location. The free version offers a sub domain below the MyBand.is domain (such as http://myband.is/thehonorablesouth). Target market: global.
4.- TuTalento – TuTalento is a Task Rabbit for Latin America. One of the few candidates to boast real traction (and sales), TuTalento is lead by a serial entrepreneur with strong customer acquisition know-how who is looking forward to greater. Target market: global.
5.- CodeTag.me – Looking to tackle the problem of finding talented software developers in Latin America, this startup is made up of three talented developers (including a Founder Institute grad) are looking to leverage activity on sites such as GitHub, among other things, to rate programmers and connect them with innovative startups. Target market: regional.
6.- URGift – A wish list-powered site that leverages friend networks and social media sites such as Facebook to provide brands with a platform for sustaining relevant conversations with their customers. The company is lead by a mother who a couple of weeks before, gave birth to her second child. Target market: global.
7.- Thotz – This Founder Institute grad is lead by two determined co-founders with a vision to provide an improved information visualization experience. They are releasing the first version on the Google apps store with more supported platforms to come. Target market: global.
8.- Filecubed – Similar to Thotz, this company want to improve information visualization, but also information access (speed) and storage particularly for enterprises. It also boasts one of the most balanced teams with capable business development, design and technology founders looking to make their ambitious vision a reality. Target market: global.
9.- StartBull – As previously reported, this startup is offering simulated stock market. While Latin America boasts a growing middle-class, a large portion of these are inexperienced at stock market trading. StartBull, recently returned from the Startup Chile acceleration program and will now try to polish their current application and grow their user base. Target market: regional.
10.- MiBrujula – This company is looking to improve city life by not only helping citizens locate public transportation (e.g., taxis, etc.), but also connect with friends through ride sharing. Though regional rival Safer Taxi recently raised $1M, MiBrujula feels there’s unexplored territory in this space. Target market: regional.