Business Models that Break the Mold in LatAm: How are they Changing the Paradigm?

Business innovation leaders are those with the ability to visualize the impact of new technologies on diverse industries that, going relatively unchanged for years, have suddenly transformed right before their eyes.

Disruptive models are the result of new uses and of what’s to come from the consumer who has completely incorporated technology. Latin America still isn’t completely aligned, but a handful of initiatives show the way and open up possibilities for new projects and businesses – something we at PulsoSocial follow closely. What are those disruptive models, what industries or verticals do they conquer, and how much room is there for growth?

Disruptive Models in Education

Consistently acquiring new skills and abilities has become a requirement for success in the world today, reaching far beyond academia. The need for education and adaptation translates into on-demand, customizable education products. Users require multichannel education, continuous reinforcement and unlimited access. In this context, content through video,  infographics, interactivity and gaming rule educational engagement online. The ability of users to review and discuss content and institutions is also a pillar of this new model that breaks from the tradition of lineal education.

In Latin America, Wormhole IT stimulates continuous learning through mobile apps that can be accessed from a smartphone anywhere, anytime. iPad application Tale me Stories  stimulates children’s imaginations interactively while reading, and the Acámica platform offers a variety of courses for users to acquire transversal knowledge in a wide range of areas.

Disruptive Models in Banking

As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the financial system has been forced to become more humane and deal directly with the social consequences of its practices. In parallel, the critical mass of internet users means that businesses and consumers are turning to themselves to address finance-related issues previously reserved for banks. Transparency and trust are the pillars for this new model.

In Latin America, there are various businesses cases in this arena. Capitalizarme allows consumers to turn their savings into real estate investments. Banlinea offers free tools to find, evaluate, understand and order over 1,200 financial products. Afluenta is the first collaborative financing network in the region, through which people invest in credits for others.

Disruptive Models in Media

Markets like informative content, music, games and film have undergone a complete technology transformation. Internet and mobile penetration rates have transformed them, fostering new business models, especially on demand.  Users expect a customized entertainment experience. A few examples are FlipboardDe CorrespondentGroovesharkNetflix and Lovefilm.

In Latin America, the polemic Cuevana is one of the few entertainment initiatives in this realm, meaning entertainment is also a high-potential niche in the region. In journalistic and magazine content, the offer of customized platforms is even more limited. In film, we’ve got LALA, a crowdfunding platform where film professionals, technicians and lovers can come together to bring audiovisual projects to life.

Disruptive Models in Medicine

Medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare institutions are benefiting like never before from the possibilities of the internet in terms of coverage, care, monitoring, testing and research. However, there is virtually nothing going on in this niche in Latin America right now, which could reach US$1.6 billion by 2017 with a 50% annual growth rate over the next six years.

Examples: Medify, a platform where one can find medical and scientific research on illnesses and disorders,, a platform that turns one’s smartphone into a source of medical information, and the Philips Vital Signs Camera, an app that measures heart rate and breathing rate.

Disruptive Models in Tourism

Technology is rapidly changing the concepts of and logistics behind how we travel. Online communities are the toughest critics of and reference points for both where to go and where to stay. And travel agencies are becoming obsolete, as one can now organize an entire trip from a computer or mobile phone. Moreover, local communities are gaining ground on traditional tourism destinations thanks to platforms that give them greater visibility.

The travel niche is heating up in Latin America, with companies like, and Zukbox in the mix.

Find more information about disruptive models and industries here.

This text has been adapted and translated into English by Emily Stewart from its original Spanish publication