Five things you need to know about the Latin American tech ecosystem before starting your week:
Startup accelerators seem to be popping up left and right these days. But beware entrepreneurs – not all programs are created equal. In an exclusive guest piece for PulsoSocial, Marcela Gutierrez of naranya*LABS outlines the advantages of participating in niche-specific acceleration processes.
“With so many technology accelerator programs now available, it may be time to start looking past the broader accelerators and take a closer look at the niche accelerator programs that have sprung up to help startups in rapidly-growing categories, such as mobile commerce technology, healthcare technology and clean technology,” she writes.
Gamification is one of those tech buzz words that gets thrown around a lot without being entirely understood or defined – something that can prove especially problematic for executives considering whether to bring it into their enterprises. “The idea behind gamification is not converting the work environment into a game – that’s the wrong approach,” emphasized Oscar Giraldo in an interview with PulsoSocial. “Gamification is just using data in a useful and smart way to drive people’s behaviors.”
We spoke with Giraldo as well as Carol Snell, newly-appointed Chairman of the Board at gamified workforce optimization solutions provider PlayVox, about how technology has transformed customer service. Snell reflected:
Technologies have consistently responded to customer service mandates. Early on, it was getting the right customer to the right agent at the right time – intelligent routing technologies. It evolved to delivering the best, right service through self-service versus live agent assistance. Quality practices fundamentally changed the way we approached the service delivery process. The focus on the total customer experience across consumer channels of choice. And most recently, the analysis of consumer behavior to inform the service delivery experience.
Online education platform Oja.la recently announced a US$500,000 investment round led by Alta Ventures, its list of backers now reading like a who’s who in venture capital in Latin America.
We spoke with Oja.la founder Hernán Aracena about the round and why he thinks the startup has hit a nerve in the region:
I think there is an amazing opportunity to teach computer skills in Latin America. In the past, it was a vitamin, but right now, it’s a painkiller. People need more people with computer skills, and companies know that they have to hire people who can be exponentially more productive in the workforce, and they know that computer skills are fundamental for that.
You know you’re doing something right when billionaires are trying to get into your game. In recent weeks, a couple of big names on the stock market have made notable bets on specific industries in Latin America.
For Tiger Global’s Chase Coleman, Brazilian e-commerce seems to be a big point of interest. Tiger recently announced plans to invest US$500 million in online retailer B2W Companhia Digital, and it has previously backed Netshoes and Peixe Urbano.
For Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, online education is the place to be. After partnering with Khan Academy to get courses translated into Spanish last year, the Carlos Slim Foundation will work with Coursera to make its content more accessible to Spanish-speakers as well.
Miami’s been on the up-and-up as a startup hub, but it’s still got a lot of ground to gain. A recent Endeavor report points out just how much.
While there are a huge number of businesses being started in Miami, most are falling short when it comes to scaling and achieving significant growth. While the local lifestyle is a draw for entrepreneurs and a handful of big companies have already made it, financing and talent are still lacking.