In Case You Missed It: Last Week’s Highlights from PulsoSocial

Last week, we at PulsoSocial put the spotlight on Jamaica's tech scene, Bidu's latest investment, and a pretty intimidating mobile spying product.

News-wise, last week was a pretty varied one at PulsoSocial. We put the spotlight on Jamaica’s tech scene, looked at a questionably legal spying app and chatted with one of Latin America’s top entrepreneurial leaders. Take a look at the highlights.

Jamaica Has a Startup Scene Worth Watching

jamaicaJamaica may not have the most buzzed-about startup ecosystem in the world, but it can’t be overlooked, either. We spoke with two members of the country’s tech community – Gordon Swaby of EduFocal and Mannin Marsh of Project Grapevine – to get a more in-depth perspective of the scene.

“I’ve been involved in Jamaica’s tech scene for over seven years, and it’s amazing to see how much growth we’ve experienced,” Swaby reflected. We’re definitely not where we need to be, but it’s great to know that more attention is being placed on the space by the government of Jamaica, private sector and other stakeholders.”

Mobile Spying Software mSpy Toes the Line Between Cool and Creepy

Launched in 2011 out of the U.K., mSpy is one of the leading mobile spying products on the market today. Its features include call monitoring, GPS tracking, email access, internet use oversight and app controls. Some of its facets are convenient – such as security features that allow users to lock and wipe data from lost or stolen phones – while others are pretty creepy – like its ability to record calls and surroundings, and to log keystrokes.

Is it legal? Well, that’s a question of use. Though we ask people to warn phone owners about the installation of the software, many of them do it secretly, thus breaking the law,” explained David Jameson, External Communications Specialist at mSpy, to PulsoSocial. In Latin America, he noted that the software is largely being used to catch unfaithful lovers – a sort of virtual variety of Cheaters.

Bidu Picks Up US$8.9M Series B: CEO Eldes Mattiuzzo on What’s Next

This week, British venture capital firm Amadeus Capital made its Latin American investment debut. The move: leading the US$8.9 million Series B round raised by Brazilian online insurance broker Bidu.

Following the announcement, we caught up with Bidu CEO Eldes Mattiuzzo to discuss the deal and Brazil’s insurance market overall, which he said entails two main issues: convincing people to buy insurance, and getting them to do so online. “There is an unexplored market for insurance in Brazil that should be addressed,” he affirmed.

Features vs. Experiences and Striking a Balance in Latin America

balanceWith a trajectory of over a decade long in Latin America’s tech ecosystem, Ariel Muslera has a keen perspective of the region’s strengths and shortcomings. One of his main conclusions: LatAm’s entrepreneurs are often more inclined to focus on features than experience. He outlined:

If you ask entrepreneurs what their projects are about, they start to list off a series of functionalities – they don’t think about the problem they’re solving for clients. This has an enormous impact on business vision and the chances of getting investment. When you see the companies there are in Silicon Valley compared with those in Latin America, in many cases, in terms of functionality, they’re not that different. There are many that replicate features without adding value.

Business App Maker Leapfactor Joins the Endeavor Miami Family

Endeavor Miami has added two more high-impact entrepreneurs to its roster: Lionel Carrasco and Marcela Henao, the founders of business app creator Leapfactor.

Leapfactor launched in 2009, when smartphones and apps weren’t nearly as commonplace as they are today. Four years ago, people called us crazy,” Carrasco recalled. Today, however, the scenario has changed. “The convergence of cloud acceptance in enterprise and the spread of devices for employees, customers and partners have changed the landscape dramatically,” he concluded.