By Alejandra Winter, Director of Soft Landing Strategy, CIC
Colombia, once widely known for its tumultuous history, has been quietly reinventing itself on the global stage. The nation’s burgeoning innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem is becoming a captivating attraction, so much that I had a hard time catching my plane back home because I wanted to keep meeting folks and learning more about the amazing things being built in Colombia. Join me as I delve into my fascinating exploration and impressions of this emergent gem: Colombia.
Colombian Ecosystem in Numbers
Colombia’s record-setting 2021 is a testament to its potential, with local startups like Rappi and Habi reaching unicorn status. Between 2013 and 2023, Colombian startups raised a total of USD 4.621 billion. Notably, 25 Colombian companies from four cities have entered the prestigious Y Combinator acceleration program in San Francisco, according to the 2022-2023 Colombia tech report.
“74% of the Colombian ventures that have raised capital in 2022 are startups from the Bogota-Region. Through 85 investment rounds, these companies have raised close to USD 1,240 million; a figure that represents 89.5% of the total capital raised in Colombia”, stated Isabella Muñoz, executive director of Invest in Bogota.
Key Players in the Ecosystem
Colombia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem thrives on the efforts of key players such as Cube Ventures, VC Firm Pygma, Platzi, and Rockstart, each investing in and nurturing the nation’s ambitious entrepreneurs. Cube Ventures provides robust business networks and strategic guidance, while Pygma targets innovative, data-driven startups for funding.
Education platform Platzi equips the workforce with necessary digital skills, and Dutch-origin accelerator Rockstart supports startups in the web, mobile, and digital health sectors.
Col Capital, with its 25 venture capital members, connects investors and startups, and Bancolombia has also established itself as a significant supporter of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Public entities such as Pro Colombia, Innpulsa, and Invest in Bogota boost the ecosystem further by promoting trade, investment, and tourism.
Furthermore, Google’s investments in Colombian startups validate the country’s standing as an emerging tech hub.
One of the most remarkable trends in the Colombian ecosystem is the rise of Fintech. With digital payments, online lending platforms, and innovative insurance solutions gaining traction, Colombia is quickly becoming a Fintech powerhouse, following Retailtech, DeepTech, and Proptech. At the same time, Agrotech is harnessing the power of technology to revolutionize the agricultural industry. From farm management software to drone technology, Agrotech startups offer solutions to increase crop yield, improve farming efficiency, and create sustainable farming practices.
Recognizing the strong innovative potential and global ambitions of Colombian startups, the CIC International Soft Landing program aims to link these businesses to our worldwide network. This initiative aids Colombian startups in their international expansion, providing vital resources to navigate new markets while diversifying and enriching the program’s engagement with global entrepreneurship. You can read more about our mission to support Latin American startups and our focus on Colombia in the in this article.