10 Facts about Colombia’s Growing Technology Scene

Colombia is a fast-growing country that emphasizes innovation. The government sponsors and supports endeavors to encourage entrepreneurship, which is why this country is growing as a global technology hub. Colombians are also the fourth highest Internet users in Latin America, which means the country is ripe for new ideas to help solve daily problems. Read on for ten fast facts about the growing technology scene in Colombia.

1. Rappi is Colombia’s unicorn

It’s almost impossible to talk about Colombia’s technology scene without mentioning Rappi. This on-demand delivery app raised another US$220 million in September 2018 and is valued at about US$1.1 billion. Rappi recently teamed up with Avon in Brazil. Customers that purchase an Avon product will receive it within two hours, thanks to Rappi’s delivery service.

Rappi now operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Perú, and Uruguay. There is no stopping this company, and since Launchway Media has team members in Colombia, we can confidently say this app will continue to make waves globally.

2. Colombia is reforming its business regulations

Inspired by The World Bank’s Doing Business Report, Colombia has made steps towards improving business regulations. Per the findings, “Colombia is among the many countries around the world reforming their business regulations to stimulate the private sector and spur economic growth.” Businesses can register moveable assets such as machinery or even their own products as collateral.

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3. Colombia is extremely entrepreneurial

Anyone that needs help growing an idea in Colombia is in luck. A survey found that 71% of the adult population views entrepreneurship favorably and 60% of adult Colombians are potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is exploding in Colombia, as the country welcomes new ideas and talent.

4. Colombia is home to a high amount of early-stage entrepreneurial activity

It’s not just that Colombians view entrepreneurship highly, they are pushing their ideas forward. A global study by the World Economic Forum and Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that Colombia (along with Chile) have an irregularly high amount of early-stage entrepreneurial activity and an unusually high proportion of ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs.

5. The government supports technological innovation

Recently, the Colombian government approved a new ministry, Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación. Introducing the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation means a person will sit on the council of ministers with the goal of appropriating more resources to develop research projects.

While the new ministry is new, government support is not. iNNPulsa is a government-supported group that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, and productivity by offering grants. The organization has the lofty, though seemingly achievable goal of positioning Colombia as one of the top three most innovative economies by 2025 and one of the most competitive economies by 2032. And Medellin is home to Ruta N, a federally-sponsored organization that offers early-stage companies support such as classes, finance opportunities, promotion opportunities, and networking.

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6. eCommerce is expanding in Colombia

The Colombian e-commerce market exploded in 2015, growing by 64% in one year. Colombia’s e-commerce revenue was around US$3.1B in 2015, though these numbers have somewhat declined since then.

Since online fraud is low in Colombia, standing at .45%, there is a chance for e-commerce platforms to make a mark. There are barriers, such as an unbanked population, but an increasingly connected country means more possibilities.

7. Bogota is home to apps.co

Apps.co is an initiative by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation that helps Colombian turn ideas into businesses. The program emphasizes the development of mobile applications, software, and content. Since its creation in 2012, Apps.co has helped 2,175 teams and companies and supported more than 137,000 people.

8. Investor confidence is growing

Colombia has a relatively open, free market economy. There are numerous trade agreements with strategic partners such as the US and the EU. The ports located on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans make Colombia a key location for doing business. The government encourages foreign direct investment and imposes the same investment restrictions on foreign and national investors. Called “an increasingly enticing destination for foreign investment,” Colombia encourages investment in its growing economy.

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9. Colombia is becoming a top Crypto ATM destination in Latin America

The refugee crisis in Venezuela has forced hundreds of thousands (arguably millions) of Venezuelans into Colombia; the foreign minister says it may reach four million by 2021.

Companies such as Athena Bitcoin are moving into Colombia quickly. The company noted that most of its users are Venezuelans who prefer cryptocurrency because of currency instability. Athena Bitcoin has 27 crypto ATMs in Colombia; by comparison, they have five in Argentina.

10. Medellín is an award-winning innovative city

Citibank and The Wall Street Journal recognized Medellin for finding a new solution to the problem of mobility and environmental sustainability. Not only did the city create a unique gondola and giant escalator system to transport citizens, but the country also built public libraries, parks, and schools in poor hillside neighborhoods.

Tech entrepreneurs also enjoy the fact that many airlines offer flights directly in and out of both Medellin and Bogota from hubs in the US and Europe. This makes it easier to do business here for entrepreneurs who travel often.

For more fast facts about Latin America’s technology scene, read our blog on Chile.