10 Facts about Peru’s Growing Technology Scene

Perú typically conjures up the image of Machu Picchu’s stunning views, not necessarily the image of a thriving technology hub. And while the country invests just 0.08% of its GDP in innovation (by comparison, Chile invests 0.37%), the fast-growing economy and move towards entrepreneurship make Perú a destination to watch.

Here are ten facts about the growing technology scene in Perú.

1. StartUp Perú is putting the country’s startups on the map

StartUp Perú is a government program by the National Innovation Program for Competitiveness and Productivity (Programa Nacional de Innovación para la Competitividad y Productividad – INNÓVATE PERÚ, del Ministerio de la Producción). It includes funding and competitions for innovative, dynamic, and high impact startups.

The head of the Ministerio de la Producción, Raúl Pérez-Reyes said that the organization has already invested 35 million soles (US$10 million) in around 400 innovative ventures, from 18 regions of the country.

2. There are a variety of local accelerators

StartUp Perú isn’t the only way to get funding and mentorship for a startup in the country. There are over ten additional options including UTEC Ventures, an accelerator that is part of the entrepreneurial department of the University of Engineering and Technology (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología).

Other options include Wayra Perú, Endeavor Perú, NESst, and more.

3. Peru hosts an annual venture capital conference

This annual conference brings together the leaders of the Peruvian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, connecting local startups with both international and local investors.

In 2018, over 900 attendees participated, with more than 300 startups and 250 national and international investors and corporations attending the event. This year’s conference will likely see those numbers skyrocket.

4. The country has a fast-growing economy

Perú’s economy has steadily grown for the past decade. It sees an average growth rate of 5.9% and low inflation averaging at 2.9%. This growth rate is especially significant in the context of the region, where GDP growth has stalled; Brazil, for context, has an annual GDP growth rate of roughly 1%.

Perú’s growth, however, signals opportunity in the country.

5. Coding schools seek to train Peruvians to work in tech

Possibly because of having a relatively small technological footprint, Perúvians are starting organizations that train locals to help grow this space. Laboratoria is a coding school for women and has already graduated over 1,000 female developers, of which 80% now work in tech.

Crack the Code is another school for children to learn more about technology and development.

6. Peru partners with MIT’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program

MIT’s REAP program “provides opportunities for communities around the world to engage with MIT in an evidence-based, practical approach to strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems.”

Perú is one of the global partners where the region of focus is Lima, where government, education organizations, and entrepreneurs come together for local innovation.

7. Government programs beyond StartUp Perú

StartUp Perú is just one of the many government programs seeking to create a more innovative country. In 2014, the Ministry of Innovation launched Innovate Perú, which gives free access to resources, helps startups secure funding, and helps put startups and government-backed organizations together.

Peruvian Ministry of Production launched Reto Bio, a program that promotes innovative projects linked to making the most out of Perú’s abundant natural resources.

8. Cinepapaya is Peru’s unicorn

Acquired by Fandango, Cinepapaya now operates as Fandango Latam. While it’s unclear how much Fandango bought Cinepapaya for, this startup reached unicorn or near-unicorn status.  

There are also thousands of other thriving Peruvian startups. SeguroSimple, for example, is a leading insurtech startup that recently raised US$2 million to expand into México. And Crehana just raised US$4.5 million to expand its online courses for students wanting to pursue an education in digital industries throughout Latin America.

9. Top technology and engineering education

Outside of Lima in the district of Barranco is the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC). The campus is one of the most modern in all of Latin America - rumored to have cost US$100 million to build. The university’s mission is to create “Silicon Barranco,” and by training such elite students, it’s well on its way.

10. E-commerce is a somewhat untapped market

The e-commerce market in Perú is ripe for disruption. Statistics show that only about 5% of Peruvians currently purchase goods online (by comparison this number jumps to 40% in Chile and 70% in Mexico).

A lot of the population remains unbanked, but this number is changing, which leaves the market relatively open for new e-commerce solutions.

Peru’s technological revolution is somewhat slower than its neighbors, but this means there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs working in the region. To see how Peru’s technology scene compares to its neighbors, read our post on Colombia. For a look at the technology scene in 22 Latin American countries, check out our latest eBook, 200+ Fast Facts About Technology in Latin America.