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[New Businesses] Latin American start-ups to look out in 2013 (via @TheNextWeb)

We feel honoured to see that North American websites are relaying on the technological developments and innovations made by Latin American start-ups.  We have previously stated in our blog that LatAm still holds hope for many sectors, for many years to come.

We still believe that Latin America is a wonderful platform to create new ventures, an amazing growing market with enormous potential, and a warm and welcoming business people.  You just have to find the right ones.

Let us enjoy this ‘top 10’ of future start-ups, we will include new ones in the weeks to come.  -FTR


Via @TheNextWeb

As a new year begins, here comes the time to refresh our list of the most promising Latin American startups. It’s worth noting that this isn’t about who is going to IPO next, as we decided to limit ourselves to somewhat early stage names.

While they are still in their first years of existence, most of them have graduated from one of the region’s leading accelerators, which helped them get funding from international investors to finance their growth.

Check out our list of 10 startups to look out for below, in alphabetical order:

Agent Piggy

agent piggy logo 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Agent Piggy is a financial education platform for kids, which hopes to teach them how to manage a budget in an entertaining way. Already available in Spanish and English, it launched its Portuguese version at TNW Conference Latin America in Brazil last August.

Earlier this year, it was also the winner of TNW Startup Awards’ Chilean edition. It has participated in acceleration programs at Founder Institute,Start-Up Chile and Wayra, which selected it as one of the companies it introduced to international investors during its Global Demo Day in Miami last month.


bandtastic logo 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Bandtastic is a crowdfunding platform for concerts and digital tickets. In practical terms, people pick a band they would like to see live and they all bring it together, creating opportunities to finance music shows that wouldn’t have happened with more traditional models.

It was the winner of TNW Startup Awards Mexico last summer. The startup received funding from Investomex, which co-invested alongside Wayra and Startup Labs.

Runner-up: 21212 alum Queremos, which has been developing a similar model in Brazil and recently expanded into the US under the brandWeDemand.


cinepapaya e1357143960670 220x44 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 ‘Latin American Fandango’ Cinepapayafocuses on selling movie tickets, and already boasts a presence in Peru, Colombia and Chile. More importantly, it has secured funding from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups to finance its regional expansion.

Cinepapaya’s team participated in TNW Conference’s Startup Battle in São Paulo last August, and made it to second place. It also took part in Start-Up Chile, and is one of the most promising alumni of Wayra Peru (see our previous article about the program and its impact on the Peruvian tech scene.)


comparaonline 220x62 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Service comparison startupComparaOnline was the first Chilean startup to receive investment from the Latin American VC firm Kaszek Ventures last May. In total, it has raised over US$5 million so far.

A few weeks ago, we also learned that ComparaOnline’s CEO Sebastian Valin would be joining the Endeavor Network. As you may know, Endeavor’s focus is to foster growth by supporting high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging countries, and the fact that it its global selection panel selected ComparaOnline confirms that the company is definitely a name to watch in 2013.


 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 We have recently labelled Chilean startupCumplo as “one of the most groundbreaking startups in Latin America.” Its purpose?Democratizing finance through P2P lending. By mid-December 2012, over $1 million had been distributed via its platform.

While its model went under administrative scrutiny, it has the right team to overcome these hurdles; its co-founders Nicolas Shea is the founder of Start-Up Chile, of which Boudeguer was the executive director before he left to create Cumplo.

Runner-upLenddo, which currently operates in the Philippines and Colombia, and grants loans based on community trust.


logo descomplica 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Brazilian e-learning startupDescomplica has recentlyclosed an investment roundfrom Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Brazil-focused Valor Capital Group and EL Area, 500 Startups, and Palo Alto-based Social+Capital Partnership.

In other words, it is well placed to surf on the online education boom in Latin America, and more specifically in Brazil, where it helps students prepare for major entrance examinations.

Runner-up: Veduca, which brings MOOCs from leading US universities to Brazil with Portuguese subtitles, and recently closed a round led by Mountain do Brasil, with participation from 500 Startups.


ideame logo 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Ideame is Latin America’s Kickstarter, and added many twists to the original crowdfunding model to make sure it could succeed in its home region. For instance, it has recently introduced a new funding method which is similar to Indiegogo’s Flexible Funding option, in which projects can get access to contributions even if they don’t reach 100% of their original goal.

As we reported, Ideame participated in NXTP Labs’ acceleration program, and won TNW Startup Awards Argentina. It has recently acquired its Brazilian counterpart Movere to boost its growth in that country.


pagpop logo 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Pagpop is the Brazilian version of Square, and one of the most successful startups to have come out of Rio de Janeiro and New York-based accelerator 21212.

Earlier this year, its mobile payment solution attracted the attention of Intel Capital, which selected Pagpop as one of the ten companies in which it is investing a total of $40 million.


workana logo 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Workana is an online marketplace for freelancers, with headquarters in Argentina and a focus on Latin America. It is currently available in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

An alumnus from NXTP Labs, it won TNW Conference Latin America’s Startup Battle. It then went on to raise a $500k round of investment led by DMGT‘s employment division, Evenbase,

Runner-up: GetNinjas, which offers a somewhat similar platform in Brazil, where it won the local edition of TNW Startup Awards in 2012.

Wormhole IT

wormhole it 220x41 10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013 Wormhole IT is an Argentine web conference platform that has recently been selected to join the Endeavor Network. During TNW Conference Latin America, it announced that it had partnered with phone operatorVivo to offer its solutions to more than one million SMBs in Brazil.

As we explained at the time, “the platform can be used for web meetingsà la Skype, but also for training sessions and events. One of its key characteristics is its simple interface, which doesn’t require any download and is compatible with slow Internet connections.”

Image credit: Thinkstock


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[audiostreaming] Deezer and Spotify comparison (The Music Void)

Via @TheMusicVoid, posted by Decibel Music Systems

Music streaming platforms currently dominate the global conversation on the future of music, with debates touching upon streaming ethics, application survival, and monetisation methods. The usual suspects included in the discourse include Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, and Pandora. But in terms of on-demand streaming, Spotify leads the English-language media discussion. While Spotify holds 4 million paid users, its French competitor Deezer holds 2 million. Sure, only half the amount, as many journalists are keen to point out—but this will not remain a constant ratio in user growth.

The media attention around Spotify is no doubt a product of its presence and accessibility in English markets, particularly the UK and US. Deezer’s later entry in to the UK market and lack of presence in the US has made the French company seem less significant, seemingly following in Spotify’s wake and mimicking their overall strategy. While drawing immediate comparisons to Deezer seems logical, an evaluation of data aggregated from research, articles, and interviews carve out key differences in the applications, including business strategy and position, market dominance, user experience, and artist interaction.

Competitive Differences:
Deezer focuses on specific, emerging markets with rising music consumption patterns, low customer acquisition costs, and high growth opportunities.1 They use telecommunications partnerships, like their initial collaboration with Orange in France, to compound their exposure in mobile as they release their product in key developing countries. Deezer hopes to secure these customers early in their mobile and digital music consumption habits.
Spotify continues to move in mature markets like the UK and US, gaining traction in the major global music centres. Their current challenge seems to be to secure US market by marketing their free service and securing a large user base to convert into paid-users with stiff competition from iTunes, Pandora, and Rdio. Note: Deezer currently does not have a free service and only has a trial offering.

Market Operations:
Deezer operates in emerging and fast growing markets, including 35 Latin American countries, Asia, and soon Africa. This will no doubt influence the future artist partnerships and availability on the site. There will be closer attention to the greater access to internet, mobile payment systems, and smartphone accessibility in emerging markets.

Spotify will fight with major players in the developed and mature US, UK, and EU markets, while still pursuing other markets

User Experience:
Deezer is a browser based platform that considers its speciality in music discovery and recommendation service Nevertheless, as a browser-based application, it has its limitations: Multimedia keys do not work for control.

Spotify operates as a desktop application and can easily import local library music and playlists with easy navigation (as opposed to Deezer’s often noted clumsy online sync).

Artist Interaction:
Deezer recently launched Deezer for Artists, allowing labels and artists to connect to fans on Deezer through social media aggregation and content curation.

Spotify’s app studio currently acts as a vehicle for fans to interact with artists. Artist apps, like those of One Direction, David Guetta, and Blur, are unofficial means for connection, but Spotify is expected to announce more features for artists.

While some might argue that these are merely semantic differentials and that the product offerings are identical, these factors still dictate how each company will proceed in their global business development and market acquisition patterns. The future of these two companies and their interaction will be something to watch, as Len Blavatnik’s (Warner Music) stake in Deezer may a major strategic future advantage for the company. It is also important to note that Deezer is reported to be a profitable company while the Spotify continues to publically struggle with its financial model.

Check out the table below which details music catalogue sizes territories launched in and core strategies moving forward for each service.


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[AdGate] Free prêt à retirer la configuration par défaut de son application anti-pub

(via @Les Echos) par Solveig Godeluck

L’Internet français est en feu et, ce matin, Fleur Pellerin joue au pompier. En effet, la ministre déléguée au Numérique reçoit à Bercy le protagonistes de l’affaire dite « Adgate » : éditeurs de services en ligne (Spiil, Geste), régies publicitaires (SRI, UDA) et bien sûr Free. Ce « scandale de la publicité » a commencé jeudi soir, lorsque le fournisseur d’accès à Internet a instauré un blocage par défaut des bannières publicitaires sur sa Freebox Révolution.Un coup de Trafalgar pour les professionnels qui vivent de la publicité en ligne, car 5 millions de foyers sont clients de Free. Au-delà de la remise en cause de certains modèles économiques, cette innovation crée un aléa juridique. En effet, un opérateur télécoms qui s’était toujours refusé à filtrer les contenus a priori et sans qu’un juge l’exige entreprend de le faire de son plein gré… au risque d’exciter les censeurs de tout poil. Bloquer la publicité n’est donc pas une décision qu’un opérateur télécoms peut prendre à la légère ; c’est pourquoi Free a rassuré le gouvernement en promettant de retirer la configuration par défaut de son application anti-pub, lundi ou dans les jours qui suivent.

Coup de force

Free n’a rien contre la publicité. L’opérateur lui-même gagne quelques millions d’euros par an grâce à sa régie publicitaire interne. En réalité, il poursuit un autre objectif : contraindre Google à payer pour déverser ses contenus vidéo dans son réseau. A la mi-décembre, les équipes des deux entreprises se sont rencontrées. Selon nos informations, Free a soulevé la menace du blocage de la publicité, et exigé qu’un accord soit signé avant Noël. Google est passé outre… si bien que, après quelques débats internes, Free a tiré son coup de canon. Aux yeux de Xavier Niel, le patron de Free, et de son lieutenant, Rani Assaf, qui a la haute main sur le réseau, il n’est plus tolérable que YouTube continue à croître sans que sa maison mère Google achète une interconnexion directe avec Free – seule façon de garantir une vraie qualité de service aux internautes. De son côté, Google fait la sourde oreille. Son modèle économique repose justement sur la gratuité de l’interconnexion avec les opérateurs. Afin d’imposer sa vision, le géant du Net mélange dans le même tuyau son moteur de recherche (dont nul opérateur ne saurait se passer) et YouTube. Toutefois, il sait que ce rapport de forces pourrait changer, et le dit dans son rapport annuel, en évoquant d’éventuelles pertes de revenus et de croissance.

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[AdGate] Free met en place un bloqueur de publicités

(Via @LeFrenchWeb)

Free vient de rendre disponible une nouvelle mise à jour de sa Freebox Revolution. Celle-ci ne devrait pas passer inaperçue puisqu’elle embarque notamment un bloqueur de publicités.

Cette nouvelle option, disponible en version beta pour le moment, serait en outre activée pardéfaut et pourrait donc bien faire grincer des dents de nombreux annonceurs.

D’après les premiers tests réalisés par PCInpact, la technologie permet de supprimer les annonces publicitaires de tous les navigateurs utilisés depuis un ordinateur, une tablette ou un smartphone connecté au réseau internet de Free.

Toutefois, certaines publicités semblent plus touchées que d’autres. En effet, les annonces présentes sur Google disparaissent alors que les publicités présentes sur les différents sites seraient, quant à elles,  touchées de manière aléatoire.

Quoi qu’il en soit, cette mise à jour pourrait bien être interprétée comme un nouvel épisode de la guerre opposant Free à Google et pourrait, en outre, avoir un impact économique non négligeable sur le monde de l’Internet.


Mise à jour, le 7 Janvier, 2012
(via @LeFigaro)

Le dispositif de blocage des publicités de Free, installé par défaut sur la Freebox depuis jeudi, aura fait beaucoup parler de lui. Depuis samedi matin, la rumeur d’un retour en arrière du fournisseur d’accès à Internet enfle. Sur Twitter, le journaliste de BFM Business Stéphane Soumier a assuré que «tout rentrera dans l’ordre dimanche soir/lundi matin», citant des sources proches du dossier.

Concrètement, le système de blocage de la publicité devrait être désamorcé «dans les jours qui viennent», a précisé plus tard à l’AFP une source. Selon cette dernière, Free entend bien, avec cette démarche, faire pression sur le géant américain Google, dans le cadre de négociations tendues sur le financement des réseaux télécoms.

Jeudi dernier, Free avait mis en place, parmi les mises à jour de la Freebox revolution, une fonction «adblocker» dont le but est de bloquer, ou tout le moins filtrer, la publicité sur Internet. Résultat: ses 5 millions d’abonnés ADSL, lorsqu’ils surfent sur la Toile depuis leur ordinateur ou leur tablette, accèdent à leurs sites habituels, débarrassés de la plupart des encarts publicitaires. Cette mesure a provoqué la colère de nombreux éditeurs de sites et fait réagir la ministre de l’Economie numérique, Fleur Pellerin. Cette dernière doit recevoir lundi des représentants de Free et de sa maison mère, Iliad, ainsi que des éditeurs, des représentants de régies publicitaires et des annonceurs, pour «trouver un compromis dans les plus brefs délais», a-t-elle expliqué dans un entretien auFigaro .

Beaucoup de sites dépendent des recettes publicitaires, qui sont parfois leur seule source de revenus. «Free est totalement irresponsable et menace de porter un coup violent à tout un pan de l’économie numérique», s’insurgeait dès jeudi le site Numerama, un «pure-player» spécialisé dans la culture numérique. «Nous n’avons pas à être les otages de la guéguerre entre Free et Google», s’est insurgé un autre éditeur interrogé par Le Figaro. Depuis plusieurs mois, l’opérateur cherche à faire payer Google pour l’utilisation de son réseau. Comme les autres opérateurs télécoms, Free veut mettre à contribution les gros éditeurs de contenus, ceux qui envoient d’énormes volumes de données sur leurs réseaux. Or, en frappant la publicité, Free touche directement Google, qui est l’une des premières régies publicitaires sur Internet.

Un bras de fer dans lequel certains éditeurs ont décidé d’intervenir ce week-end. A l’instar de Julien Thierry, directeur du développement d’, qui vient de lancer le «Mouvement Freedom» sur les réseaux sociaux.


Avec son slogan «Free bloque la pub, bloquons Free!», le Mouvement Freedom lance un ultimatum à l’opérateur: il lui laisse une semaine pour retirer le blocage de la publicité. Passé ce délai, les éditeurs menacent d’empêcher les usagers de Free d’accéder à leurs sites. La balle est bel et bien dans le camp de Free.

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Dr. Latin America or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the International Development

(Lessons Learned on Latin America’s technology and innovation investments)

Stanley Kubrick’s classic film feature title (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964), a masterclass of cynicism and irony on the nuclear bomb race, could be used as an analysis for the current reaction towards new markets, in particular, Latin America.

International Business Development has become almost a limerick in current corporate meetings. This sort of strange riddle conjures up the idea of deploying (all or part of) the company’s businesses in new and undiscovered lands. This, by way of international trade, foreign direct investments, or special structure of capital in the newfound lands.

For North American ventures, a European “invasion” could be considered as an option, but under the current issues of recurring economic crisis in the euro zone, the Old World has lingered in a particular ellipsis…. European investments still consider investing in other neighboring countries as well as the Eastern European Nations, of which some could still hold a certain margin of growth and development. The other option -the next option- is Latin America.

To relive the experiences of Columbus in a fabulous odyssey is what many small (and not so small) companies dream of. Under the spell of globalization, new countries came to rise –for different reasons- and now we are living the rebranding of Latin America as an investment haven under the North American and European current weather.

Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina (to name just a few) comprise a very important market that has caught the attention of many companies, more precisely those in the technology and innovation arena.

These newfoundlands have few technological applications to consume, but enormous amounts of information, a capacity for spending and a sustained and growing middle class that considers new technologies as a basic means of personal and professional development. See the recent explosion of smartphones in the region, the unceased growth of internet and hi-speed connections. Latin America is aware, at the same time, of all the latest devices and applications available elsewhere, but not locally (from all things Apple, other Smartphones, Netflix et al, Spotify, Rdio et al.). Local consumers therefore know all of these products, but cannot access them directly. They are simply waiting for them.

That is why it is logical that many North American and European companies have decided to launch international campaigns in Latin America, with uneven results. The primary reason is the way the approaches have been designed, since many of them lack the know-how when attempting to integrate Latin American markets. It is incorrect to invest in Latin America with the eyes and vision of a European context and European rules. Doing business in Latin America implies a concrete prior knowledge of the commercial arena, players, competitors, politics, history, social implication, as well as managerial implications. It might sound funny, but it requires a history lesson. European businessmen know that in order to do business in China, major cultural adaptations and numerous types of concessions must be made.

Recent news in the region might be –prima facie- less encouraging to investors, as some circumstances in the traditional Latin American environment might be seen as a menace to investments and their necessary stability. Nevertheless, not all nations, nor all markets in Latin America, are reacting in the same way. Each nation deserves a particular treatment for investments, for capital structure and for any strategy for future investments.

As a part of many other prior requirements to consider before embarking in the big international leap to any Latin American market, some situations can be considered as crucial. Firstly, it is necessary to previously obtain the most accurate data on the market, analyzing potential competition, with the help of trustworthy sources. Secondly, to understand the reality of the timing, to know how to explain the real scope of the potential business in a cultural language that will be clear for the market needs, including all other cultural innuendos. And finally, to be aware of the differences that each country possesses in the process of developing business. In sum, before beginning the adventure, lower your guard and accept help. It’s all about how to learn to stop worrying and to love the international development.

Some sectors are still a priority for the Latin American markets: Technologies and innovations in general, the markets surrounding smartphones and the revamping of traditional sectors such as the music, book and film industries. It is still early to act in these markets, as the growth, luckily, is still ahead.

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Google Street View objeto de una multa por la autoridad regulatoria francesa

La innovación que ha generado Google Street View también desató la necesidad de reajustar jurídicamente su funcionamiento y límites.  La operatoria de Street View ha generado cuestionamientos en diversos países, incluyendo Australia, Canada, Corea del Sur y Estados Unidos.

En un principio, los reparos se basaban en las imágenes publicadas. En Suiza, un juez ordenó a Google a revisar y borrar manualmente rostros, principalmente en lugares considerados sensibles como escuelas, hospitales o prisiones. Google  sostiene que estos medios se realizan a través de mecanismos automáticos y que una revisión manual atentaría contra su estructura de costos.

En Alemania también se han discutido las repercusiones jurídicas de Street View. Si bien en marzo un juez estableció que era legal tomar fotos callejeras, la creciente molestia de al menos 250,000 ciudadanos reclamando el borroneado de imágenes de edificios ha generado la incomodidad y rechazo del gigante de Internet. Parte del quid de la cuestión se refiere a la utilización de redes de Wi-Fi abiertas, a través de las cuales el sistema de Street View obtiene información.

Esta acusación tomó forma en Francia, donde Google fue multado en 100,000 Euros por violaciones a la privacidad, a través de la apropiación de información sensible via redes abiertas mientras sus móviles fotografiaban la ciudad. Entre los datos apropiados, se encuentran nombres de usuario, fecha y lugar de acceso, actividad en Internet y hasta contraseñas, así como identificadores SSID, direcciones MAC, y puntos de acceso de redes Wi-Fi. En su análisis, la autoridad también tomo en cuenta el funcionamiento de la aplicación Latitude de Google.

En la deliberación realizada por la autoridad de protección de datos personales francesa, CNIL, el organismo advirtió que la empresa había utilizado el programa gSlite (para acceder a las redes Wi-Fi abiertas) con una configuración que le permitía almacenar datos sensibles a través de las redes, así como indicar su localización vía GPS. Sin embargo, una correcta configuración de este software podría limitar el almacenamiento de la información, considerando solamente la imprescindible para el funcionamiento de Street View.

Entre la información no relevante para Street View, la CNIL descubrió contraseñas para sitios de Internet, sitios de encuentros y sitios pornográficos. También se accedió a contraseñas para casillas de e-mail, y direcciones IP, contraseñas e información de usuarios para el acceso a diversos sitios personales.

Debe señalarse que con posterioridad al procedimiento llevado a cabo, y luego de las recomendaciones de la CNIL, un control de los automóviles Google mostraron que estos no estaban almacenando información a través de redes Wi-Fi.

¿Cuál será el próximo litigio de los gigantes de la nueva tecnología?

Para ir más lejos:

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