Argentina Startup Overview

After a lovely and eventful visit to Chile it’s time for Startup Nomad to head on to Argentina. Argentina may not receive as much press as Chile or Colombia for its startup scene, but it’s actually one of the most developed and least dependent on foreign talent and money. It’s also the home of the biggest exit I’ve heard of from South America, the golden child of Latin American VC, Mercado Libre.

Argentina’s political instability and currency fluctuation problems mean some added headaches for Argentinian entrepreneurs and investors in Argentinian startups. According to many of the people I spoke with though, that’s part of the reason that Argentina’s startup scene is more mature and more self-sufficient than some in other countries: it simply has to be and the people are used to needing to be adaptable to the constant change.

If you take a look at the graphs below (from the GEM data visualization tool) you’ll see that Argentina has a lot going on in the realm of entrepreneurship making even those in the United States look like a bunch of non-entrepreneurs in comparison.

Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA)
Percentage of 18-64 population who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business.
New Business Ownership Rate
Percentage of 18-64 population who are currently a owner-manager of a new business, i.e., owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than three months, but not more than 42 months.

Following with the trend I saw of a more self-sufficient entrepreneurial ecosystem built by and around Argentinians instead of foreigners, Argentina is the first stop along my Startup Nomad journey where I did not speak to any foreigners during my interviews. Over the next few weeks we’ll chat with some of the players in Buenos Aires’ startup scene and hear their take on what makes the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Argentina different from other places.

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