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The first Mexican unicorn: what does it mean for the startup ecosystem?

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FinTech companies have modernized banks and spawned many new inclusive fintech products, says Andrea Sotomayor.

Expansion) – Throughout my experience in the public relations sector within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico, I have had the opportunity to see how, year after year, startups are becoming more solid, with clearer objectives, scalable business models , and most importantly, disruptive ideas that offer solutions to current problems.

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As we all know, Latin America today is one of the most important entrepreneurship ecosystems with the greatest future at an international level; and Mexico has become the most attractive market for both startups and investors.

In my opinion, if there is something positive that the pandemic brought about, it is that we have increasingly realized that technology accelerates disruption in companies and is a catalyst that drives innovation, which has been reflected in many companies they are investing in technology to join the digital transformation and offer better services; as well as the creation of new startups and undertakings that offer solutions to new problems of daily life that the coronavirus has left us.

A few weeks ago a piece of news emerged that personally, and I am sure that thousands more people, filled us with joy and pride. Kavak, the Mexican startup specialized in the purchase and sale of pre-owned cars, announced that it reached a valuation of more than 1,150 million dollars, with which they managed to reach the status of unicorn, becoming the first Mexican company to reach this category.

The most admirable thing about this news is that they achieved this title in less than four years. Now, my question is, what does this represent for the industry in our country? Well, I consider that it is definitely a watershed for the ecosystem in Mexico, from now on we will be hearing more news similar to this; where more and more large venture capital funds such as Softbank, Tencent, Sequoia, among others, will have Latin America in their sights, when it already was. Mexico more than ever remains firm in becoming a key country in the sector.

I also believe that this news is a source of inspiration for the new generation of entrepreneurs in the country. Seeing these types of achievements makes us feel that the story that we had heard so much in the past about Silicon Valley, is not far from what is happening today in LATAM.

We are being part of an evolution where there is increasing growth in different industry verticals, such as the FinTech sector, which is revolutionizing what we knew as the traditional financial sector.

FinTech companies have modernized banks and sparked many new inclusive fintech products. In fact, recently Finnovista, which is a potentiator in the financial and insurance industry, reported that the Mexican technology scene had a growth of 52% in this industry, currently valued at 151 million dollars.

Mexico competes with Brazil as the regional leader in financial technology in terms of numbers of FinTech startups, and currently Mexico already has 441 companies of this type, which represented an increase of 14% compared to last year.

Knowing these figures, knowing this news, encourages us to continue supporting the ecosystem, but it also makes me question, what’s next? What can we do to continue this important growth for the country? I think we need more support from all those involved within the sector; I believe that both investors, accelerators, incubators and entrepreneurs need to support each other; more alliances between startups, and, in my case, more support from public relations agencies, who have an essential role in publicizing these companies that have an incredible value proposition made by Mexicans, who are currently representing us international level and many of us don’t know it.

For example, in Y Combinator’s summer 2020 batch, they selected five Mexican startups (Isbit, Flat, Mozper, Parrot Software and Orchata) of which many have probably heard of, (more of some than others), but still, it is news that we should be hearing in all the media.

These achievements serve and will continue to be an inspiration for all, especially in a stage like the one we are living today, where these news encourage us to continue undertaking and so that the world does not remove its finger from the line of Mexico.

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