Following Fred Wilson and other investors posts predicting the short-term future, I’ll try myself at this exercise to start the year. This short list about tech and VC comes more out of curiosity of how I will fare when the year ends than a particularly strong forecasting ability, really. I’ve always been better at reading people than reading tea leaves. But, I’m used to being wrong often so not a big downside for my submitting my own forecast. Here are my two-penny worth contribution to 2018 predictions for Latin America.
Let’s start with industry trends
After a 2017 full of hype, Fintech in Latin America will have a year of consolidation. As the best local tech companies scale fast, some large and promising startups will disappoint. Region’s financial institutions will move from playing nice with startups to competing for their future.
On demand platforms — ride-hailing, food & grocery delivery — across the region will clinch the largest VC rounds and M&A deals, all lifted by the late stage bubble worldwide.
Teams building solutions for the future of commerce will create the most innovative tech and business models in the region. Ecommerce, marketplaces and retail tech will surpass fintech in number of early stage rounds.
While crypto craze continues across the world throughout the year, sordid stories about Bitcoin application for money laundering and criminal organizations will give pause to regulators and financial institutions. I anticipate regulatory activity around crypto currencies in 2018.
What I expect for the region
As American tech companies and Silicon Valley VCs continue to underinvest in the region, China will show up. It will start with Chinese tech giants expanding strategically in Latin America in 2018. Investors will follow.
Mexico will have an interesting year, hopefully not too interesting, with presidential election, NAFTA re-negotiations and Trump administration surprises. Despite the uncertain environment, 2018 will be a record year for VC backed exits.
Argentina’s early stage ecosystem will take off fast as talent finally gets the support it deserves. A new generation of future Unicornios will be started in 2018.
Brazil will continue to lead the region in venture capital deployed despite a contrasting environment of political instability and improving economic environment.
Colombian and Peruvian corporates will take the lead in developing their local ecosystems. A new crop of startups will come of this wave. More investing activity from new VC firms and family offices in Chile will provide local teams more support to build regional stars.
Finally, to close with an easy one, I predict a Latin American team will bring back home the World Cup from Russia. 🙂
I wish you all a happy year, full of learnings and love.