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Caracas, capital of Venezuela, is the principal entrepreneurship city of the country. With a proximal population of 2,5 million, the startups ecosystem in the city has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years even though the big economic and political problems during the past decades. However, startups and innovation are becoming an important solution for the Venezuelan economy. According to the 2012 GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor), Venezuela is ranked 12th in the Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) with a TEA by opportunity rate of 10.78% which indicate the great entrepreneurial spirit of citizens. In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Caracas Ranked 1st in Venezuela and 495th globally.
Some of the best startups from Caracas
Probably the most important reference of the startups in Caracas is Open English, an online educational platform focus on reinventing the way to learn English. Founded by Andrés Moreno in 2007, this startup has currently business activities in more than 40 countries.
Quiro app, another great reference of what’s happening in Caracas’ startup ecosystem, is the first mobile application in the world that uses video game technology and design to deliver realistic and interactive medical training. Founded in 2014 by Saúl González and Robert Valerio.
PleIQ is a new kind of educational toy using augmented reality to stimulate the multiple intelligences on preschoolers. It was developed by Singular an augmented reality startup, co-founded by Edison Durán in 2013. PlelQ won the 1st place on Start-Up Chile DemoDay 2016.
Disenia is an e-commerce focus on a product designed by Latin American. It was founded in 2012 by Odreman’s brothers. Currently, these startups have business activities in Venezuela, Chile, and Mexico.
Teachlr, e-learning platform founded in 2011 in Caracas by Rubén Benarroch y Jean Moisés Annicchiarico. In 2015 Teachlr become the first Venezuelan startup to win the TIC Américas on Economic Innovation Talent.
What makes Caracas a special place for entrepreneurs
One of the biggest advantages of Caracas has always been its geographic location which allows entrepreneurs to easily connect with the rest of the world.
In recent years have appeared new spaces and programs to encourage entrepreneurship in the city due to the high demand for services to support entrepreneurship as part of the solution of the national economic situation. The public and private organizations are working on new ordinances related to technological and social development.
Currently, Venezuela is going through a process of positive change that allows entrepreneurs to wait for future legislation more flexible to promote and support technological development. Caracas in the last decade has become the center of national enterprise. The Caraqueños are willing and committed to contributing to the development of different solutions the different needs of the country, with innovative and creative professional talent.
A new generation of training is working every day to develop new solutions and new technologies to promote entrepreneurship in other cities. We are motivated to make the venture a bridge for the development of a better country.
Caracas is developing an ecosystem.
Caracas’ weaknesses for startups
It is no secret for anyone the difficult situation in Venezuela on the economic, political and social environment. This has caused a big negative impact on the development of national entrepreneurship ecosystem in the past two decades.
One of the biggest consequences is the poor development of public policies that support entrepreneurship. In the country, it takes 4 to 6 months to complete the legal process of formalizing a new company.
Many social problems are also affecting the development of entrepreneurship in the country. Limited access to new technologies as a result of exchange controls imposed by the government 12 years ago, has been the deterioration of technological installations and backwardness of the few functioning compared to other Latin American countries.
The deteriorating internet connection system is one of the major consequences that have a low investment in new infrastructure in the country. In Venezuela, we develop new startups with the world’s slowest internet.
Another is the negative impact of the political process that the country has experienced over the past decades. Increases poverty, underdevelopment of banking systems and payment processes; laws that hinder development, access to foreign exchange, among others.
Major sources of startup news in Caracas
StartupDigest Caracas: “A personalized insider newsletter for all things startup in your area”
SrTabo: Collaborative blog, focus on technology and startups.
El emprendedor: “Venezuelan newspaper Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which inspires, informs and encourages business development.
Glocalidad: Independent television program with national impact transmitted every Saturday through one of the most important national channels, Globovisión. They share information, interviews and more on technological progress and national development. Also, support entrepreneurship events taking place in the country.
0800 FLOR: Blog and independent radio program focused on the dissemination of entrepreneurship with social impact in Venezuela.
The biggest players in Caracas startup ecosystem
PTS: It is a platform to link Simon Bolivar University, promote, finance, manage and implement various initiatives in college entrepreneurship, encouraging innovation, with impact on the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the country.
Wayra: It is the accelerator Telefonica startups that help the best entrepreneurs to grow and become successful businesses.
Emprered: Social organization focuses on help entrepreneurs to develop diverse business skills. Also has a coworking space and consultations for entrepreneurs.
ImpactHub Caracas: Coworking space, part of a worldwide network. They define themselves as a part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center.
Novos i+e: Pre Incubator program powered by Metropolitan University (UNIMET). Novos is focused on developing entrepreneurial training activities.
Emprende IESA: It is an online program, which proposes a new model of skills training for entrepreneurs, particularly targeted young entrepreneurs.
Some representatives of the ecosystem:
Claudia Valladares: Co-founder and Director of @ImpactHubCCS. She’s well known in the startups ecosystem because was the Co-founder Banca Comunitaria Banesco a banking platform dedicated to microfinance in Venezuela. Claudia is a social entrepreneur with more than 14 years of experience in the financial sector in LatinAmerica.
Claudia was awarded “Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010” in Venezuela by Schwab Foundation of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Fundación Venezuela Sin Límites, as well as “Outstanding Social Entrepreneur in Venezuela” in 2011 by Schwab Foundation and WEF and many other awards.
Gustavo Reyes: System Engineering. Expert in Business development, technology management, innovation management, and corporate entrepreneurship. Well known as Wayra Venezuela Manager, Gustavo is a big representative of the startups ecosystem not only in Caracas but also in Venezuela.
Gerardo Fernández: Graduated as Electrical and Electronics Engineering in one of the most prestigious university in Venezuela, Simón Bolívar University, Gerardo is the CEO PTS Venezuela & USA since 2011. He has also written several important publications on the learning process improvements.
Jose Luis Rangel: Electronics Engineer graduated from Simón Bolívar University with a Master of Business Administration in International Business; InBIA Certified Incubator Manager. Jose Luis works at PTS as Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager. A specialist on entrepreneurship, business incubation, innovation management, educational technology, open innovation, strategic management. The organizer of 5 Startup Weekend editions.
Aramis Rodriguez: Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies and Family Business, Doctor (Ph.D.). Coordinator and Professor of IESA Entrepreneurs Center. Business models specialist. Aramid has had participation in the books of Edward Elgar and Palgrave McMillan.
Clariandys Rivera: Lawyer and PhD. in Business Administration. Member of the National Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Caracas Venezuela and organizer of Startup Weekend Caracas. Member of the incubator Metropolitan University, Novos i + e and Entrepreneurship Center at IESA.
Major startup events in Caracas
Caracas Startup Weekend: It is a 54-hour event brings together designers, innovators, entrepreneurs and experts from all areas to do amazing things in Caracas.
Caracas Tech Meetup: It is a showcase space for developers and entrepreneurs, where can share knowledge and connect with the community to find partners, inspiration, investors and publicize the work of entrepreneurship and development in Caracas.
Concurso Ideas: Annual Competition focuses on support, select and reward the best business plans and sustainable social entrepreneurship in various sectors of the economy. Promoted by Ideas Foundation and Mercantil Bank.
Appcircus: It’s an itinerant competition that rewards the best application of the country and takes it to participate in a global competition of “apps” for mobile in Spain.
Caracas’s startup ecosystem has a long way to go but the city entrepreneurs are prepared to face the challenges with creativity. We are willing to collaborate, work and fight to become a referent on the worldwide startup ecosystem with the help of the national e international entrepreneurship community.
About the Author
Karina Taboelle is a Graphic Designer graduated from the University Jose Maria Vargas with a Master in Management of entrepreneurship in the Caribbean International University (CIU), oriented agile project management, coordination, and team leadership. Official facilitator of StartUp Weekend. Serial entrepreneur, CEO 4 Startups Venezuela, and Sperto Venezuela.