Proximity or scale? Will Latin America’s startup scene challenge India’s?

Here’s a simple question: Can a startup scene in nearshore Americas rival the one in India? Could countries and markets geographically closer to the U.S. provide the kind of energy and entrepreneurship coming from India, particularly in emerging technologies?

A few weeks ago, TBR analysts spoke at length with a PwC partner in India about the startup community and learned how a few key elements have been coming together in recent years to make that country a growing hub for digital transformation innovations. And recently, we noticed a Nearshore America’s piece on the innovation investment in Latin America that made us consider how the two regions compare.

India has some distinct advantages, particularly as digital transformation begins to mature and offshoring, scale and agility become critical to sustained success in delivering IT services enabled by emerging technologies. India also has an education system naturally geared to support a global, English-speaking technology environment, plus increasing support from two different groups: global consultancies looking for creativity and international venture investors and banks looking for new and fast-growing revenue streams.

The questions for Latin America-based startups and their various backers, including local, regional and federal governments trying to incubate and accelerate innovation, likely do not center on competitors two continents away, especially as those startups remain focused mostly on their own markets. But both startup scenes look to the same global markets for investors, clients and, eventually, scale, so IT and emerging tech startups in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Peru need to consider how they compare and what will drive additional — global and sustained — interest and investment.

In early 2020 TBR will speak with consulting and IT services leaders across major vendors, including Accenture, PwC, EY and IBM, about their experiences in and expectations for the Latin America startup and innovation scene, where they see opportunities, and how global firms weigh the potential returns on investment in that region compared to in India.

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