Currently a set of Colombian entrepreneurs are revolutionizing business and have proposed themselves the ambitious mission to strengthen the Colombian digital economy, increasing their sales considerably and position them currently in 11 countries.
Javier Cardona is a Colombian who lived abroad for a time in Dubai and given the difficulties of the Arabic language, avoided talking to the doctors, by which he preferred to use to Google to get medical indications. After having to navigate different pages he could conclude that the information on the web lacked a lot of quality and had an idea that will not only change this but that would change his life. He decided to return to Colombia to create an application that responds to medical consultations and offers diagnosis provided by medical specialists and backed up by a broad database, for all of this the Ministry of TIC baptized them as part of Team Startup, where the 15 most important technological developments of the Colombian nation are located.
The application, called 1doc3, has offered in two years more than 23 million medical consultations, registering 450,000 active users per month. Other members of the Team Startup are: : Fluvip, Hogaru, Ascendo, Greencode, “Mensajeros Urbanos”, Platzi, “Las Partes”, PinBus, Sarta, Transmisitp, Rappi, Tappsi Vendty, and Undertrail.
The secret formula
How can these young entrepreneurs transform a good business idea into an international operation with millions of users in a two-year period? The secret may be found in the momentum that gave it the well-known “accelerators”, organizations focused on developing digital entrepreneurship. Some of these are from a private nature as HugBog and Wayra, the latter is a special section of Telefónica which invests in innovative and sustainable business ideas. There are also other public accelerators as is Apps.co, which has as mission the promotion of the emerging digital economy in Colombia.
Each of the companies belonging to the Team Startup has gone through any of these accelerators, receiving legal advice, technical assistance, training and mentoring contacts, which are vital at the time of starting a business idea.
The startup with best numbers is Undertrail, who is the first online travel agency specializing in low-cost airlines. During its first year (2014) managed to reach $175,000; in the second raised $1.6 million and the past year sales by $15 million. Recorded 105,000 clients served and are competing with the Latin American leader of the travel agencies: Despegar.com.
Felipe Pacheco and Camilo Jiménez developed an experimental blog focused in the business of automotive parts to be able to achieve graduation at the University of Los Andes. This which simply was an academic activity, caught the public’s attention and ended up being a business idea that has already managed to overcome the first million dollars in sales, we are talking about Laspartes.com. Their idea is simple, sell auto parts and deliver them to those who do not feel fondness for the mechanical work and do not want to spend their time looking for a replacement.
In accordance with Carlos Castañeda’s opinion, who is now the Wayra’s director in Colombia, in business only those who possess the disciplines of an entrepreneur survive, stressing the seriousness, the rigor, knowledge of the legal risks and the goal of generating income as the only way to ensure the sustainability of a business. For this it is necessary to build companies with sustainable business models, the precise and safe process of monetization and reliable operations.
In addition, it is necessary to have an optimal technological proposal that grants competitiveness in the business. In the case of Fluvip, these are based on its platform for monitoring digital marketing campaigns, with a very own and advanced development, while 1doc3 builds upon their cognitive intelligence platform using the IBM Watson service. Similarly, we need global ambition. Exemplifying again Fluvip, this startup dared to acquire a brazilian company, thus breaking the paradigms of a startup’s growth. Vendty, who offers to retailer a kind of debit card terminal management service, has clients in Peru and in the United States, while Tappsi managed to expand operations to Ecuador and Peru.
It is inevitable that the altruistic spirit found in most of the entrepreneurs, letting the world see that the true value is in the service that they provide, and not in the business itself. It may seem like a hypocritical phrase, but it is not.
In the short history of the Colombian technology entrepreneurship has already started to be seen an entrepreneur profile. This profile identifies them as professionals aged between 30 and 40 years, who have experience of large corporations, and used it to visualize new business ideas. Many are graduates from private universities, and most have had experiences abroad, where they managed to appreciate trends of the international entrepreneurship. There are also the so-called “serial entrepreneurs”, these are those who achieve success in their business, to then sell it and undertake in another field.