The Peru Venture Capital Conference is just a month away from its second annual edition that is looking to foster ideas and get an up-close look at the next big startups in Peru. As the tech scene in Peru starts to take off, much of the groundwork is laid down with events like the PVCC that gives burgeoning startups and entrepreneurs the chance to attract investors and take their businesses to the next level.
José Deustua, the managing director of ventures at the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, spoke to Peru Reports about the importance of the PVCC in Lima on Sept. 11.
Peru Reports: What is the goal this year to keep building on and improving from the conference’s first year?
José Deusta: “The goal of the event is to grow attendees by 20 percent from last year to reach more than 800 attendees. This year we will have more than 20 speakers, compared to 12 last year. Another difference from the past year is that this year we will have a speed dating/match game between investors and startup businesses.”
PR: Who are some of the highlighted Peruvian startups participating in the event?
JD: “We’re going to have nine startups pitching during the event, although we don’t yet know which ones they will be. We have received more than 60 applications and, in the next few weeks, we will choose nine to present themselves at the event. On top of that we will have a panel with successful Peruvian startups like Comunal Coworking and BlazingDB.
We will also have Peruvian seed capital funders AV Perú, Peruvian companies working with startups (like VisaNeet), three Peruvians venture capital firms in the process of being created, as well as a strategy presentation from the government to promote investment in startups.”
PR: Relative to other countries in Latin America, what is it that makes Peru so interesting in the eyes of investors looking for the next big startup?
JB: “It’s a mix of factors like the rapidly growing ecosystem, a country that is well connected with the other countries in Latin America and open to the world, as well as a market rich in culture. Lima is a city with an excellent quality of life and it is the fifth biggest city in Latin America.
Peru is a country overcoming challenges when it comes to education, access to financial markets, access to health services and with big opportunities in the markets of agriculture, mining, tourism, and with natural resources. Finally, the cost of labor is very competitive as well.”
PR: What hurdles does the community need to overcome in order to progress as a major startup hub?
JB: Foster the adoption of technology, everywhere. Perú is a low tech country which creates a great opportunity to leapfrog by adopting new technologies in every possible market. In this regard, we need to lose the fear to innovate and try new things. Startups have a key role in this process.