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BUILDING An entrepreneurship Ecosystem in BOGOTA'S TECH Sector 200 Companies in 20 Years a report from:


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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY From April to October 2013, Endeavor Insight and Endeavor Colombia interviewed more than 200 tech entrepreneurs in Bogotá to create a social network map of the city’s tech ecosystem. The study found that more than 230 tech companies connect to Bogotá’s tech network through five different types of connections: inspiration, mentorship, former employment, investment, and serial entrepreneurship. The network’s more than 300 connections indicate that the ecosystem is robust and growing, with more than 150 new companies founded in the last five years and aggregate employment in the tech sector of approximately 6,000 workers.

PHOTO: Michael Goodwin

The most influential companies in the ecosystem have 20 or more connections to other in-network companies, and have contributed disproportionately to the growth of the ecosystem and subsequent generations of entrepreneurship. In particular, these influential companies demonstrate the power of the Multiplier Effect, whereby successful entrepreneurs can multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in younger entrepreneurs. The study finds that despite rapid growth over the past five years (2009-2013), the stakeholder in Bogotá’s tech ecosystem must help more companies to scale, increase intra-network angel investment, and focus on cultivating a large exit, or “big win,” in order to continue the ecosystem’s current growth trajectory.

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This report was created by Michael Goodwin, Senior Associate at Endeavor Insight, in January 2014, with research assistance from Sofia Linares and Molly McGowan, who worked for Endeavor Colombia during the study. Rhett Morris, Director of Endeavor Insight, provided valuable input during the analysis of findings. Special thanks to Adriana Suarez, Managing Director of Endeavor Colombia, and to the Endeavor Colombia team for supporting outreach and data collection throughout the study. For more information regarding this report, please contact Michael Goodwin at

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Introduction One entrepreneur’s success is a personal triumph, but when that entrepreneur gives back to the ecosystem, he or she can multiply that success into far reaching impact. With each new success, the human and financial capital available to new enterprises compounds and creates an environment in which high-growth firms can flourish. An entrepreneurship ecosystem is nothing more than this steady accumulation of human and financial capital, within a given city, all oriented towards disruptive innovation and the growth of businesses around it. Successful entrepreneurship ecosystems consist of the entrepreneurs, customers, companies, governments and other organizations that interact to influence the development of new companies. The ecosystem and the actors within it provide high-potential entrepreneurs with access to the talent, finance, and markets they need to grow businesses, produce jobs and create value for their communities. Although many actors play a role in its development, the growth cycle of successful ecosystems depends on one group of people: successful, local entrepreneurs who build scalable companies and continue to reinvest their intellectual, financial, and social capital in the next generation of local entrepreneurs and companies.1 While Silicon Valley’s present success may look natural, its global preeminence is the result of a 50-year journey, with many generations of entrepreneurs contributing to the accumulation of the skills and resources needed to grow companies there. Younger ecosystems, while they have their own unique competitive advantages and barriers, likewise must not only incubate successful companies and ambitious entrepreneurs, but must also keep them engaged in the local entrepreneurship scene after they’ve become successful. Colombia is well situated to reap the dividends of a decade of peace and growth, and to capitalize on its strategic location as a gateway to Latin America. Entrepreneurs, recognizing this, are starting tech companies in Bogotá at a rapid pace. Bogotá’s ability to cultivate and engage this entrepreneurial talent will determine the extent to which the city becomes a regional tech hub.


These entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly connected to one another and, over time, are giving rise to younger entrepreneurs and companies and initiating the accumulation of capital, both financial and human, that make other ecosystems around the world—from Tel Aviv to Silicon Valley—so vibrant. This study records, measures, and visualizes these connections in order to highlight not only the density of relationships and the explosion of company formation, particularly from 2007-2013, but also to identify the entrepreneurs who are giving back to the ecosystem. It is these entrepreneurs who help to form and accumulate the entrepreneurship capital needed to propel an ecosystem to sustainability and success.

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Spotlight: Alex Torrenegra In 2000, Bogotá’s nascent tech ecosystem had fewer than 25 companies, with very few connections among them. At the end of that year, Alex Torrengra and Tania Zapata founded Torrenegra Labs, a company designed to build and incubate innovative ventures. Alex and Tania have gone on seed, create, and grow a robust network of some of Bogotá’s best known tech companies, many of which will underpin the future growth of the city’s ecosystem. Torrenegra Labs connects directly to 22 other Bogotá tech companies. Alex and Tania have given back to the ecosystem, and their investment in time, money, and expertise has yielded dividends for Bogotá’s tech sector. Of these connections, it takes only three stories to demonstrate the power of the Multiplier Effect. Alex and Tania have invested in, mentored, and gone on to found some of Bogotá’s most important young tech companies, disrupting markets as diverse as hostel booking and voiceovers. They went on to found Bunny inc., whose brands Voice123 and VoiceBunny are the industry standard for voiceovers, in 2003. Their subsequent investment in WeHostels, a company that has attracted $1.2 million in international investment, in 2011 helped to create a promising company with regional reach and ambitions. By mentoring the founders of Tappsi, Bogotá’s most widely used taxi app with more than 200,000 downloads, Alex and Tania have continued to recycle their human and financial capital into a new generation of high-impact entrepreneurs. The founders and former employees of Bunny Inc., WeHostels, and Tappsi have not only achieved business success, but also have continued to contribute to the ecosystem. Lucho Molina and Juan Salcedo, former employees at Bunny Inc., have inspired and mentored entrepreneurs who went on to founder companies like and Letmego. WeHostels’ Diego Saez-Gil, Chris Piazza, and Lucas Lain have served as important mentors for founders from, one of whom also worked at Bunny Inc., and Agentpanda. From Tappsi, Juan Salcedo and Andres Gutierrez have mentored the founders of Tienetienda. com and founded These are just a handful of the companies that this new group of entrepreneurs connects to. From the seed planted by Torrenegra Labs has sprung forth a dense set of connections in just one

Growth Cycle of a Successful Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

bunny inc.

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THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT The social network map at right visualizes the Bogotá tech ecosystem as a function of its companies and the connections among them. This map displays four core elements: companies, each company’s influence, connections among companies, and time. These elements come together to highlight how the number of companies, their influence, and the ecosystem have grown over time. Each blue circle represents a single company and its founders, with the size of that circle representing the number of outbound connections to other companies in the network. Connections can exist between two founders (mentorship, inspiration), a founder and a company (investment), or can represent a founder moving from one company to the next (former employee, founder). Five different colored arrows connect the blue circles and represent these connections. Each arrow represents a connection type—orange for mentorship, pink for inspiration, green for investment, blue for former employee, purple for founder—and the direction of the connection. As companies and their founders become more connected, more arrows flow outwards and the circle grows. These circles and arrows sit on a series of grey rings, with each representing the time period in which the company was founded. For example, the blue circles on the first ring represent all companies founded from 1992-1999. Likewise, we display only those connections that have occurred in that or previous time periods. If a company was founded in 1995 but its founder doesn’t begin to mentor another founder until 2001, an orange arrow and resulting increase in the circle’s size won’t occur until the second phase of the map, 2000-2002. Legend: Size of circle reflects the influence of the entrepreneurs at each company based on their number of outgoing connections.


Source: Endeavor Insight analysis.

This map is based on survey data and is representative of connections among entrepreneurs, but may not be comprehensive.

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Incremental Growth 1992-2013 1992–1999: The ecosystem is nascent, with only 17 companies in total and just two connections among them.

1992-2002: The number of companies more than doubles to 37, but the number of connections among them, at just 11, remains sparse.

1992-2006: The ecosystem grew significantly with 47 new companies founded in this period, some with multiple outbound connections.

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Key Findings The Key findings of this report are as follows:

PHOTO on left: FLICKR USER Santiago Restrepo Calle  •  PHOTO on right: FLICKR USER Edgar Zuniga Jr.

• Enthusiasm for tech entrepreneurship is at an all time high in Bogotá. In the last five years (2007-2013), the ecosystem has added 150 new companies, a 200% increase over the preceding 15 year period. These new companies have also created over 2,000 jobs, with nearly 6,000 having been created since the ecosystem’s inception in 1992. By 2013, entrepreneurs in the ecosystem had built a dense network of 319 connections—mentorship, inspiration, investment, former employees, and serial entrepreneurship—demonstrating that entrepreneurs are multiplying their impact and contributing to the continued growth of the ecosystem. • There are more than 90 serial tech entrepreneurs in Bogotá. Despite the enthusiasm for creating new startups, Bogotá’s entrepreneurs must work to scale-up these companies to achieve a demonstrable impact on Bogotá’s—and Colombia’s—economy. Research carried out by Endeavor Insight based on the World Bank’s Enterprise Survey of 925 Colombian companies indicates that scaleup companies represented only 8% of Colombian firms in 2010, but create 45% of the net new jobs in the country.2, 3 Serial entrepreneurs must seek to scale, and with adequate resources, they can create jobs and revenues for the wider economy. • The lack of angel investment within the ecosystem appears to be a major barrier to scaling. Only 16 entrepreneurs made angel investments in other Bogotá tech companies included in the study. A 2012 report by the OECD suggests that angel investors, who invest anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000, are a vital source of funding for startups.4 Not only are angels oftentimes the only source of funding for early-stage companies, but experienced investors add value beyond their capital. Many of these investors are successful entrepreneurs themselves, and provide advice and mentorship to entrepreneurs as they grow their companies. These angel investors put the “intelligent” in intelligent capital, and its low levels in Bogotá limit the growth potential of many early stage companies. • Bogotá lacks big wins in the tech sector. There has yet to be a tech exit of over $100 million in Bogotá, which would provide liquidity to founders and early employees, enabling them not only to become angel investors, but also to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. A well-timed angel investment can help a company to scale, which can in turn drive the company towards an exit, and initiate a cycle of a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem.

PHOTO: FLICKR USER alejandro bustamante campillo

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Methodology The research team from Endeavor Insight and Endeavor Colombia collected the data used in this report between April and October 2013. For the purposes of this study, we define tech companies as companies that are either actively developing a new technology or those that are majority web-enabled. All companies included in this study were founded in Bogotá and had received investment and/or had revenues at the time of data collection. The research team used Endeavor Colombia’s internal database, along with the databases of entrepreneurship support organizations, to identify the sample. These organizations include but are not limited to Wayra,, Emprende País, iNNpulsa, the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, Bogotá Audiovisual Market, Socialatom Ventures, and Hubbog. In addition, the research team included attendees of the Colombia Startup Investor Summit held in July of 2013. As the surveying progressed, we added additional companies that connected to interviewees. In total, we identified 309 entrepreneurs representing 254 companies. We interviewed 209 entrepreneurs representing 236 companies and asked them five core questions: who inspired you to become an entrepreneur, where were you employed before becoming an entrepreneur, who invested in your company, who was your mentor during the growth and development of your company, and have you founded other Bogotá tech companies. Where an entrepreneur has founded multiple companies, his or her most prominent company based on date of founding and number of employees represents him or her on the map. We used the responses to create an edge list and a corresponding set of five outbound connection types. Where there are multiple connection types between two companies, only certain connections appear. Where an entrepreneur founds multiple companies, only the purple “founder” arrow and blue “former employee” arrows can appear. If an entrepreneur invests in another company, there can be no orange “mentorship” arrow. Otherwise, multiple arrows can connect two companies. The size of a company on this map is a function of the number of first, second, third, etc. degree connections the company and its entrepreneurs have to others in the network. Companies are located on a ring according to the year they were founded, and connections accrue to a company based on the time period in which they occurred.

Endnotes 1. Endeavor Insight; City Hubs for Entrepreneurship Series: Miami, Florida; p.8 2. For the purposes of this report, a scaleup company is defined as a firm that is more than three years old with an average annual employment growth rate greater than or equal to 20% during the previous three years. 3. Endeavor Insight. “8-45 Report: Why Scaleup Companies are Critical for Job Creation in Colombia.” October 2013. 4. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “Financing High-Growth Firms: The Role of Angel Investors.” December 2011.

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About Us Endeavor Colombia Endeavor Colombia, Endeavor’s local affiliate, is based in Bogotá and was founded in 2006 to lead the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement in Colombia. The 38 entrepreneurs and 22 firms that it supports generate .13% of Colombia’s GDP, and have created 7,500 direct jobs nationwide. These firms not only grow the economy and create jobs, but their entrepreneurs also multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in the next generation of Colombian entrepreneurs.

Endeavor Insight Endeavor Insight, Endeavor’s research arm, studies high-impact entrepreneurs and their contribution to job creation and economic growth. Along with the Kauffman Foundation and the World Bank, Endeavor Insight is a founding member of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN). Its research educates policy makers and practitioners and helps them to accelerate entrepreneurs’ success and the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world.

Omidyar Network


Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $669 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, property rights, government transparency, consumer Internet and mobile. To learn more, visit

Endeavor Insight February 2014 Copyright Š Endeavor Global /endeavorglobal @endeavor_global /endeavorglobal

Building An Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Bogota's Tech Sector  

Examining Over 200 Companies and Their Connections Over 20 Years

Building An Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Bogota's Tech Sector  

Examining Over 200 Companies and Their Connections Over 20 Years