Over 2,000 startups are linking with large Latin American companies

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

By Telefónica

Santiago, August 13, 2018 More than 2 thousand startups are linking up with large companies in Latin America, according to the first Corporate Venturing report by Prodem, a renowned center for innovation and entrepreneurship in Latin America, supported by Wayra , the open innovation area of Telefónica. The pioneering research of the reality of the region in these matters, called "Large Companies + Startups = New Innovation Model?" , showed that Brazil leads the ranking of relationships between corporations and startups, with 64 initiatives, followed by Chile, with 28, Mexico with 24 and Argentina with 23 companies.

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"The work carried out by Prodem and that we are supporting from Wayra is fundamental, because it revealed that in the region there are at least 155 large companies doing Corporate Venturing, understood as an innovation hybrid model that combines the internal efforts of companies to innovate with tools to work with third parties in open innovation, in this case startups, which can be investment, incubation, acceleration or collaboration, among others, "says Claudio Barahona, Country Manager Chile de Wayra.


According to the report, the large companies that are interacting with emerging companies, belong mainly to the E-Commerce and Technology industries, by 18.4%; Insurance and the Financial Sector, by 16.2% and Telecommunications companies, by 11.8%, but also from more traditional productive sectors are making progress in the matter. The full report can be downloaded at

"The Latin American ecosystem is still very young, but it has grown rapidly in recent years, and we detect that this phenomenon is not only linked to the big international technology firms, but that there are also large local companies that are linking up with digital companies in the early stages. , because they often find, in this type of alliances, faster and more efficient ways to innovate, especially in those aspects that large corporations are less agile, "says Hugo Kantis, Director of Prodem and author of the study.


183 initiatives were identified among the tools and activities of Corporate Venturing that are being used by corporations in Latin America, where the acceleration and incubation of startups stand out, by 49.6%; hackathons and collaboration agreements between entrepreneurs and corporations, both with 38.1%; Investment through corporate risk funds by 30.9% and disposal of coworking spaces with 24.5%. "There are companies that use various linking tools, as there are others that have only one.It is important to note that large companies and startups are also realizing that this is not just a matter of image or marketing, because of the total number of initiatives , only 10% do so for corporate social responsibility and only 4%, for a brand positioning issue ", Kantis assures.

Telefónica has been one of the pioneer companies in Corporate Venturing in the world and through Wayra, today has an active portfolio of 429 startups. "Our strategy aims to link with innovative startups that have digital solutions that can generate internal efficiencies for the company or become new Telefónica products that can positively impact our customers and improve the daily life of people. high potential opportunity, we accompany the business alliance with an investment in the startup, "says Country Manager of Wayra. "The objective is for the parties involved to see that it is a good business to work together: Telefónica can have new digital services and entrepreneurs can have as a partner one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world," says Barahona.

According to Hugo Kantis, this research is part of a series of efforts being made to raise information about Corporate Venturing in Latin America, "this is a first step that we want to complement with information from more countries and more initiatives of other corporations, given that this It is a very dynamic phenomenon that changes every year, "he says. In the same way, it ensures that there is no single recipe for Corporate Venturing, but the comparison between countries must be made under a perspective that considers certain factors. "We must take into account the degree of maturity of the ecosystem, it is not the same to evaluate a country that has optimal economic conditions, and pro-entrepreneurship and innovation policies, with another that is in a more incipient phase of development. have a greater impact, corporations must establish clear objectives and concrete commitments, it is not a question of launching a program of this kind just to keep up with the industry trends. entrepreneurs, "he says.

The research carried out by Prodem with the support of Wayra, aims to generate information that can serve as a basis to promote corporate venturing in Latin America. "When more corporations join forces to innovate internally, to work together with startups in open innovation and invest in them, they are boosting not only an ecosystem, they are generating new value for their clients and with it, of course, new business opportunities. Both for the large company and for entrepreneurs, today we are just over 150 companies in Latin America and hopefully in a future study, that number will be multiplied by two or more, "says Barahona.

All the information about the report and its main conclusions is available on the website

Some keys to the success of Corporate Venturing programs

  1. For the design of the Program: Define clear objectives in the work with startups and take into account the degree of maturity of the ecosystem.
  2. Know how to escalate the operation: The levels of commitment of the companies can be gradual but they must also be increasing from the starting situation.
  3. Align the work with startups and the organizational strategy, establishing metrics on the management to be able to evolve the program.
  4. Act with operational autonomy: An organization that works with startups requires agility, flexibility and entrepreneurial style, something that, by definition, the corporation usually lacks.
  5. Create link mechanisms between the company and the program: It is key to facilitate the leveraging of organizational resources. This allows developing a proposal of beneficial value for entrepreneurs.

Act proactively within the ecosystem to attract powerful startups and prepare entrepreneurs to work with a large company.