Contxto – Bolivia—scourge of foreign athletes due to its high altitude—is also among the 10 most biodiverse countries in the world. Startups in Bolivia are no exception.
Although it does not get the attention that other countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, or Colombia hoard, the Bolivian startup ecosystem is fascinating for two reasons.
Firstly, its startups drive home the need for localised solutions. Bolivian companies solving Bolivian (and Latin American) solutions.
And, secondly, this landlocked and rather sparsely populated country—when compared to its giant neighbors—, has a knack for doing expansion and scaling the Bolivian way.
Startups in Bolivia
There are nine distinct categories in this Market Map. They span the broad range of classic startup verticals, from e-commerce to healthtech.
Yet, these startups always have a local flavor to them. For instance, Blink—a fintech—looked to solve Bolivians’ cash dependency not by making them take up newfangled crypto, but rather giving the people what they wanted where they wanted it. Thus, it turned taxis into ATMs.
Or take the mobility startup View Factor. It sees your very Latin American problem of traffic congestion and raises you a very techy solution: An intelligent, automated system for traffic lights operation.
One must also look carefully at how Bolivian startups expand. Unfortunately, Bolivia has some of the lowest GDPs per capita in the region, a small local market, and the country is landlocked to boot!
Therefore, we’re always very keen to see how these companies scale across the country and the region.
Take Bolivian star performer Yaigo, a delivery and logistics company that has been strategically scaling across the country and the region via the unattended mid-tier cities and countries that surround its native country.
CityHeroes is also an interesting case. It is a Bolivian startup disguised as a Chilean company. Why? Because it did its scaling early on and joined the Start.Up Chile accelerator! Thus its webpage’s “.cl” suffix.
For some startups in Bolivia, it’s not “Build it and they will come”; its “Go to them and build it there!”