Unicorns, Instagram, and Juan Valdez
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32 unicorns: where are they from and what do they do?
Top Latin American Instagram influencers
Juan Valdez is known as Colombia’s Starbucks
Make sure you check out the comment of the week at the bottom!
One of our first charts was about Latin America's unicorns (startups worth $1B+). In November of last year, we reported 21 of them. Today, about ten months later, there are 32. By far the most significant increase happened in Mexico, where unicorns doubled to a total of eight.
Even though the region’s most notable Fintech, Nubank, is no longer a unicorn because it's now a publicly-traded company, the Fintech sector’s unicorns also doubled since that time — from 7 to 14.
With a total of $5.5B invested in the first half of this year, Latin American startup funding has slowed down compared to 2021. But let's put things into perspective: according to Crunchbase numbers, in just the first half of 2022, there was more funding in Latin America than in all of 2019 (pre-pandemic) and almost 3x the total amount of 2018.
When there are economic downturns, it's essential to step back and consider the broader trend that's taking place. In this case, Latin America remains one of the hottest markets for startups, and investors will continue to bet on promising founders solving big problems.
Enter Aron Schwarzkopf, CEO and Co-Founder of Kushki. Kushki made history for Ecuador when it became a unicorn in June, raising a total of $194M since its inception in 2017. That amount is unprecedented in the country; we could find no records of an Ecuadorian startup receiving more than $5M in total funding ever. Kushki enables global businesses to accept digital payments in countries where the technology is not quite there yet (similar to Uruguay's dLocal).
Founders like Aron are breaking barriers and setting the example to embrace technology and create the next generation of wealth for LatAm. Which country will be next to see its very first unicorn?
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Social Media 🤳
Out of the top 15 Instagrammers from Latin America, 11 are either musical artists or football players. Only one comes from Argentina, but he's by a wide margin the most followed, and that's none other than Lionel Messi. He also happens to be the 4th most-followed influencer on the planet. Being Insta-famous might sound like something one of the greatest players of all time shouldn't waste time with, but according to Forbes, Messi made about $23.3M of dough from Instagram alone in 2019.
Mexico is strangely absent from our chart. The most followed Mexican influencer is TikTok dancer turned singer Kim Loaiza with 36M followers. That's pretty far from even the 15th influencer on the ranking. Why is no one from the 2nd largest country in Latin America on this list?
Compared to Mexico's absence, Colombia's impressive presence on the chart is worth noting, with five celebrities in the top 15. The country has been a powerhouse of musical talent for decades, and Shakira being their #1 Insta-star is not entirely surprising.
We made this chart thanks to one of Bright Data's datasets. Their suite of solutions can help you find just the right data from the Internet. Go here to learn more about how to use their product in your industry.
Coffee Industry ☕️
Not even the most challenging roads could stop Juan Valdez from its way to global recognition and success. In 1927 the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (NFCGC) was established to promote the production and exportation of Colombian coffee. Timing was unfortunate, to say the least: two years later, the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange sent commodity prices, including coffee, across the globe on a downward spiral. In the following decades, the federation faced an uphill battle, working tenaciously to provide technical support and professional guidance to its members.
By 1957, despite years of arduous work and noteworthy progress, Colombian coffee wasn't considered a premium product. So the federation conjured up the most potent tool to bring a product to the masses: a compelling story. The following year, sporting sandals and a faithful donkey, Juan Valdez's character was born. He represented the small farmers of Colombia's mountains, ready to prove to the world that their country's coffee was the best there was. The Juan Valdez brand is now known the world over and is a textbook example of a triumphant marketing campaign.
64 years after Juan was created, the NFCGC represents over 540K producers across the nation, and through the company Prolafecol S.A has carried the brand to new heights. In 2000, driven by the coffee shop culture massively spread by global franchises such as Starbucks, Juan Valdez bet on its first store to the public in El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. The company's expansion since then has been remarkable. Because of Juan Valdez, Colombia is one of those few markets (like Italy) where Starbucks is not at the top. At the end of last year, there were 33 Starbucks and 334 Juan Valdez shops.
Counting its international presence, there are 478 coffee shops and more than 90K distribution points (supermarkets, restaurants, airlines, and hotels) in 28 countries, including the US, Kuwait, and Malaysia. In 2021, Procafecol rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic by breaking all-time high revenues and EBITDA. This year, Juan and his burro are not slowing down: International sales have grown 60.4% compared to the first half of 2021, and the company announced its entry into Spain.
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Comment of the week, in response to our chart about the leading causes of death in Latin America: