Building and scaling a company is HARD. The mechanics of just getting set up should not be.
Imagine this: you have a great idea you have been vetting for months, you finally convince your dream co-founder to take the plunge with you, she starts to recruit two engineers she previously worked with, an investor you’ve known for a while decides to write you a seed check on the spot. Ready to go right? If you’re based in Latin America the answer is a momentum killing: please wait a couple months while I get my company structure set up! You can’t accept investor money, you can’t pay employees.
The logistics of starting a company in the U.S. are a mostly solved problem: Stripe Atlas for company formation, Mercury for your business banking, Ramp or Brex for corporate cards, Carta for cap table management, Gusto for HR, and so on. The answer to “ready to go?” is “yes! Give me a few hours”.
Despite Latin America receiving more than $15B of venture capital funding in 2021 (record year!), the infrastructure to just get started leaves a lot to be desired. In Brazil for instance, to form a venture backable company that can accept investment from both US and Brazilian investors requires lawyers familiar with three countries (Brazil, Cayman, US) – as you can imagine, these legal teams are in high demand and are very costly – and business bank accounts in both Brazil & the United States. A fast moving process can take months and cost tens of thousands.
Not only is the company formation hurdle a challenge for experienced entrepreneurs (all of that time and energy would be better spent actually building and advancing toward your vision), it adds significant friction for entrepreneurs in the experimentation phase. In 2020 alone, more than 1,000 companies received pre-seed and seed funding in Brazil. What might the number of newly formed companies be if company formation was a simple process?
Now, entrepreneurs can go to go.latitud.com, and start their company for a fraction of the cost & time. This is just the tip of the product vision for making entrepreneurship more accessible. The team is quickly building to offer a full product suite for companies across LatAm.
The full power of Latitud lies in the community & resources the team has built to support its product offering. Latitud started a few years ago as a “pay it forward” experiment of CEO Brian Requarth who wished he’d had a community of founders when building his first company Viva Real, but the ecosystem was still nascent. The Latitud fellowship, now in its third year, has helped nearly 800 entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of company ideation by providing community, company building resources and mentors. Latitud’s angel fellowship helps more experienced operators learn how to angel invest, and hence help Latitud’s fellows. Latitud’s fund provides early seed funding for many of its graduates. Latitud is accelerating an already powerful flywheel of entrepreneurs across the region. Latitud is the product (company formation & more to come) and the distribution (Latitud fellows become customers!). As we have written before–Latam is booming–and we see Latitud as part of the engine further fueling the growth of new companies in the region.
It takes a unique team to blend product and community. After selling VivaReal, Brian set up over a hundred meetings with founders around the region initially just to be helpful. He kept hearing the same themes: company formation was too hard and entrepreneurs were craving community. Brian gained the trust of many founders, which eventually became the foundation of Latitud’s strong network. Gina Gotthilf, brings her experience as VP Marketing at Duolingo where she grew the company from 3 to 300 millions users worldwide. She excels at 0 to 100 in new markets and brings with her a keen understanding of many cultures. Yuri Danilchenko has a strong technical background through his experiences as CTO and CPO in startups like Escale, Vemos, and UNEAR.
We are thrilled to back Brian, Gina, and Yuri. Latitud’s success will accelerate the success of even more entrepreneurs across Latin America. ¡Viva Latam!
Thank you to my partner Gabriel Vasquez for his work ethic, hustle, and expertise.