On a recent podcast I hosted with Cristobal Perdomo of Jaguar Ventures, we got on the topic of exit opportunities for startups in LATAM (you can listen to the episode here). It became something I couldn’t get my mind off of, so today, I’m going to cover some of the trends around exits in the region and why they’re essential.

First, the basics, why are exits so important anyway? Set aside for a second that VCs are liable to return cash to their LPs when a fund’s lifecycle is complete. What does liquidity do for an emerging startup ecosystem? It…

Last week, the Philippines government, specifically the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), announced a new USD 5M fund to support local startup establishment and expansion. The news is part of a continuing initiative that started with the country’s Innovative Startup Act. Although the guidelines are not yet final, the venture fund aims to provide equity financing to qualified, innovative startups with high-growth potential and supports product R&D, manufacturing, and sales & marketing initiatives.

The Senate introduced the Innovative Startup Act (RA1137) in 2017, but President Rodrigo Dueterte didn’t officially sign it into law until 2019. The bill aims to…

In February, South Africa’s Treasury announced in its 2021 budget statement that it would not be renewing the country’s 12J investment tax incentive even though the clause has helped the startup ecosystem in South Africa grow quickly over the last few years. The Treasury has stated that the initiative hasn’t achieved its original objectives and will let it expire on June 30. Today I will walk through Section 12J, why it has been good for South Africa’s economy, and why getting rid of it altogether is a mistake.

In 2009, South Africa introduced Section 12J into its tax law to…

Earlier this month, the military in Myanmar staged a coup against the National League for Democracy (NLD) party. You can read more background on the situation here. The short of it is this: after over 60 years of alternating between military and civilian leadership and decades of sanctions used to incentivize the country to enact pro-democracy reformations, Myanmar finally began this process in 2011, leading to its first official democratic election in 2015. …

This month, MAGNiTT released a report covering the 2020 funding for the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region. For context, MAGNiTT is the largest online community for startups across the MENA region. The firm is based out of Dubai and creates monthly research reports for subscribers to track industry trends and access insights on the MENA startup ecosystem. This most recent report, titled the 2021 Emerging Markets Report, is the first to include Pakistan and Turkey. In this post, I want to cover some of the high-end takeaways in the region.

The big headline is that startups in the…

Last month, Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) released a joint report titled e-Conomy Africa 2020 focused on Africa’s booming internet economy and some of the emerging trends driving it. The full report is 80-pages long, but the content has significant insights into the future of technology, startups, and venture capital for the continent.

By the end of this year, projections show Africa’s internet economy is to reach $115B. The analysis concludes that this figure can amount to $180B by 2025, measuring 5.2% of the continent’s GDP.

Several vital drivers are fueling this growth. African citizens have increased access…

There has been much activity in the Indian investing scene in 2020. The world’s second-most populous country of 1.3B people creates enormous opportunities for a large customer base of which technology startups can take advantage. India ranks the third-largest startup ecosystem, receiving over $10B in venture capital in 2019. It isn’t just startups receiving investments, as individuals in the country gain access to mobile devices and internet connectivity, prompting large investments into companies providing mobile infrastructure. The most prominent example of this are investments of around $20B this year alone in Jio Platforms, India’s largest digital services firm. Well-known technology…

COVID-19 has decimated many economies around the world. On a local scale, restaurants, bars, and other SMEs have had trouble remaining open as people continue to quarantine at home. Expanding beyond that, a global shutdown in international travel has ruined the tourism industry. In Europe, where tourism makes up a large part of many countries’ GDPs, The European Union is making efforts have to help alleviate these economic hardships and jumpstart a recovery. In July, The EU announced the EU Recovery Bill, and just last week provided more details around the frameworks and incentives for businesses to receive funding. …

When building a startup, some of the most critical success variables involve the local ecosystem, access to capital and resources, and local regulations governing new ventures. Not all localities make it easy or flexible for entrepreneurs to start businesses and receive venture capital investment; that’s why in the U.S., most venture-backed companies incorporate in business-friendly Delaware. This reality is a worldwide issue, giving the concept of a charter city an advantage for entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

So what is a charter city in the first place? It’s a municipality granted the right to create a new governing system defined by…

This summer, Israel and UAE announced a historic peace deal aimed at ending tense relations between them. There are certainly political and cultural ramifications from the agreement, of which I am no expert in and have no intention of exploring here. More important to me is the economic benefits of the new situation and what this could mean for venture capital and startups in the two countries and the broader region.

Israel’s technology hub is one of the fastest-growing globally, home to top talent and resources, particularly in the AI field. Known as “Silicon Wadi” after, well…you know, many top…

Zeb Hastings

I travel the world and write about venture capital and startups. Follow along at my website: https://vagabond.vc

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