DOG HOUSER is a startup dedicated to connecting pet owners with trusted caregivers who give the same love and care as if they were their own pet. All caregivers pass strict selection filters and are trained in care issues. Pets also have emergency veterinary insurance. Get to know Lizbeth, Cofounder & CEO and her experience crossing the LATAM-EU pond!

What makes LATAM a great opportunity for startups?

First of all, favorable demographic dynamics (compare to Europe or US). As middle classes increase, they have become powerful growth engines across different sectors (including pet care – where my startup is focused on). Just to compare, the pet care industry in Europe grows around 10%, meanwhile in LATAM it goes around 25%.
Second, an unsatisfied market. Technology and modern services have not grown at the same pace as the demand in LATAM, creating a gap that gives startups a great opportunity to scale with low cost of costumer acquisition, considering also that not all validated business models in Europe have first moving advantage in LATAM.
Last but not least, social drivers. LATAM is a young market that not only represents a strong working class but also are incorporating exponentially social trends that were previously identified in more mature markets, like DINKS (Double Income Without Kids) or YUPIES (Young Urban Professional).

 Why LATAM and no other regions?

Globalization, open economies and the disappearance of physical borders with technology make a LATAM an accessible market compared to other underpenetrated regions.  Apart from that and thinking in the scaling process of a European startup, it is more efficient to invest in a region with no competitors and big population than in a developed market that demands more investment and effort.
In social terms, internet has multiplied the effect of immigration: replicating cultural patterns and consumption behaviors especially in the Ibero-American states. This facilitates the business expansion.

What are the main challenges startups are facing when expanding to LATAM & Europe?

Working in LATAM includes dealing with the regulations and systems of many countries similar in culture but particular in legislation. Startups who are expanding in these markets have to consider finding experts with this international expertise, not only in one country. In addition, even when Europe is creating special regulations for startups, in LATAM this is barely discussed. We face some tax issues in some countries.
Finally, some LATAM governments have high bureaucratic barriers for the entrance of foreign capital. This creates a slow process where pre-seed and seed investors may lose their interest for investing in startups.

Key learnings/recommendation for startups planning to enter the LATAM & European market.

– In LATAM, one may consider markets with stable economies and governments.
– Do not attaches to prejudice: go to numbers, successful cases, and competitive opportunities.
– The biggest countries are not always the best to start. Be open to customize your product or service.
– Find legal and tax advisors because legislation for startups is not well developed in most of LATAM countries.
– In Europe, find creative ways to approach to the market. Probably there are many business models similar to yours and the challenge is to find differentiation.

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