04 Apr TEAMSCOPE – DIEGO MENCHACA
Teamscope is a data capture app for clinical research. This platform allows health professionals to collect high quality data from their patients and analyze it with a few clicks, even when they are offline. Diego Menchaca, cofounder and CEO shares his experience as a Dutch-based entrepreneur crossing the pond and expanding from Europe to LATAM
- What are the main challenges startups are facing when expanding to LATAM from Europe?
We live in a globalized world and in many cases remote-first; hence I do not think there are structural barriers for a SaaS startup when expanding to Europe. I live in the Netherlands since 2015 after being part of the Rockstart Accelerator, one of Europe’s best startup accelerators. As long as you understand the problem you are solving, what needs to be built and how to acquire your clients, I think you can do that from any part of the world. Our team is 100% remote and I often go abroad and explore different places to work from, in 2017, I left the Netherlands and worked on Teamscope from Bhutan for 4 months.
I don’t think that start-up’s are underpowered just because of where they come from, but there are certainly general challenges that any high-risk venture faces. Just to mention some of them: achieving market-product fit, finding and retaining talent, and navigating through the natural ups and downs of the start-up life.
In my case, I have not had to deal with the bureaucratic obstacles that many entrepreneurs face when they come from LATAM to Europe because the Netherlands is first an efficient country and secondly has a special visa for entrepreneurs. The only real barrier I can identify is the language and to overcome that, speaking English is a must.
Regarding the issue of local partners that many startups need when planning to internationalize, in our case, due to the characteristics of our product we sell directly to the client so we do not partner with local distribution or sales companies, our platform is already customizable out of the box and this can be done directly by our end user.
- Key learnings/recommendations for startups planning to enter the LATAM market:
Depending on the stage, I would recommend look in to the different public acceleration programs. In Latin America, Chile has been a leader in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and an example of this is Start-up Chile. I was very fortunate to be part of the Startup Chile program in 2014; this gave Teamscope an equity-free grant and 6 months of acceleration. Programs like Start-up Chile have been fundamental in building from the ground up a startup ecosystem that encourages an entrepreneurial mindset, breaks down the fear of failure and generates social mobility.
I recommend the Netherlands as a country to raise capital and to expand to when reaching to the European market. The Netherlands is a country that has a highly developed ecosystem and that makes things easy for entrepreneurs. Thanks to Rockstart, our investors here, we were able to get our first local clients, partners and new investment.