2,960 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Mexico has become a popular place for entrepreneurs in recent years. Startup Weekend, for example, now has more chapters in Mexico than in the U.S. and it’s planning to expand. Venture capital firms are popping up quickly, and the country’s economy is developing at a relatively rapid pace. Hoping to take advantage of these trends, the Crowdfunder team decided to put its crowdfunding expertise to the test across the border.
Over the last eight months, the team, led by co-founders Chance Barnett and D.J. Paul, has been traveling to Mexico and back, meeting with entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials. They also recruited the masterminds behind the U.S. crowdfunding initiative, Jason Best and Woodie Neiss, to share their expertise. About a month ago, they appointed Pepe Villatoro, a social entrepreneurship expert who learned his trade from prominent angel investor Rafe Furst, as the Mexican platform’s CEO. Earlier this week, the Crowdfunder.mx site went live, allowing interested entrepreneurs to register for the site.
Much like the U.S.-based platform, the Mexican version will act as both a social network for entrepreneurs and investors, as well as a crowdfunding platform. The laws around equity crowdfunding in Mexico are similar to those in the U.S. – currently, only accredited investors can partake in crowdfunding. Still, when the Crowdfunder team has met with potential partners, Villatoro told Crowdsourcing.org, the questions were about how the partnership would work, not why, indicating a healthy interest in crowdfunding.
Thus far, the Crowdfunder team has announced partnerships with organizations and companies like Mexican VC, Startup Weekend Mexico, NAFIN (the Mexican Government’s National Development Bank), and Angel Ventures Mexico. Villatoro said more discussions are currently taking place with prospective partners, including large corporations who would use the site as an extension of their own VC branches. Some companies are also considering matching funds for certain crowdfunding initiatives.
Crowdfunder.mx is appealing to companies, the CEO believes, because the platform serves as a transparent way to gauge market interest in companies and products. It also provides an efficient communication pipeline between entrepreneurs and investors.
Depending on the quality and quantity of its partnerships, Villatoro said, Crowdfunder.mx will open to the public in several weeks as either a more complete crowdfunding platform, or as a social networking site, akin to its U.S.-based sister platform.
Mexico may not be the last country Crowdfunder moves into. Villatoro indicated the team is focusing on creating a strong presence in the country before using its experience and lessons learned to expand further into Latin America.
Villatoro acknowledges that there are still a number of problems that must be addressed – the country's low internet penetration, for example. Still, he believes now is the right time to capitalize on Mexico’s warming up to entrepreneurship and venture capital, saying, “we’re reaching a critical mass of entrepreneurial culture in Mexico.”