Eight stories of women who are moving the world of startups in Colombia

Bogotá — Although it is estimated that only 35% of the ICT sector in Colombia is made up of womenmore and more entrepreneurs stand out in the ecosystem of startup local with companies in sectors ranging from electronic commerce, to real estate or fintech.

A recent KPMG report on the ecosystem of startup in Colombia highlighted ten of the most successful in the country, among which he included the proptech Habi, whose co-founder is Brynne McNulty Rojas, the only woman in the group.

See more: Colombian startups raise more than US$800 million in 2021

In addition to the fact that the report reveals that the majority of the founders of these startup are men, indicates that these are graduates of the most expensive private university in the country, so there are still large gaps in the ecosystem.

Despite the challenges, behind the business stories in the country there are several outstanding women entrepreneurs, whose trajectory Bloomberg Line wanted to exalt in the framework of the International Women’s Day commemorated on March 8.

“Life cannot be waiting for the weekend”

Manuela Sánchez, co-founder of Laika

After almost four years since its launch, Laika has become one of the most recognized platforms in Colombia for the sale of products and services for pets, under the leadership of the brothers Manuela and Camilo Sanchezwho founded this business in 2017.

Earlier this year, Laika raised US$48 million in its Series B investment round, led by Softbank along with other investors. With operations in Mexico and Chile, the founders of Laika expect to reach more than US$500 million in sales by the end of 2022 and in this way reach more than 5 million pets in Latin America.

They currently have around 700 employees, including homeworkers, who are directly contracted with all legal benefits.

Manuela Sánchez remembers that one of the moments that led her to undertake was during a family lunch in which she spoke with her brother how bored she was at her jobwhich did not motivate him, and which “Life cannot be waiting for the weekend”.

“There we decided to jump into the water, we explored three possible ideas and after analyzing the market, competitors and other factors we decided to choose pets. In addition to being pet lovers from birth, I have 3 pets,” he told Bloomberg Line.

The new era of fintech

Ana Maria Sandoval, co-founder of Bold

The fintech colombian bold, that allows access to electronic payments to thousands of businesses in Colombia, was founded in 2019 by Anna Maria Sandovaltogether with José Vélez, Sergio Vergara, Jorge Ulloa and Enrique Ramírez.

Sandoval brings more than 15 years of sales, product development and go-to-market experience to Bold, which last February announced it had raised $55 million in its Series B investment round led by Tiger Global Management.

The company highlights that “it has grown to more than 400 employees and has generated strong traction with businesses, reaching more than 100,000 loyal customers by the end of 2021″.

Sandoval, who is an economist and has an MBA from the Universidad de los Andes, is part of this new wave of businesswomen who are revolutionizing the business ecosystem in the country.

See more: Fintech Bold raises US$55 million and drives appetite for Colombian startups

The B2B e-commerce revolution

Carolina García, co-founder of Chiper

Caroline Garcia is the co-founder and current Chief Revenue Officer of chippera B2B electronic commerce platform with operations in Colombia and Mexico that at the end of last year raised US$53 million with a view to expanding its operation.

The entrepreneur grew up in Bucaramanga, but moved to Bogotá to finish her degree in Economics. After graduating, she joined a consulting firm specializing in CPG. While there, she first became interested in help corner store retailers address inefficiencies.

He then joined a company that aimed to revolutionize the convenience store retail experience through a mobile services platform, as his third employeewhere he spent the next eight years.

Carolina also attended the MIT Sloan School of Management as a fellow to strengthen her technology entrepreneurship skills from a global perspective.

See more: What the list of the 10 most successful startups reveals about the ecosystem in Colombia

Female seal in corporate training on-line

Marta Forero, co-founder of UBITS

Behind the remarkable growth of UBITSa corporate training platform on-line with operations in more than 10 Latin American countries, is Martha Forerowho is the co-founder and current chief of operations of the company.

Last year the platform received an investment of US$5 million, mainly from Owl Ventures, the largest educational investor in the world, while tripled its number of collaborators and opened operations in Chile.

Marta Forero, who is an industrial designer and MBA from Tecnológico de Monterrey, became one of the first women in Latin America to be part of YCombinatorconsidered the most important technology investment fund in the world.

“As a woman, my biggest challenge was having a company and a family; as well as have the necessary empowerment and example to help others achieve it. It has not been easy at all, but discipline and perseverance have led me to be able to continue with this dream”, said the businesswoman.

See more: Tul, Laika and Ubits promote venture capital at the beginning of 2022 in Colombia

The power of proptech

Brynne McNulty Rojas, co-founder and CEO of Habi

businesswoman Brynne McNulty Rojas, born in New Jersey but with Irish roots, was introduced to the world of real estate and finance when she attended the University of Pennsylvania. “It was the first time I realized the power of housing policies and efficient finance to support the creation of wealth in families and unlock the liquidity that can drive economic development in general”, he said in a recent interview with Bloomberg Online.

She worked at Goldman Sachs in real estate finance, went to Harvard Business School to get her MBA, and then moved with her husband to Colombia, where she worked as a consultant at McKinsey. In 2019, together with Sebastián Noguera, she founded the platform I hadbased in Bogotá, which uses a proprietary pricing algorithm and scalable processes to free middle-class Latin Americans throughout the region from “a convoluted and inefficient real estate market”, while helping agents and banks make more informed decisions. At the end of june, Habi raised US$100 million in its series B funding roundled by SoftBank Latin America Fund together with the previous investors.

See more: Meet Brynne McNulty Rojas, a Habi leader who posted 20x growth year-over-year

Women shake up the industry foodtech

Daniela Izquierdo, co-founder of Foodology

Daniela Izquierdo is the CEO and co-founder of Foodology, a company that operates hidden kitchens and develops virtual restaurants in Colombia and Mexico. which recently raised $15 million in an investment round led by Silicon Valley investorswith which it plans to continue its expansion to other countries in the region. Foodology plans to close 2022 with 130 kitchens in four countries and 15 cities.

Izquierdo, who previously worked at Mckinsey & Co and the Helm Group, is an industrial engineer, a Harvard Business School (HBS) alumna, who started Foodology after winning the 2020 HBS New Venture Competition award.

See more: The club of eleven Colombian startups called to become unicorns

A leader in construction

Marcela Prada, manager of Tul in Colombia

Marcela Prada became the second woman to lead Tulle in Colombia, the country in which this e-commerce platform specialized in construction materials was founded.

The executive is an industrial engineer from the Javeriana University of Cali and has more than 20 years of experience in the consumer sectorin which he has worked in companies such as Kimberly-Clark and Kellogg’s, in the national and regional management of areas of Customer Development.

Earlier this year, Tul raised US$181 million in an equity financing round led by 8VC and it is now valued at $800 million. The company currently operates in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

Remote work for the world

Daniela Ávila, co-founder of Torre

The remote work platform Tower It also has a feminine seal with Daniela Avilaco-founder of the company with Alex Torrenegra, Andrés Caijao and Santiago Jaramillo in 2019.

As highlighted by Endeavor, Daniela Ávila is a professional in audiovisual and multimedia communication, as well as being certified in user experience design from General Assembly (San Francisco) and in Art Direction for Film and Television.

“She has participated in executive programs focused on leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation at Harvard, Stanford and INSEAD,” adds the Endeavor network, of which she is a part.

Winner of the Hackaton Torre Labs (2018), she currently works as Head of Product Design at Torrewhich has a little over 1.5 million users in 180 countries.

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