LatAm Mobility Pioneer Creates New Opportunity for International Startups

By Diego Berrio Diego Berrio has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on June 14, 2022

In Latin America, mobility is driving the investor agenda. The fast-growing region is in need of innovative solutions to solve its transportation challenges. That’s why the LatAm mobility pioneer opened its company builder to entrepreneurs from around the world.   

Mobility is a new hotspot for venture capital worldwide. Last year, mobility-focused startups raised almost $100 billion globally, according to Pitchbook. Companies entering the mobility space have received support and funding from top market players. 

Among them are BMV i Ventures, InMotion Ventures, the brainchild of Jaguar Land Rover, GM Ventures, the VC arm of General Motors Co., and others. Some invest in new technology to increase their company’s innovation potential, while others focus on specific segments. 

The sector, however, lacked a player to guide startups through their journey to the emerging markets of Latin America. Recently, güil Mobility Ventures, founded by Kaufmann Holdings, one of the region’s most established automotive groups, has taken on this role.

The company’s decades-long journey reflects the story of LatAm’s mobility sector: full-speed development, driven by market growth and blue-sky thinking.

The “Güil” of fortune

It all started back in the ‘50s when German businessman Walter Kaufmann traveled to Chile to launch a new venture, intending to represent Daimler-Benz.

The Kaufmann Group went on to become an important player in buses, trucks, and vans, as well as an influential force in the local automotive industry. The company still represents Daimler-Benz in Latin America.

Kaufmann is the main force behind Awto, Chile’s first rideshare and rental service that lets users reserve cars via an app. Launched as a response to transportation difficulties in the region, the success of Awto made Kaufmann realize they were in the “mobility business” for good.

This new mission became a driving force behind Kaufmann’s future endeavors, culminating in its latest project: güil Mobility Ventures. The word “güil” itself has two meanings: “wheel,” as in mobility, and “will,” as in “willpower.”

Güil consists of an accelerator, a company builder, and a VC fund. Its entire purpose is to support high-impact mobility startups that intend to scale globally.

How LatAm rolls out new ventures

The güil’s portfolio includes: EVSY, LatAm’s most popular app for electric vehicles users; eTrans, which develops fleet management systems for transportation; 2bak, eliminating reverse logistics in warehouses, and more. But there’s an increasing need for innovation.

LatAm’s economies are set for growth and continue to outperform larger emerging economies, according to recent data. In the January-March quarter, the region’s stocks gained 26%, boosted by higher commodities and energy prices.

Even though LatAm is one of the world’s best-performing markets, the startup ecosystem is still relatively young. To help local and international entrepreneurs tap into new opportunities, güil held an open call for its company builder.

The program empowers founders with knowledge of mobility-related industries and the ambition to build high-impact startups. The güil team guides founders throughout the process of building a company, creating a Minimum Valuable Product (MVP), testing the market, and growing into leadership.

Also, the company builder allows founders to access the güil network, including the business design team and subject matter experts. The application process is open until the end of April. The program is free, and güil doesn’t seek equity.

In addition and perhaps most important, the company builder serves as a gateway to LatAm, providing access to the region’s key stakeholders and VCs. Why? Güil aims “to build and invest in high-impact companies that can lead the future of mobility worldwide.”

Leading the future of LatAm mobility and worldwide

Although güil ultimately wants to become a global player, LatAm remains the company’s main focus. Last year, the region’s mobility startups raised a record $14.8 billion across 800 deals in the region. LatAm is also one of the world’s most urbanized regions, with about 80% of the population in large cities.

An important trend is government policy toward EVs, and a few countries in the region have already implemented national strategies to develop electric mobility.

For example, in Chile 100% of public transport and 40% of private transport will be electrified by 2050. Colombia is aiming for 600,000 EVs on the streets by 2030, and Mexico plans to have 500 trolleybuses for zero-emission EV routes by 2024.

Thanks to these new policies, LatAm could become the hottest destination for global VCs and mobility startups. Now is a good time for international companies to tap into LatAm’s hot and emerging market.

By Diego Berrio Diego Berrio has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Diego Berrio is a co-founder @ Amadeo Global and an investor with 12+ years of experience in VC, private equity, and more both in developed and emerging markets. He has excelled in fundraising, capital deployment, team formation as well as in financial management and strategic advisory. Diego Berrio holds an MBA from HEC Paris.

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