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Mujeres Emprendedoras México 2020: ¿Una misión imposible?

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Cada año, a principios de marzo, las conversaciones en torno al Día Internacional de la Mujer copan la escena. Las ‘tertulias’ del 2020 han venido condimentadas por la expansión mundial del Coronavirus (2019-CoV), así como por el Paro Nacional convocado en México: Un día sin mujeres.

 

El tratamiento de este tema puede ser visto como ‘facilista’. Todo el mundo, en poca o gran medida, está hablando de ello. Y la tendencia se mantendrá durante varios días. Paradójicamente, también es una opción complicada. Siendo un asunto tan susceptible, cualquier comentario que se preste a múltiples interpretaciones dará pie a la aparición de bolas de nieve indetenibles y en ocasiones, devastadoras.

 

Lo espinoso del asunto no hace más que confirmar lo lejos que está la humanidad de la tan ansiada equidad. Tener que año tras año armar listas de mujeres exitosas, las cuales son vistas como excepciones, es prueba de ello. Porque muchas veces no se trata de un repaso histórico, sino del momento actual.

 

La ola de startups ha servido para, al menos parcialmente, refrescar el panorama. Los emprendedores (hombres y mujeres) han llegado para romper las reglas no escritas y cambiar paradigmas. Aunque de alguna u otra forma, el tema de la igualdad de géneros siempre regresa. 

 

Mujeres Emprendedoras México 2020

 

El cambio ha empezado. Quizá de forma más lenta de lo que muchos quisieran. Al menos en México, el panorama ya es otro. Para finales de la segunda década del siglo XXI, tres de cada cinco PyMES son lideradas por mujeres. Probablemente hay a quienes esto les pueda parecer un dato menor, pero era una situación impensable hace dos lustros atrás.

Mujeres emprendedoras mexico 2020 sup news

Vía Pixabay

 

Parte de lo que falta es llevar este crecimiento a un nivel superior. Según datos de la Asociación de Emprendedores de México, 11,2% de las mujeres del país apuestan por iniciativas ‘startuperas’. Una cifra bastante corta si se compara con la de otros países latinoamericanos como Perú, en donde este índice se justo por debajo del 30%.

 

Además, según datos del INEGI, solo el 2% de las mexicanas consigue alcanzar la categoría de empresaria de Alto Impacto. Nivel al que por el momento sí llegan el 6% de los hombres.

 

¿Cuestión de percepción?

 

Para Laura Calleros, Coordinadora de la Licenciatura en Administración y Dirección de Empresas de la Universidad Anáhuac, parte de lo que falta es más educación. Y las estadísticas le dan la razón. Solo un 15% de las mujeres emprendedoras en México obtuvieron una titulación universitaria, según datos de la organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico, OCDE. (Entre los caballeros este mismo índice es de 21%).

 

Más allá de esto, apenas el 17,2% cree que alguna institución pública o privada le dará acceso a créditos o cualquier tipo de ayuda económica. Mientras que el 16,5% dice tener oportunidad de capacitarse para emprender. 

 

También según los datos de la OCDE, más de la mitad de las mujeres se abstiene de emprender por un solo factor: el miedo al fracaso. Al tiempo que el 60% de las mexicanas que inician una startup o trabajan en el ámbito informal, empezaron por necesidad y no como parte de un plan preconcebido

 

Las tareas del hogar

 

Las responsabilidades domésticas siguen siendo otro tema controvertido y donde las desigualdades se hacen más palpables. De manera general, las ‘tareas del hogar’ son cosas de mujeres. Y de este paradigma son partícipes un alto porcentaje de damas y caballeros por igual.

Tareas del hogar sup news

Vía Pixabay

 

Esta idea sí  puede cuantificarse al momento de analizar el emprendimiento. Los datos arrojados por los investigadores de la OCDE dan cuenta que las mujeres dedican 30 horas a la semana de su tiempo a sus iniciativas. Mientras que los hombres disponen de casi el doble de tiempo. ¿La razón? Alguien tiene que ‘cuidar’ y ‘mantener’ el hogar. Hasta el momento, casi siempre son las esposas o madres.

 

¿La historia sin fin?

 

Seguramente dentro de un año tendremos que escribir algún artículo parecido. Veremos que tan diferente será. Lo verdaderamente utópico es que no tengamos que hacerlo.

Startups

Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data

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Delman, a Jakarta-based data management startup, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by Intudo Ventures, with participation from Prasetia Dwidharma Ventures and Qlue Performa Indonesia, and will be used to establish a research and development center and hire software engineers and data scientists.

Delman was founded in 2018 by chief executive officer Surya Halim, chief product officer Raymond Christopher and chief technology officer Theo Budiyanto, who were classmates at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, they worked at tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Splunk, before deciding to focus on the Indonesian market.

Originally launched as an end-to-end big data analytics provider, Delman shifted its focus to data preparation and management after talking to clients in Indonesia, said Halim. Many companies said they had budgeted for expensive data analytics solution, but then realized their data was not ready for analysis because it was spread across multiple formats. Delman’s mission is to make it easier for data engineers and scientists to do their jobs by cleaning up and preparing data.

Halim says many large companies in Indonesia typically spend up to $200,000 to clean and warehouse data, but Delman gives them a more cost-efficient and faster alternative.

“We have the capability to do analytics and data visualization for clients, but there are so many established companies that already do that, which is why we shifted our business model to something more niche and needed,” said Halim. “It also enables us to open our door to partner with everyone doing data analytics services.”

While newer companies and startups have cleaner datasets, Halim said many older Indonesian companies, especially ones with branches in multiple cities, often have large amounts of data spread across pen-and-paper ledgers, Excel spreadsheets and other software. The data may also have code, keywords and typos that need to be corrected.

“It’s easier for a new company, because everything is already standardized,” Halim said, “But if a company that was established in the 1970s wants to unify previous generations of data to integrate it into their system and keep notes on what customer behavior is like in order to compete with up-and-coming companies, then they need to have a data-driven policy.”

Delman is industry-agnostic and its clients range from large corporations and consulting firms to government agencies. Its customers have included PWC and Qlue. Halim said that the startup plans to expand into other Southeast Asian markets and expects that as COVID-19 changes the way people work, companies will want to invest more heavily in their IT infrastructure and make their databases easier to access outside of a central location.

In a press statement, Intudo Ventures founding partner Eddy Chan said, “By combining a highly localized approach with global technical expertise, Delman is providing Indonesian businesses with Indonesian-developed big data solutions, ultimately leading to better outcomes for end-users. Since meeting the Delman founding team in Silicon Valley in 2017, we have witnessed their growth as a management team, and are excited to continue to support them in their entrepreneurial journey ahead.”

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GoBear raises $17 million to expand its consumer financial services for Asian markets

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Singapore-based fintech startup GoBear has raised $17 million from returning investors Walvis Participaties, a Dutch venture capital firm, and Aegon N.V., a life insurance and asset management provider. The funding brings GoBear’s total funding so far to $97 million, and will be used to expand its consumer financial services platform, which is available in seven Asian markets: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Founder and CEO Adrian Chng told TechCrunch that GoBear will focus on what it calls its “three growth pillars”: an online financial supermarket that evolved from the company’s financial products aggregator/comparison service; an online insurance brokerage; and its digital lending business, which it recently expanded by acquiring consumer lending platform AsiaKredit.

The company has also added three new executives over the past few months: chief information technology officer Valeriy Gasratov; chief strategy officer Jinnee Lim as Chief Strategy Officer; and Mike Singh from AsiaKredit as its new chief lending officer.

GoBear originally launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine, before transitioning into financial services. The company now works with over 100 financial partners, including banks and insurance providers, and says its platform has been used by over 55 million people to search for more than 2,000 personal financial products.

The startup serves consumers who don’t have credit cards or other access to traditional credit building tools. Similar to other fintech companies that focus on underbanked populations, GoBear aggregates and analyzes alternative sources of data to judge lending risk, including patterns in consumer behavior. For example, Chng said if a loan application is filled out in less than a minute, it is more likely to be fraudulent, and applications made between 8:30PM and midnight are less risky than ones made between 2AM to 5AM.

Data points from smartphones is also used to assess creditworthiness in markets like the Philippines, where the credit card penetration rate is less than 10%, but more than 40% of the population uses a smartphone.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Chng said GoBear has been gross margin positive since the end of 2019. Interest in travel insurance has declined, but the company has continued to see demand for other insurance products and lending. Its online insurance brokerage has grown its average order by 52% over the last three months, and the company has seen 50% year-over-year growth from its loan products.

There are other fintech companies in Asia that overlap with some of the services that GoBear offers, like comparison platform MoneySmart, CompareAsiaGroup and Grab Financial Group. In terms of competition, Chng told TechCrunch that not only is the market opportunity in Asia huge (he said there are 400 million underbanked people across GoBear’s seven markets), but the company also differentiates with its three core services, which are all interconnected and draw on the same data sources to score credit.

Chng anticipates that the pandemic will spur more financial institutions to begin digitizing their products and looking for partners like GoBear to help them manage risk. In turn, that will make more financial institutions open to using non-traditional data to score credit, enabling underbanked markets to have increased access to financial products.

“The momentum is here. I think now is the time for tech and data to transform financial services,” he said. “As a platform, we are really looking for partners to come with us for the next phase of growth and investment. I feel positive even with COVID-19, because I think that we will have more acceleration, and the opportunity to change people’s lives and benefit them and investors by solving tough problems will only increase.”

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AI is more data-hungry than ever, and DefinedCrowd raises $50M B round to feed it

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As AI has grown from niche to mission-critical technology, the companies that enable it have multiplied and in many cases prospered. A good example of that success is DefinedCrowd, which has gone from the Disrupt stage to globe-spanning AI toolkit to the Fortune 500 in just a couple of years. The company just raised a new $50.5 million B round to further fuel its expansion.

DefinedCrowd doesn’t make AI, but rather supplies data used to create it, specializing in natural language processing. After all, someone has to vet the 500 different ways you could ask for the weather — otherwise it would be much more difficult for machine learning systems to tell what users mean. The same goes for computer vision, sentiment recognition and other domains for which the company creates and sorts data. DefinedCrowd has a paid community hundreds of thousands strong doing this highly necessary but voluminous work.

As AI has worked its way into everything from creating and editing media to enterprise software, there’s been no shortage of companies in search of training data.

“The demand for data has consistently been growing over the last couple years — companies are more and more aware of the impact that data has on their systems, and have been looking for more languages and domains that weren’t considered five years ago,” co-founder and CEO Daniela Braga told TechCrunch.

She emphasized inclusivity, the potential for bias and more multilingual deployments as drivers of that demand. New markets and applications are opening up constantly and entrants need high-quality data to develop consumer-ready products.

“This puts us in a very good position, as our data is agnostic and we can work pretty much across all verticals,” Braga said.

As evidence this is not simply wishful thinking, the company reported a tremendous 656% increase in revenue year-over-year. They’ve also nearly tripled the size of their workforce in that time to more than 250 people.

It’s toward hiring that Braga expects a great deal of the $50 million round to go: got to have the developers to make the products to follow the road map. That means doubling the employee count — again.

I asked whether the present pandemic has had a major effect on DefinedCrowd’s operations or business. Braga noted that she hasn’t “noticed a significant downturn in the industry,” presumably because product development has continued in anticipation of consumer and enterprise needs returning to normal.

We decided to make our business fully remote before lockdown measures were implemented,” she explained. “Transferring every employee to remote working in a short space of time was challenging; however, considering we were already a global company with four offices in three different countries, the adaptation phase was fairly smooth, and we were able to maintain full speed during the process.”

Semapa Next and Hermes GPE were added this round to the increasingly long list of investors, which now includes Evolution Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, Portugal Ventures, Bynd Venture Capital, EDP Ventures, IronFire Ventures, Amazon Alexa Fund, Sony Innovation Fund and Mastercard.

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