Named Innovative City of the Year by the Wall Street Journal in 2013, Medellin has recently developed a vibrant tech industry where more and more entrepreneurs come to found and grow their businesses. A remarkable development, considering the city’s previous record as a hotspot for drug-related crime.
This remarkably rapid transition makes Medellin a great case to study how entrepreneurial ecosystems develop. After mapping the tech ecosystems of New York, Cairo, Buenos Aires, and London, among others, Endeavor Insight has now conducted research to map the social network of entrepreneurs behind Medellin’s success as a tech hub.
The study yielded three key lessons.
1. Medellin demonstrates that entrepreneurship can be successful in unlikely places, even in a city previously overridden with drug-related crime. Medellin’s success echoes the success of Silicon Valley, a similarly unlikely location for a successful tech scene in the 1950s.
2. A small group of entrepreneurs are responsible for new growth in the local tech sector. As with other cities Endeavor Insight has studied, (including New York, Silicon Valley, and London), the study revealed that a small number of influential entrepreneurs drove most of the sector’s economic growth. Companies like SocialAtom Ventures have mediated dozens of connections among entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors.
3. Founders who reinvest their success into others are the key to creating successful entrepreneurship hubs. Surprising as it may sound, successful entrepreneurs don’t make a successful tech hub. Successful entrepreneurs who reinvest their success do. Nearly 200 tech entrepreneurs in Medellin have relationships with other tech founders and companies via mentorship, angel investment, employee spinouts or serial entrepreneurship. These connections have created a cycle of growth in Medellin, and will ensured the sustained growth of the ecosystem if carried forward into the future.
The results of the report will be published soon on the Endeavor website.
Contributed by Lili Torok.