DILA — Development In Latin America

Our mission in DILA is clear: help develop the Latin American region by investing in the best entrepreneurs solving the region’s biggest problems.

And while the mission was clear to us in the firm, we weren’t sure we were expressing our mission to the outside world.

When building and establishing a brand, as we are trying to do in DILA, we believe its important that our name stands for something. DILA stands for Development in Latin America. Our brand is not just a name, it represents the values we work with everyday. It represents our mission of aiding Latin America in becoming a developed region.

We are true believers that venture capital has the transformative potential to spur growth and development. “Successful venture backed companies have had an outsize positive impact on the US economy. According to a study by Ilya Strebulaev of Stanford University and Will Gornall of the University of British Columbia, 42 percent of all US company IPOs since 1974 were venture backed. Collectively, those venture backed companies have invested $115 billion in research and development (R&D), accounting for 85 percent of all R&D spending, and created $4.3 trillion in market capitalization.”[1] Please take a moment for these numbers to sink in and think about the impact venture funding has had on the US economy and the world.

When we first started DILA, we were amazed by the lack of capital for startups in the region, particularly in such a big market as Mexico. According to the Latin American Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) https://lavca.org/, in 2011 $143 million were invested in venture capital in Latin America. Please take a moment for that number to sink in as well. In the entire Latin American region, in an entire year, only 143 million dollars were invested in venture capital! In the US, in 2011 alone, according to CB Insights, $30 billion were invested in venture capital. Among many other structural issues, this definitely explains the lag of opportunities that resulted in limited development in our Latin American countries.

Venture capital aids development and fosters progress in many ways, I want to focus on three: we allocate capital to disruptive business models, we invest in companies solving large problems and, most importantly, we partner with the best teams to make real changes.

By investing in new disruptive businesses, we create an impact by increasing productivity, lowering prices and offering better products and services. We invest in companies that are transforming society and our daily lives. We invest in companies that are creating competition for large incumbents that have been dominating the market for many years.

By investing in companies addressing large scale problems, we positively impact lives, offering consumers sustainable alternatives and a more efficient marketplace. We invest in innovation, with the support of technology and scale, that allows for a more inclusive economy.

By partnering with the best teams we support development by creating well paid jobs, improving diversity, addressing gender issues, coming up with businesses with clear social and environmental awareness and funding the entrepreneurs with the most ethics, values and culture.

Which is why our name and our brand are so important to us. They represent what we do and what we stand for. Development is rooted in to our mission. Latin America is our region and we are committed to support it in the long run. Which is why we have rebranded our name and logo to include the meaning behind DILA: Development in Latin America.

[1] Secrets of Sand Hill Road Scott Kupor https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Sand-Hill-Road-Venture/dp/059308358X

Alejandro Diez Barroso. General Partner @ DILA Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Latin American and Hispanic startups.

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