Ten social impact startups from Latin America have been selected for acceleration as part of a pioneering scheme to promote companies developing technology to tackle major problems facing society and the environment.
The startups were selected as part of the second iteration of Tech For Good, a program overseen by startup accelerator Rockstart in collaboration with the Bolivar Davivienda Foundation, intended to identify and boost young companies from Latin America that are providing a product or service intended to have a positive social impact.
The selected social impact startups will enter a 90-day acceleration program, in which they will receive assistance with the likes of product development and metrics tracking, as well as being given opportunities to connect with mentors and investors.
Applications for this round opened in January and 10 social impact startups were selected from more than 400 applicants.
According to Felipe Santamaria, general director of Rockstart, the organization’s acceleration programs have a multiplying effect on the growth trajectory of participants.
“Our acceleration programs allow startups to grow two times more in only four to five months than they would normally grow in one year. We continue to bet big, believing and supporting more and more entrepreneurs in the region and now more impact entrepreneurs,” he was quoted as saying by El Espectador.
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10 Latin American social impact startups selected for Tech For Good program
The following ten social impact startups from Latin America were selected for the latest edition of Rockstart’s Tech For Good program:
Afrus is an application that facilitates donations and charitable giving, offering the likes of donation modules for websites, dashboards to monitor donations, and automated systems to provide responses and certificates to donors.
The platform also eases recurrent donations, as well as offering support with the likes of developing landing pages for donation-seeking campaigns, as well as newsletter and other correspondence development and dissemination.
While the company is headquartered in Florida, it has a regional presence throughout Latin America, with senior staff based in various countries around the region, and its app has English, Spanish, and Portuguese versions.
- Planet Oliver
Planet Oliver is a Colombian application dedicated to bringing together ethical diners with restaurants that are committed to protecting the environment by using ingredients that would otherwise have been disposed of.
Founded in 2020, the mobile app-based platform is currently active in Colombia’s capital Bogota, where its headquarters are located, as well as the Atlantic coastal city of Barranquilla.
To date, Planet Oliver has signed 21 brands across the two cities, with all participants using leftovers to prepare dishes that are offered through the app at affordable prices to consumers.
SenseGrass is an agricultural startup providing software to help farmers increase their productivity, with the aim of contributing to tackling food scarcity. It’s products are based on the use of artificial intelligence, wireless sensors, and public data.
Among the products it offers are multi-end soil point intelligence, automated drip irrigation, and food grading, with the company saying that it can help reduce associated costs to farmers by between 20% and 40%.
While SenseGrass has its main base in the United States, it has a dedicated Latin American arm based in Chilean capital Santiago. The company lists 15 major companies as backers on its website, including Sony, John Deere, and Cisco.
- Educación Estrella
Educación Estrella is a Colombia-based education technology (EdTech) platform that offers financing for educational programs for young people, with its stated aim being to “accompany the next generation of transformational leaders.”
Each year, the company selects 600 young people seeking financial support for a higher education program, with each person eligible for up to 100% financing based on their profile and circumstances.
When it comes to repayments that participants must make, three repayment schedules are available – short, medium, or long-term – with low interest rates on those repayments.
Sosty is another agriculture-focused company, which facilitates investment in sustainable cattle ranching. Based in the eastern Colombian city of Bucaramanga, the company was established in 2021.
The platform works by identifying cattle ranches engaged in sustainable farming practices, and facilitating investment from users into their projects, with the company website stating that to date it has worked with 12 ranchers on 36 projects, and receiving support from over 550 investors.
Investors can visit the website and choose an active project to invest in, with minimum investments set at 700,000 Colombian pesos (approximately USD 185), which is promised to be returned within nine to 12 months, plus interest. Among the projects on the site, estimated interest is impressive, at between 12% and 17%.
Celuventas is an online platform dedicated to providing reconditioned cellular phones to consumers in Colombia, which are sold “like new” at up to half the price of a new device. All purchases are accompanied by a new battery and adaptor.
According to the company website, each device undergoes a rigorous process to guarantee that functionality meets the same standards as a new device, with each device purchased coming with a one year guarantee.
As well as bringing benefits to consumers, the company has an environmental mission, with discarded cell phones contributing significantly to global waste, with less than 20% of the materials recycled from discarded electronic devices.
PaLaTierra is a agriculture-focused startup based in Colombia that integrates farmers, farm workers, agronomists, with the aim of bringing agility and cost-savings to farming operations.
The mobile app-based platform facilitates information management and brings together the various stakeholders, to improve efficiency and conditions for all of those engaged in the agricultural sector.
According to the company website, the cost-savings and convenience of digitally monitoring and managing farming systems creates opportunities and dividends for all of those stakeholders.
Amazóniko is a Bogota-based startup that is active throughout Colombia and promotes the transformation of usable waste via training programs that educate participants on sustainability and teach waste management techniques.
Participants are provided with a guide on properly separating recyclable waste, which they then put into practice, before programming the collection of that waste based on collection schedules managed by the company.
According its company website, the company already has over 6,300 households signed up, and has collected more than 290 tons of waste via over 20,000 collections. Crucially, to-date the company has reduced CO2 equivalente waste by almost 590,000 tons.
- Smart Seals
Smart Seals is a startup based in the Colombian city of Barranquilla that offers real-time asset tracking services for companies in the logistics, public transport, and mining sectors, among others.
The tracking tool provides users with real-time information on goods in transport, integrating maps and other tools in order to allow them to effectively control daily operational tasks.
A crucial aspect of the product that Smart Seals offers is the ability to identify energy losses, which can then be addressed, providing cost savings to users and an environmental benefit.
Qentaz is a financial technology (FinTech) application for micro and small businesses that was established in 2021.
Based in the Colombian city of Manizales, but stating that it has penetrated 64% of Latin America, the app is particularly attractive because it does not require users to learn how to use a new platform, with everything managed through popular messaging app WhatsApp.
Qentaz is also free to use, meaning that it makes proper and effective management of finances accessible to anyone with access to a cellular phone.
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