Oskar Hjertonsson, founder and CEO of delivery service Cornershop, recently offered a few clarifying points and thoughts about the LatAm tech ecosystem via a Twitter thread.
Here’s what he had to say:
Thank you for all the kind words and positivity in the discussions about Cornershop in the past week. I want to clarify a few points, try to make a contribution to the ecosystem, and offer an alternate theory about what we are.
We started Cornershop with an initial investment of just US$150K, not US$1M as many people say. However, even though this sum was much less than reported, it is still correct to think that the business would not exist today without that initial investment from the founders. We might not have found capital otherwise, or we would have had to accept capital from investors that invest to direct and smother companies. Good capital for an early stage startup comes with a “good luck, and let me know if I can help.”
Yes, we had Chilean investors. No Chilean VCs, but I have seen many people who talk about Cornershop get this point wrong. I am the first to criticize problems in the LatAm ecosystem, but it is full of people who are supporting great companies. Today, it doesn’t matter that there were no Chilean VCs for Cornershop. The problems and the opportunities in the current ecosystem are still the same. And the potential that Cornershop has of positively impacting the Chilean ecosystem is still the same.
Startups are a middle-class sport in Sweden, where I was born. There are several exits every year that make Cornershop look tiny. Two examples from 2018: Spotify’s US$25B IPO and the iZettle acquisitions for US$2B by PayPal.
It’s amazing to imagine what would happen if the US$25B Spotify IPO had happened to a company with HQ in Chile or Mexico, where hundreds of employees, many of them young and with relevant experience, would become angel investors and entrepreneurs overnight. If that capital had come from local sources, there would have been impressive returns for funds and their LPs, who would be able to invest in new companies.
I imagine this situation and extrapolate into the future, maybe one or two decades. Where are we? Still in LatAm, Latin America with its colors, its food, its art, its music, its literature, its positive vibes, its laughter, its energy, and its love, but with less injustice, less corruption, and less violence?
Who knows? Maybe the impact won’t be as significant as that, but I believe it could do a lot more good than harm. We are still missing a lot of obvious pieces, such as decent education for all and more access to early-stage capital, but the most important thing we are missing is more success stories, since startup success is a vicious cycle. We are also lacking a bit of luck.
Here in the Cornershop offices, we are thrilled to be able to contribute to this growing interest in startups. We will keep working hard to contribute to the ecosystem with the bits that we need to succeed, together, so that the “next Spotifys” come from here.
Recently, I have disagreed with the common thought that Cornershop is just “an app.” It is a network that distributes provisions we need to create a happy home, on-demand.
Read the original thread in Spanish here.