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A unique ensemble supports capacity-building for potential VC investors in Peru

Continuous capacity-building about Venture Capital should accompany new funds made available to entrepreneurs. A group of organizations came together in the second semester of 2021 to train 19 participants about investing in startups.

The startup ecosystem in Peru is developing, thus there are many gaps to fill. Where Venture Capital (VC) is concerned, two important issues are a low offer of early-stage capital and a lack of trained talent to make investments in this asset class.

Thankfully, different stakeholders from the government to private associations are doing the work to fill in these gaps. In the second half of 2021, an important collaboration opportunity between five organizations was assembled to tackle the issue of trained talent.

After the Fund of Funds of USD20 million was approved by the Peruvian Government in early 2020, COFIDE, the development bank that leads the initiative formed an investment committee to review various proposals from funds. As the selection process began, a concern lingered: Does Peru have enough trained talent in VC to support the placement of this capital?

Focusing on this, COFIDE, engaged two economic development programs, SeCompetitivo, and Swiss EP to aid in the selection and financing of a program designed to bring VC expertise to potential local investors.

“The sustainability of the Fund of funds requires trained fund managers to deploy wisely the resources that will be provided. However, Peru’s venture capital ecosystem is still developing. On one hand, there is a small generation of fund managers that were willing to invest in this asset class. On the other hand, a small group of angel investors providing financial resources to entrepreneurs in pre-seed stage. In this context, it is utterly important to train and build the capacity in VC investment among Peruvian first-time fund managers, as well as increase the number of angel investors that will support entrepreneurs in the very beginning stages of their ventures.”
Aimi Yamamura, Development and Innovation Manager @ COFIDE

Efino, a higher-education consultancy firm led by three investors, Brigitte Baumann, Clara Alonso, and Maria Carolina Romero, with over 30 years of accumulated experience investing in Europe and Asia joined the mission. Efino was a perfect fit because of their experience delivering capacity-building programs in ecosystems of different stages, their knowledge of LatAm, and their use of the Spanish language.

"The caliber of the guest speakers, local partners, entrepreneur founders and participants of the program exceeded our expectations. It was a great experience for us - Efino - to design and deliver this program in a young tech dynamic country such as Peru. Looking forward to witnessing the evolution of the investor and entrepreneurial ecosystem."
Maria Carolina Romero, Partner @ EFINO

The final ingredient of the collaboration ensemble was PECAP, the Peruvian Association of Venture Capital, which would support COFIDE in the implementation of the program.

"From PECAP we supported with local knowledge and connection to relevant actors of the entrepreneur ecosystem. This added to the experience of the Efino team and created a unique program for our participants who were very engaged in all sessions.”
Franklin Cerna, Consultant @ PECAP

The four-month program ran from September to December 2021. It was tailored to future first-time fund managers and angel investors. The topics covered included the basics of investing, due diligence, and establishing a fund. The program had 19 participants, including founders, potential angel investors, and first-time fund managers, who took part in 7 live sessions and personalized coaching meetings. The training offered hands-on experience, inviting two startups to be part of a mock due diligence process that also involved other local partners such as lawyers.

“… the program exceeded my expectations and I highlight the dedication of Maria Carolina Romero and Brigitte Baumann Gervais for transferring all their knowledge and experience...”
Percy Urteaga Crovetto, Participant and Director of Transformation Acceleration @ BCP Bank

As an outcome, there is more local trained talent that received exposure to the ins and outs of venture capital and investing in startups. Moreover, the participants were able to network and connect with the EFINO group, and others in the ecosystem. Capacity-building for individuals interested in participating in the startup and venture capital ecosystem should be a priority and an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to create dynamic ensembles to work towards the common goal of strengthening the local startup ecosystem.