Viva Colombia!

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Tara and I have made our way back to London after spending an amazing 10 days in Colombia. Much of this fantastic experience was due to our friends Juan and Natalia, who graciously guided us through their home country – they were truly the best hosts imaginable.

Juan and I met through my MBA program at Imperial College London. We introduced our wives and quickly realized they were American/Colombian replicas of each other. Unfortunately after school ended Juan and Natalia moved home, but have stayed in close contact.

Considering my knowledge of Colombia came almost exclusively from Clear and Present Danger, I expected our promises of “one day” visiting would be later rather than sooner. After more than a year or broken promises, my Things I’d like to do in 2013 post (which included traveling more) spurred us to finally schedule the trip.

A lasting impression

10 amazing days in Colombia later as we waited to board our flight home, Tara mentioned how interesting it was that most Colombians asked if we were enjoying our trip. This wasn’t the typical “how’s your trip going?” but rather a “we really hope you’re enjoying your time in Colombia, and encourage you to tell the world know how great this place is!”

Encountering so many Colombians who were genuinely proud of their country left a lasting impression. Funny enough, we learned the country’s motto is: “Colombia is Passion.” At first, the saying seemed silly… how can a country represent passion? And maybe 20 years ago it would indeed have been silly; but today’s Colombia is certainly bursting with passion.

They want the world to know their country has come a long way in 20 years. This was surely not the Colombia I envisioned.

Is Colombia the next Dropbox?

An interesting takeaway from my trip has been Colombia’s striking similarity to a promising startup.

When evaluating a potential investment, most investors like to think they employ analytical screening methods. In my experience most due diligence merely validates an initial hunch – a self fulfilling prophecy if you may.

This initial investment hunch may come from a variety of sources – for instance industry insight, but more often than not investors look first for entrepreneurs who are excited to solve their own problem. In essence, they’re passionate about delivering change.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Passion is infectious, and without it good luck attracting initial employees or raising funds.

If I were evaluating Colombia from an investment perspective, I’d say the signs are all present for a massive return potential. The economy is growing quickly, security has stabilised, and most importantly an army of passionate goodwill ambassadors represent a baked-in marketing advantage.

And the initial traction is already showing. Socialatom Ventures launched in late 2012 and this year Wayra is expanding it’s Latin America efforts to Colombia through a startup and investor summit. Both are supported by a variety of mentors and investors, many that have returned to Colombia after successful startup careers in the US and EU.

With the inherent tourism viral effects in place to spread the “gospel of Colombia”, I’m guessing you’ll soon hear first hand about many amazing experiences like mine in this country. As you can tell, I’m long Colombia and already looking forward to my next trip back.

About Andy Shannon

Hi, I’m Andy and this is my blog, hope you enjoy. Feel free to get in touch anytime via Twitter or Linkedin