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Business Management

Mexico's Naranya Has Global Ambitions

Mexico has long been viewed as having outstanding growth opportunities. It has vast scale, extending to almost two million square kilometres, and the fifth highest population in the world at about 113 million people. It is also of course a neighbour to the United States, even if that relationship has often been fractious. More recently, Mexico has developed a significant and growing technology economy as cities and towns have seen startups emerge.

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We spoke to Arturo Galvan,
CEO and founder of one of the hottest companies in Mexico, Naranya, about challenges and opportunities.

 

 

How would you describe the company?

Naranya is the leading mobile internet company in Latin America. Founded in Monterrey in 2002, it has approximately 300 employees distributed over 10 countries in Latin America plus business development operations in the USA, China and Europe. Our revenue growth has been [growing] above 40% for the last five years and we aim to maintain it. Some of Naranya’s business partners include telephone carriers such as America Móvil, Telefónica, Millicom and many more, as well as media companies, game and app publishers and developers, consumer brands, etc. 

Naranya is a Mexican multinational company, leader in the mobile internet industry, which for over 10 years has created the platforms to connect the communications, content, and commerce ecosystem in high-growth markets. We connect the 3 “Cs” through innovation in the digital and mobile space.

 

The mobile sector globally continues to grow rapidly all over the world. How are you are taking advantage of that growth?

Internet penetration in Latin America and other emerging markets will go from the 20-30% range to the 80-100% range in only three to four years. This will create what I like to call a “Digital Tsunami”. Only in Latin America, 300 million people will become online citizens thanks to the the arrival of low-cost smartphones. In all emerging markets, this number will be above three billion new digital consumers. That’s why Naranya has developed a mobile monetization and distribution platform that allows more than 550 million consumers in Latin America to discover and pay for digital goods, establishing the underpinnings of a huge digital market in the region including consumers, brands and app content providers.

 

How does being a Mexican company affect your opportunity for growth?

Growth is based on innovation and execution. Being from Mexico or Ukraine does not make a big difference for this. [There have been] great recent success stories where [companies were] born outside the developed economies and this is an unstoppable trend.

From another perspective, being a Mexican company give us an edge when your strategy is around the emerging markets. We live in an emerging market, we understand its culture, its idiosyncrasies. We can scale better.

 

How easy is it for Mexican companies to grow across Latin America?

There is fantastic work done by successful companies that have built a strong reputation for Mexican companies outside Mexico, placing Mexico in the minds of many. While there will always be some kind of barrier to enter a new market, as a Mexican company it is easier than for companies coming from abroad. We share with Latin America more than just the language, we can understand human relations better, we can identify ourselves with people from the consumer perspective but also at business level; hiring the right team and establishing good alliances is always key to a successful growth strategy.  

 

Is it easier to grow in the Spanish-speaking countries rather than Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil?

In spite of the language, all these Latin American countries have in common that they are all emerging markets. The opportunities are similar. Latin America is becoming a connected region of the world and the opportunities to provide new services and solutions to the market are huge. And that is our focus: to create a mobile ecosystem in Latin America that enables commerce of digital goods, such as apps and games, music, video, content, etc. 

 

You have offices in San Francisco, Miami and China. How did those come about?           

All these offices are focused to connect the different global innovative ecosystems with the Latin American market. There are many players in the digital economy that have not taken advantage of this high-growth market of LatAm and we are enabling this bridge. To have our presence within these economic and digital hubs was a priority for the growth of our business.

 

Do you have plans to expand to Europe and other parts of the world?

Europe is an important part of the mobile ecosystem. However, there is not only Europe but also the Middle East now playing an increasing role in the innovation value chain. We want to connect all these markets to LatAm and LatAm to all of these markets.

 

What is the thinking behind Naranya*LABS?

Naranya*LABS is part of our Naranya Ventures strategy. Naranya Ventures was born out of the need to provide funding, support, and resources for technology startups aiming at high growth economies, especially those in the mobile ecosystem.

We believe that in order for entrepreneurs to be successful they have to be able to cross the “Death Valley” they face between their creation and the opportunity to reach funding from venture capital. Through Naranya Ventures’ initiatives, we aim to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem players: entrepreneurs, investors, academia, government, media, and support organizations.

Naranya Ventures includes Naranya Labs which is the global leading mobile media and commerce startup accelerator in Latin America. Fifteen companies have participated in the acceleration process. In 2015 we want to double that number.

To ensure continuity for startups, we developed Naranya Innovation Fund that will soon start a fundraising process. Finally, we developed Naranya Knowledge, which organizes conferences, seminars and masters programs in alliance with diverse local and global educational institutions in order to develop the understanding of the digital ecosystem and promote the opportunity to develop new businesses between both entrepreneurs and investors in Latin America.

 

Chile has been highly successful in encouraging startups. How well is Mexico doing in promoting its technology economy?

The Mexican scene is going through a reinvention phase, where the entrepreneurs are redirecting the target and strategy towards the 21st century, where cities like Monterrey are realizing that technology and the digital world will play a key role in the development of the country. Because of this, Mexico is beginning to encourage startups to develop their business models. And over the last three years, the state of Nuevo Leon has distinguished itself for supporting global startups that offer services for mobile technology.

Since the creation of INADEM in late 2012, new funds have emerged, new accelerators, incubators, and many entrepreneurs have received funding. Mexico possesses enough talent, a growing market, and an advantageous geographic location. We believe the different players in the ecosystem are adding up to help Mexico become one of the future leaders in tech entrepreneurship.

 

Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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