20. Building for a Mobile First World in Latin America with Felipe Echandi, Co-Founder of Cuanto

May 19, 2020

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"The homogeneity around the Latin American cultural experience helps to actually aspire to create regional platforms."

Felipe Echandi is the co-founder of Cuanto, a YCW19 startup based in Panama. Cuanto allows small merchants and independent Latin American entrepreneurs to create their mobile-first online store to sell over social-media. Think of Shopify for LatAm's social media-based e-commerce experience. Prior to Cuanto, Felipe has extensive experience in blockchain and Fintech.

In this episode, we discuss the state of the LATAM fintech and e-commerce ecosystem, where he draws inspiration as he builds his startup, and the future of mobile in emerging markets.

What We Discussed

[1:55] Tell me about your background

[7:35] Why did you build Cuanto?

[11:53] What's the main difference between Cuanto and Shopify?

[14:08] What is your relationship with the rest of the infrastructure providers like payments and logistics?

[18:35] Decentralized vs. Centralized E-Commerce Platforms

[20:25] The state of payments in LATAM and micropayments

[23:50] Will LATAM go through the credit card wave before mobile payments?

[27:49] Will there be consolidation in the payment space?

[32:39] What takeaways from your time in the US was helpful in working in LATAM? Do you draw inspiration from other markets as well?

[37:39] Why did you choose to base in Panama?

[40:38] What do you need to pay attention to when working in LATAM to mitigate risks like economic cycles and political swings?

[43:31] What do you think other markets can learn from LATAM or what you're doing with Cuanto?

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