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Latin venture plans July B2B conference and startup competition.

Hundreds of e-business entrepreneurs will converge on Miami on July 20-21 for the "Latin Venture Business-to-Business Conference and Startup Competition" to learn about the latest trends in the Latin new media industry, receive entrepreneurial advice, network with potential investors, and participate in a structured business plan competition.

"Our mission is to facilitate the creation of successful e-businesses targeting the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world by creating an online and offline platform through which Latin entrepreneurs and new media professionals all over the world can exchange ideas for new ventures and obtain easy access to the international venture capital community," says David Bernad, founder and chief executive officer of Latin Venture, the Miami-based company holding the conference. "We are the pioneers in organizing massive financing rounds designed to maximize exposure and facilitate networking for the Latin community worldwide. We are the best friend of the Latin entrepreneur, helping them obtain access to smart venture capital financing."

Confirmed conference participants to date include Latin Trade, Business Technology, I-Biz, Agrozona, Active Assets, Verticalnet, Asista, FreeMarkets, Telefonica B2B, SAP America, IBM, ORACLE, Xpedior, Venta.com, Decidir.com, Spydre Labs, Btoben, I-Network, DLJ, Chase Capital Partners, Citigroup, Bain & Co., Softbank, Terra Networks, Intermediario.com and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

With the Latin American business-to-consumer space becoming increasingly competitive, more investors and entrepreneurs are beginning to explore online business-to-business (B2B) opportunities.

"B2B electronic exchanges present a very lucrative investment scenario in Latin America since the majority of mid or large-sized companies in the region have Internet access, trade large volumes on regular basis and have established relationships with international courier services that facilitate fulfillment," says Bernad.

E-commerce in Latin America will grow to US$82 billion in 2004. As in other geographies, Latin America's Internet economy will be principally powered by business-to-business (B2B) trade, accounting for more than US$76 billion or 93% of the total E-commerce pie (Forrester Research). To encourage that growth, Bernad founded Latin Venture in 1999, launching a quarterly series of two-day conferences in Miami. "Miami is the hub to the Americas," says Bernad. "It's where everybody comes to meet and talk about the Latin Internet."

Latin Venture's sold-out March 2-3 conference brought together nearly 650 professionals from the venture capital industry, Fortune 500 corporations and Internet startups. Conference participants included hundreds of Latin Internet startups seeking funding and entrepreneurial advice.

In addition to entrepreneurial discussions, 15 pre-selected startup companies presented their business plans to more than 100 venture capitalists in private rooms. The three companies that caught investors' attention were iCaramba.com, LatinArte.com and Emprecentro.com. As the winner of this first Latin Venture startup competition, iCaramba.com received a $25,000 NetGen e-commerce solution package donated by IBM. Other presenting startups included MovilGo, RadioFutura.com, DGolpe.com, Plaza Directa, 123Vendido, i2Networks, AmericaSalud.com, Autologia.com, TodoBebe.com, i-Trademarket, BNAmericas, and Mercantil.com. Less than three months after the event, seven of the 15 have already closed their first round of financing.

Born in Spain, Bernad was an industrial engineering and economics major at Columbia University in New York. He created his first online venture in 1996, Arriba New York, an entertainment portal for Manhattan's Latin community. Prior to founding Latin Venture, he was a consultant for the Mitchell Madison Group (now March First), an international technology and management consulting firm. "As a consultant, I traveled extensively throughout Latin America, including Buenos Aires, S[tilde{a}]o Paulo and Mexico City, in a variety of banking and technology engagements that gave me firsthand knowledge and contacts throughout the region."

In addition to helping Latin entrepreneurs get funded, Latin Venture publishes a newsletter that reaches thousands of Latin new media professionals throughout the world via e-mail every week. Bernad plans to make Latin Venture's experience in the venture capital cycle and the new-enterprise-formation process available online for Latin entrepreneurs worldwide by the end of this summer.

Furthermore, Latin Venture will be taking its experience in event production to S[tilde{a}]o Paulo, for a two-day conference on Dec. 7-8, 2000, and before that to New York City on Oct. 19 and 20. For more information about Latin Venture and its upcoming conferences and venture markets, visit www.latinventure.com or call the Latin Venture office at (305) 466-2213.
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Author:Bernad, David
Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Words:707
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