Mexico City is huge — its startups plan on being huge too. Here are 5 you should know
It's hard to overstate just how huge Mexico City is — economically, politically, geographically and even just in terms of population, the city is massive. Home to over 22 million people, Mexico City is by far the largest Spanish speaking city on Earth and it narrowly beats out New York City to be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, the city's economy generated an estimated $411 billion, making it the 8th richest city in the world. If Mexico City was its own country it would take Austria's spot as the world's 28th largest economy and wipe out 18.8 percent of Mexico's GDP with it.
With so much going on, it's no surprise that Mexico City is home to a diverse and innovative tech scene. And, the city's startups are making moves as big as the city they call home, conquering not only the Mexican market but spreading throughout South America and, increasingly, Europe and the United States.
Without further ado, here are 5 Mexican startups you should keep your eye on:
Rappi is an e-commerce company that lets users buy just about anything from anyone, anywhere, and then have someone deliver it to just about anywhere else. Let's say you're too hungover to go out and get coffee and breakfast — with the touch of a button, Rappi will dispense a courier to get it for you. Same goes for just about anything else you might want. Restaurants, groceries, a new iPhone, a six-pack and even a run to the ATM can all be achieved through the platform. There's even an option to have a courier come to your house and play FIFA on Playstation should you be both incredibly wealthy and unpopular. The company is a graduate of Y Combinator and the service now works in Brazil and Colombia as well as Mexico.
Lavandero is what happens when your neighborhood laundromat goes hightech. The company partners with local laundromats and a small army of bicycle couriers to offer users pickup and dropoff service via an app. At the press of a button one of those guys in the photo above will come to your house and pick up your stinky laundry and, less than 24 hours later, they'll come back with it clean and neatly folded. In a lot of ways it's like living with your mother — just without actually having to live with your mother.
Frogtek operates a point-of-sale system for small shopkeepers in emerging markets. Their service allows mom-and-pops to have the same sort of tools big corporate stores enjoy, leveling the playing field for the small guys. Frogtek's service gives small businesses access to barcode scanners, credit card machines and in-depth analytics about sales and inventory. And, it's wildly popular. The company says that they're working with over 800,000 shopkeepers in Mexico and another 500,000 in Colombia.
ZaveApp turns your smartphone into a piggy bank. The concept is super-simple — every time you pay for something with a credit card, ZaveApp will round up and put the leftover change into a savings account. Over time that change adds up and, eventually, you can pull your accumulated money out and buy whatever you've been saving for. Of course, the downside of this arrangement is that you cannot dip your hand into a digital change jar whenever you're cash-poor and in need of a coffee, but at least this way it doesn't turn into a giant bowl of pennies.
Econduce operates a scooter-share system that works, more or less, like a bikeshare platform. There are a couple of plans to choose from, but the basic concept is similar to any other bikeshare platform. Use the app to find a nearby scooter and reserve it — after that you can go wherever you want and you're charged by the amount of time you use the service. The company's fleet of scooters are electric, surprisingly zippy and come with a helmet. Given Mexico City's notoriously bad traffic (and pollution), we're guessing Econduce has a bright future.
Images via companies featured.