Exploring the Medellin tech community

Botero in Medellin A few weeks back, I had the privilege of going down to Medellin, Colombia to meet with a number of people in the tech/hacker community down there. My overall impression was “wow, imagine what these ‘kids’ could do with more resources.”

All of the hackers I met work for foreign companies. ALL of them. Most of them work remotely too. Their english overall was much better than expected (compared to my experiences in Peru, and Argentina). These guys are industrious too; they see a problem (lack of employers locally) so they solved it by working for foreigners. A few work in enterprise for local companies, but the vast majority of the top developers are pulling in competitive salaries overseas.

Some very sharp developers are building cool things down there too. I met a guy whose team even submitted for YC Summer 2012, and this was his second time submitting for YC (different idea). Lots of guys there were self taught iOS or Android or Rails developers working in Medellin.

I see a lot of parallels though between the Medellin community and that of South Florida. First and foremost, there is talent, and its hiding out in an oft-ignored location. This talent is itching for social outlets to get together and talk shop. They feel that they lack opportunities to create their own companies and projects because of a lack of available financing. There is also a dearth of space for these hackers to collaborate in (coworking).

So as a self-appointed unofficial ambassador to the tech community in South Florida, how can we help the bubbling communities like Medellin foment their efforts? What can we provide that we have that they need to get going? How can we help other communities in Latin America?

If you’re a community leader or motivated hacker in Latin America, please comment below or email me myname at gmail and we’ll get this conversation started.

  • http://twitter.com/CarlosAOrdonez Carlos Ordonez

    I have been visiting Medellin for number of years. I have good friends there, some of them that studied Electrical Engineering with me, and I can say that Medellin is a unique place particularly because their people have an innate drive of creating businesses. I will say that most Colombians do, but particularly them. The Universities in Medellin offer a great level of education, in a small community that could move rather fast. 
    What I suggest  can be done is try to providing some coaching of how to create a tech entrepreneurship culture, similar to the one in the US in a small scale. Tackle some of the legal aspects, like vesting, coaching them  how to pitch an idea and helping them get some exposures to VCs. The legal part is critical, since the system in Colombia is not as flexible as in the US. But what country in Latin America has a pro-business system like the one in the US? None.Here a few of the cool Colombian tech people dealing on startups. http://www.quora.com/What-are-some-notable-startups-in-Colombia

  • http://twitter.com/LopezCatherine Catherine Lopez

    Hi Brian, Will email you.I think we can have quite a productive conversation around Medellin. There are a few initiatived going on, in particular Coderise. Check out coderise.org.