By Cristina Silva / International Business Times
When Manuel Emilio Morato Mungaray started hosting hackathons in Mexico City two years ago, he wanted to persuade a generation of Mexican entrepreneurs that they could be the next Mark Zuckerberg. He put housewives, high school students, business majors and hipsters in the same room and started a dialogue about product design and solving problems by thinking of solutions others hadn’t tried.
“Mexico in my opinion is a very traditionalist country, it’s a country that is very rooted in the past,” Morato Mungaray, 28, said. “They don’t have access to the mind frame of Silicon Valley where it’s like, oh, I can conquer the world. Here, people say, ‘No, I can never be a Mark Zuckerberg’ and when they come to us, we say, ‘Of course you can.’”
Tech leaders in recent years have hailed Mexico City as one of the most dynamic startup scenes in Latin America, with hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and prestigious universities producing 130,000 engineers per year, more than Canada, Brazil or even Germany. Investors from California have begun to notice, taking meetings in Mexico with startups hoping to change how Mexicans shop, eat and manage their businesses.
But even as a growing tech scene spreads across Mexico City’s trendiest neighborhoods in coffee shops and mescal bars brimming with educated young people, Mexico’s tech leaders have struggled to attract serious investors and persuade its best developers to stay put.