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Startup explorers Andrew Mewborn and Armand Pizzicarola plan to write about their journey for GeekWire

We’re embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of a lifetime.

As recent college graduates who view the world as their playground, nothing was going to hold us back from combining the two things we love: innovation and travel. Sure we could have taken steady jobs after graduating. And sure, that may have been the safe choice. But life is dull without adventure, so we booked a one-way flight to Colombia to begin the journey.

We just set off for Bogotá ready to dive into the entrepreneurial landscape of the country. In our open-ended journey, we hope to learn about what drives startup cultures in South America and perhaps discover a little more about ourselves as well. It’s easy for us to think we have an idea about what this adventure will look like, but we know better than that.

A Bit About Us

We’ve been involved in entrepreneurship since our sophomore year at Seattle University. After developing our first startup, Swilo, (currently on shelf until mobile payments progress) we realized anything was possible and organized an attempt to break the world-record for the largest water-balloon fight: Seattle Party Camp. It started as a side-project, but it quickly turned into a full-time commitment as we got closer to the event. Unfortunately, the event didn’t break the record, but we raised more than $55,000 for charity.

What Now?

Following the event, we heard an increasing amount of buzz about the developing startup ecosystem in South America. As travel enthusiasts who love entrepreneurship, it was obvious that we had to go and check it out for ourselves.

We began reaching out to startup incubators and accelerators all around South America who connected us with awesome entrepreneurs we could chat with about the startup scene. In our many conversations, it became clear that there were cultural uniquenesses that surrounded the entrepreneurs and affected their problems, solutions and creativity in tackling challenges.

We believe stories like these (1) need to be unearthed and showcased to the world, and (2) can inspire startup enthusiasts here in the states to start something of their own that makes a difference for the community.

Ready. Set. Go.

Image of South America via Shutterstock

As adventurers at heart, we booked a one-way flight to Colombia to begin the journey. From there, we’ll head south through Peru and Ecuador to Chile, turning east to Argentina, and moving through Uruguay in to Brazil. In our travels, which should take around four months, we’ll rely on local connections in the startup communities to point us to the best stories.

We’ll look at how local circumstances generate creativity, and how entrepreneurs solve problems, many of which will be far different from what we’re familiar with here in Seattle. A startup culture is emerging in South America. We look to dive in headfirst, and I hope you’ll come with us on the journey.


We’re excited to be able to share some of the stories we uncover with the GeekWire community over the next few weeks. Some stories will be useful for local entrepreneurs tackling problems, some will shine a light on the use local tech companies’ software in Latin America, and others will be just plain interesting.

As we progress, we’re very interested in sharing these stories, along with our own adventure, in the form of a documentary series down the road. We like to describe it as Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” for startups. Producers out there: we’d love to chat!

yumas444We’ve already gotten a head start on speaking to entrepreneurs in Latin America and across the world.

We’ve compiled stories in a collection of podcasts, which you can check out here. We release a new one every Monday and Thursday and will continue to do so while in South America. And if you would like to keep up with our whereabouts and/or recent discoveries or stories you can follow us on Twitter @yumas_.

Thanks for reading. We hope you are as excited as we are about our discoveries in the Latin America startup scene.

Armand Pizzicarola and Andrew Mewborn are a students of the world, startup enthusiasts, and writers/podcasters for Yumas. Keep up with their journey on Twitter @yumas_, subscribe to their podcast on iTunes, and/or drop them a note via email.

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