News & Highlights

  • SEPTEMBER 2023
  • EVENT

Nubank: Democratizing Financial Services Case Discussion

In September 2023, Professor Michael Chu taught the case Nubank: Democratizing Financial Services to a Latin American faculty group. A total of 45 professors attended the session and discussed Nubank’s expansion to Mexico, its business model, and its use of technology. To wrap up the event, Professor Chu shared his insights on how to teach a class, showing his teaching plans and objectives. Faculty from Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile enjoyed this unique interaction.
  • AUGUST 2023
  • EVENT

Professor Paul Gompers's Visit to Latin America

In August 2023, Professor Paul Gompers travelled to Latin America with the primary objective of exploring the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. During his stay in Latin America, Professor Gompers engaged with numerous entrepreneurs, policymakers, as well as private equity and venture capital firms. His itinerary included visits to key countries in the region, such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico. Additionally, he capitalized on the opportunity to reconnect with HBS alumni and friends of LARC, visiting with the HBS Club in Brazil, the Harvard Club in Argentina, and the HBS Club in Mexico. The insights gathered during his visit will be integrated into his upcoming course and book entitled Entrepreneurship Outside the Valley.
  • MAY 2023
  • COMPANY VISIT

Professor Michael Chu Meets with Ceibal

Professors Michael Chu and John Kim co-authored a case in 2022 about Ceibal, an organization within the Ministry of Education of Uruguay, devoted to educational innovation. In May 2023, Professor Chu visited Ceibal and held a stimulating case discussion with Ceibal's management, encouraging them to pursue their mission and be a key factor to leverage the country's opportunities in the global context.
  • APRIL 2023
  • ALUMNI EVENT

Professor Christina Wing's Visit to Brazil

In April, Professor Christina Wing traveled to Brazil to develop a case study on a family business. She also seized the opportunity to meet with OPM participants. Additionally, as part of her trip, the Latin America Research Center and Young Presidents' Organization collaborated to organize a breakfast meeting with young leaders. The purpose of this gathering was to explore strategies for effectively preparing companies for the challenges and opportunities of the next generation.
  • JULY 2022
  • EVENT

Conversation with Professor Michael Chu and Marcelo Escobar

In July, Professor Michael Chu and Marcelo Escobar, president of Banco Sol in Bolivia, talked to entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra about the impact of technology in financial services. Escobar leveraged his extensive experience in Latin America, venture capital, and base of pyramid markets.

New Research on the Region

  • January 2024
  • Case

Runa

By: Paul Gompers and Carla Larangeira

In early 2022, Courtney McColgan, founder and CEO of Runa, a human resources and payroll Software-as-a-Service platform, faced an unexpected tech market downturn. Founded in 2018, Runa catered to small and medium-sized businesses in Mexico, offering an affordable and easy-to-use cloud-based solution. McColgan, a serial entrepreneur from Southern California, firmly believed the platform could disrupt Mexico's vast industry, and become a billion-dollar business. After an initial period of rapid growth during its first 18 months of operations, and amidst hiring a new executive team, Runa’s growth began to falter as attracting new clients became increasingly hard, and customer acquisition costs increased. In August 2021, Runa raised more funds amidst an unprecedented expansion in venture capital investment in Latin America, and it deployed additional marketing strategies and developed new products to entice customers. However, by early 2022, the venture scenario grew gloomier, and tech companies began to take cautionary measures. How should Runa adapt to a potentially more limited funding scenario and perhaps even less favorable growth prospects in the short run? Would dramatic structural and strategic changes be needed? Or should McColgan consider shutting down her business and create a new venture?

  • January 2024
  • Case

Colbún and Chile’s Energy Transition

By: Forest Reinhardt, Jenyfeer Martinez Buitrago and Mariana Cal

In May 2023, Colbún, Chile’s second-largest electricity generator, plans capacity expansions using renewable energy and storage. This strategy supports Chile’s commitment to carbon neutrality (also known as net zero emissions) by 2050. The case delves into the advantages and disadvantages of several energy sources and storage technologies, taking into account Chile's energy transition pathway. Colbún aims to expand while ensuring a reliable 24/7 power supply, a challenge due to the intermittent nature of some energy sources, such as solar and wind technologies. To this end, the company must consider complementary energy sources and storage solutions. Additionally, there is a need for new or upgraded transmission lines to transport electricity from new plants, along with regulatory changes to accommodate energy source characteristics. However, these changes are not unfolding as rapidly as renewable energy projects across the country. Chile has become a global hotspot for solar and wind energy developers, but several companies are already running into obstacles. José Ignacio Escobar, who became Colbún’s CEO in 2022, must navigate these intricate landscape to determine whether to expedite the company's shift into renewable energies. This choice includes selecting the most suitable technologies to invest in while striking a balance among competitiveness, energy security, reliability, and the sustainability of the energy system. Taking a close look at Colbún’s operations, this case illustrates the intricacies of conducting business in the context of global energy markets. It particularly underscores the challenges posed by the ongoing decarbonization of energy systems.

  • December 2023
  • Case

Santa Elena: Table Grape Production in Chile’s Water-Challenged Regions

By: Forest Reinhardt, Jenyfeer Martinez Buitrago and Mariana Cal

In 2023, as global warming had been changing conditions for agriculture in Chile, and after a 13-year-long drought, Santa Elena, Chile’s fifth-ranking table grape exporter, had to make a decision about its production strategy for the future.

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Montevideo Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Christopher P. Torto Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Associate Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Senior Researcher
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager
Karina Souza
Senior Researcher

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher

São Paulo Staff

Patricia Thome
Assistant Director, Educational Programs
Pedro Levindo
Senior Researcher