Assured Labor

Infographic: Employment and Technology use in Mexico and Brazil 2013

It’s been a tremendous year at Assured Labor, filled with challenges and opportunities. We’re thrilled to have placed thousands of people placed in life-changing jobs. With 2013 coming to an end we wanted to share some insights into Web, Mobile, and Jobs in Brazil and Mexico. Things are heating up in Mobile Recruitment and we look forward to keeping in touch over the year ahead.

All the Best in 2014!

The Assured Labor team

infographic-assuredlabor-01Employment and Technology use in Mexico and Brazil 2013

  • “Employment is the keystone of economic and social development” – World Development Report 2013 – World Bank
  • Population in Millions
    • Mexico – 120,800,000 people
    • Brazil – 198,700,000 people
  • Active Labor Force:
    • Mexico: 43% of the population
    • Brazil: 51.9% of the population 
  • Unemployment rates in the last 13 years
    • Unemployment rates in Mexico:
      • From 2000 to 2009, unemployment in Mexico rose from 4% to approximately 7%.
      • From 2009 to 2013 unemployment in Mexico fell from 7% to approximately 5%.
      • The unemployment rate in Mexico in 2013 stands at 5.22%.
    • Unemployment rates in Brazil:
      • From 2000 to 2005 the unemployment rate in Brazil increased form 8% to almost 10%.
      • From 2005 to 2013 the unemployment rate in Brazil fell from 10% to approximately 5%.
      • The unemployment rate in Brazil in 2013 stands at 5.5%.
  • Formal and Informal Jobs:
    • Mexico
      • 60% of the Mexican labor force is involved in the informal economy
      • 40% of the Mexican labor force holds a formal sector job
    • Brazil
      • 47% of the Brazilian labor force currently works in the informal economy.
      • 53% of Brazilian labor force works in the formal economy.
  • Internet Penetration, Web, and Mobile:
    • Mexico
      • Mexico’s cellphone penetration rate (total cellphone subscriptions divided by the total population) is 90%.
      • 37% of Mexico’s population is on the internet
      • 23% of Mexico’s population has access to the internet via mobile
    • Brazil
      • Brazil’s cellphone penetration rate (total cellphone subscriptions divided by the total population) is 133%, meaning there are more phones than people.
      • 46% of Brazil’s population is on the Internet.
      • 26% of Brazil’s population can access the Internet via mobile.
  • Top Web Sites in Mexico & Brazil in 2013
    • Most visited websites in Mexico in 2013
      • google.com.mx
      • facebook.com
      • google.com
      • youtube.com
      • live.com
      • yahoo.com
      • wikipedia.org
      • twitter.com
      • mercadolibre.com.mx
      • msn.com
    • Most visited websites in Brazil in 2013
      • facebook.com
      • google.com.br
      • google.com
      • youtube.com
      • uol.com.br
      • globo.com
      • live.com
      • yahoo.com
      • blogspot.com.br
      • mercadolivre.com.br

About EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá

  • About our Employers: We work with more than 25,000 companies, that post jobs every day on our websites. The following statistics show a breakdown of the number of job posts released on our job boards by the size of the company:
    • Jobs released on www.empleolisto.com.mx (our Mexican Job Board):
      • 1 to 25 Employees: 4.4%.
      • 26 to 75 Employees: 24%
      • 76 to 150 Employees: 14%
      • 150 to 500 Employees: 5%
      • More than 500 Employees: 3%
    • Jobs released on www.trabalhoja.com.br (our Brazilian Job Board):
      • 1 to 25 Employees  38%.
      • 26 to 75 Employees  26%
      • 76 to 150 Employees  17%
      • 150 to 500 Employees  8%
      • More than 500 Employees  8%
  • Job seekers using EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá by gender and age:
    • Mexican Job Seekers by Gender:
      • 48% of Mexican job seekers in are female
      • 52% of Mexican job seekers in are males
    • Mexican Job Seekers by Age:
      • 24% of Mexican job seekers are age 22 and older
      • 37% of Mexican job seekers range from 22 – 30 years old
      • 22% of Mexican job seekers range from 30 to 40 years old
      • 17% of Mexican job seekers are 40 years of age or older
    • Brazilian Job Seekers by Gender
      • 61% of job seekers in Brazil are female
      • 39% of job seekers in Brazil are male
    • Brazilian Job Seekers by Age:
      • 32.8% of job seekers are age 22 and older
      • 28.8% of job seekers range from 22 to 30 years in age
      • 22.8% of job seekers range from 30 to 40 years in age
      • 14.8% of job seekers are 40 years of age or older
  • Job Posts and Job Seekers on EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá by Job category:
    • Mexico – Job Posts by job type category:
      • Administration positions: 17%
      • Sales positions: 21%
      • Operations positions: 22%
      • Hotels & Restaurants positions: 7%
      • Accounting positions: 10%
      • IT positions: 10%
      • Other professions: 12%
    • Brazil – Job Posts by job type category
      • Administration positions: 7%
      • Sales positions: 44%
      • Operations jobs: 27%
      • Hotels & Restaurants jobs: 8%
      • Accounting positions: 2%
      • IT jobs: 8%
      • Other professions: 5%
    • Mexico – Job Seekers by job type category:
      • Administration: 36%
      • Sales: 43%
      • Operations: 36%
      • Hotels & Restaurants: 16%
      • Accounting: 7%
      • IT: 16%
      • Other Professions: 12%
    • Brazil – Job Seekers by job type category:
      • Administration: 31%
      • Sales: 46%
      • Operations: 48%
      • Hotels & Restaurants: 11%
      • Accounting: 4%
      • IT: 12%
      • Other Professions: 8%

       

TWO INDUSTRY VETERANS JOIN ASSURED LABOR’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Steve Pogorzelski and André Andrade join the world leader in mobile recruitment

NEW YORK – November 5, 2013 – Assured Labor (www.assuredlabor.com), the world leader in mobile recruitment, announced today that Steve Pogorzelski and André Andrade have joined the company as members of its Board of Directors. “2013 has been a massive year for Assured Labor and we are thrilled to have these two industry juggernauts join our Board of Directors,” said David Reich, Founder and CEO of Assured Labor. “Steve helped lead Monster to its peak and is one of the most highly respected individuals in the digital recruitment sector. André’s operational ability is second to none and he is one of the most knowledgeable executives in Brazil’s mobile industry.” Steve Pogorzelski is currently the CEO of ClickFuel. Before that, Steve was with Monster from its early days in 1998 through 2008 where he served as Group President of Monster International and President of North America overseeing rapid growth in each division. “Assured Labor has tremendous potential to be a game changer in emerging markets based on its approach of empowering the jobseeker while providing employers with greater access to a differentiated pool of talent,” said Mr. Pogorzelski. André Andrade is the CEO of Titans Group and one of Latin America’s foremost experts in mobile value added services. In his 18 years in the telecommunications market he served as the COO of Movile and held executive positions at two of Brazil’s largest wireless carriers – Vivo and Claro. According to Mr. Andrade, “Assured Labor’s easy to use and mobile recruitment service has the potential to lower unemployment and increase families’ quality of life. I’m very excited to join the team.” Assured Labor’s web and mobile-based recruitment service is amongst the fastest growing in Latin America, currently serving over 25,000 employers and 750,000 job seekers in Brazil and Mexico under the brand names TrabalhoJá (www.TrabalhoJa.com.br) and EmpleoListo (www.EmpleoListo.com.mx).   About Assured Labor Assured Labor revolutionizes hiring in emerging markets. The service leverages the power of mobile phones and the Internet to rapidly connect employers with the best mid-to-low wage candidates in their area. Founded at MIT, Assured Labor’s disruptive platform is optimized for the realities of the emerging markets where three of four Internet users access the Web sporadically and nearly everyone has a cell phone. The company’s Latin American brands, EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá, are currently operating in Mexico and Brazil. For more information please visit www.AssuredLabor.com, www.EmpleoListo.com.mx and www.TrabalhoJa.com.br. For Assured Labor media inquiries, please call (888)274-2561 or email [email protected]

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Facebook launches Internet.org

Internet Penetration

August 22nd, 2013. Two days ago, Facebook announced the launch of Internet.org, a global partnership – including Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung – dedicated to accelerating the process of bringing Internet access to 5 billion people that currently lack it.

Today, there are 2.7 billion Internet users, while with a global population of approximately 7.1 billion people. In order to bring Internet connectivity to the 5 billion people that still lack it, Internet.org is focusing on expanding mobile broadband Internet access. This is logical given that mobile is increasingly the entrance point for new Internet users because of its lower barriers to entry compared to desktop access; mobile phones cost much less than computers. Mobile subscriptions on feature phones still outstrip any other form of connection: in 2012, there were 6,835 million mobile subscriptions (or 96.2% of the world), while there were only 696 million fixed broadband subscriptions (or 9.8% of the world).Global mobile trafficBuilding off this existing mobile infrastructure, mobile Internet traffic has reached 15% of the global total and is predicted to increase to 30% by next year, growing from 0% in 2008. In some countries, this trend towards mobile has advanced extremely rapidly. In India, for example, mobile Internet already overtook desktop access in 2012. This creates a significant opportunity for Internet.org to extend broadband access; their mobile focus is backed up by a list of partners that includes the who’s who of mobile hardware and software producers, and is expecting to work closely with mobile carriers.

India Mobile Internet Traffic

In an interview with CNN, Mark Zuckerberg (CEO, Facebook) said that Internet.org will focus on a few core objectives, but will remain flexible to pursue opportunities as they develop over time. Their primary initiatives include:

  • Making access more affordable by launching projects such as developing low-cost, high-quality smartphones for emerging markets;
  • Using data more efficiently by creating technologies such as data compression tools that will reduce the total amount of data to power most applications and Internet interactions;
  • Helping businesses drive access through the development of new business models to align incentives between operators, device manufacturers, developers and others to extend this access through sustainable markets.

Facebook has long been a pioneer in developing new and innovative access points to the Internet – and, of course, to its own social networking platform – through applications like Facebook for Every Phone, which allows feature phones without to affordably connect to Facebook. Facebook for Every Phone recently reached 100 million monthly users. Facebook has also partnered with U2opia to allow feature phone users to connect, check and update their Facebook profiles via SMS and traditional GSM technology. If Internet.org and its network of partners are successful in connecting 5 billion new users to the Internet – even if they accomplish a fraction of this goal – the landscape for every technology company focused on emerging markets will be vastly different. This new user base will create extensive opportunities to deliver necessary services. Perhaps more importantly, as Zuckerberg implies in his white paper, “Is Connectivity a Human Right?”, this will be a step forward in reducing a significant global inequality: that of connectivity and access to information through the Internet.

Forbes Mexico – How do you know if your start-up has the ‘wow factor’?

Forbes Mexico Logo

Forbes Mexico – by Viridiana Mendoza Escamilla – June 6th, 2013

 English Translation (by Allen Kramer)

Since the birth of Facebook and Twitter, technology ventures have become the protagonists of many investors’ portfolios. Today, we share the story of a company, Assured Labor, that recently closed a USD 5.5 million investment round to expand its concept in Latin America.

Since the birth of Facebook and Twitter, technology ventures have become the protagonists of many investors’ portfolios. Today, we share the story of a company, Assured Labor, that recently closed a USD 5.5 million investment round to expand its concept in Latin America.

To speak of startups, it is necessary to understand that, while not every startup is the next Facebook or Twitter, these two giants share a formula to position themselves, which is clear and available to new ventures.

It’s a series of factors that, together, become a magnet for investors. Today in the United States, there exists a sort of startup fever. Places such as Silicon Valley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have become incubators of new ideas that have converted into successful business models.

Forbes.com.mx spoke with David Reich, one of the new members of this group of technology startups. His company is Assured Labor, whose brand in Mexico is EmpleoListo, and in Brazil is called TrabalhoJá. With time, David and his team have discovered some of the factors that are part of the DNA of successful enterprises. These factors have allowed it to convince a number of investors of its wow factors. Learn here about some of the key success factors:

1. If it’s not new, it needs to be different. Facebook was not the first social network to exist, and in the same way, Assured Labor is not the first service to contact and recruit personnel. The differentiation is in the innovation. While Zuckerberg discovered the power of the status update, David Reich hit the nail on the head by closing the circle of the process of recruitment. His company distinguishes itself from other existing services because mobile technology plays a fundamental role: the people who register in search of employment receive more than just emails, but also receive text messages to organize interviews.

2. Think globally. It is always good to start with a pilot to test your idea within an environment with less complications. However, once the project begins to demonstrate international potential, it’s time to take the decision and launch for real. It is because of this that, in Mexico, EmpleoListo has been operating for over two years and has filled nearly 40,000 job vacancies. It’s important to note that, for example, since classifieds still only fill between 10% and 20% of job vacancies in emerging markets, there could be a much bigger potential for your business idea beyond your own borders.

3. It’s not just about convincing investors. Great Oaks Venture Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Kima Ventures, Enzyme Venture Capital, Fabrice Grinda, and José Marín, and most recently, Capital Índigo with its investment of USD 5.5 million, are all investors in Assured Labor. And so many funds can’t be mistaken, as just the idea of giving access to virtual recruitment to the 67% of Internet users that do not have a computer at home makes a mobile-focused service innovative and attractive. For David Reich, the more than 500,000 candidates registered were the key to convince him and the investors that his company was ready to receive new partners and resources into its ranks. Reich says that convincing himself that the company was at the ideal point to go out and look for institutional backing is an important step to take.

4. Plan, plan, plan. If Facebook hadn’t seen the potential in Instagram, it might not have spent USD 1 billion to acquire the company designed by one of Zuckerberg’s college friends. The point here is that technology companies that do not see into the future are destined to failure. “Just having financial backing is not enough. It’s necessary to have a course of action and plan for the future. You can’t go around revealing the key to your innovation plan, but it’s important that you have it clear for yourself to know the course of action you will follow.”

EmpleoListo’s platform allows candidates to be notified about offers once companies have selected them as desirable applications for the position. This makes the communication between companies and job-seekers more effective.

Original Article in Spanish at http://www.forbes.com.mx/sites/como-saber-si-tu-startup-tiene-el-wow-factor/

ASSURED LABOR CLOSES $5.5 MILLION FUNDING ROUND LED BY CAPITAL INDIGO

ASSURED LABOR CLOSES $5.5 MILLION FUNDING ROUND LED BY CAPITAL INDIGO

World leader in mobile recruitment poised to accelerate growth in emerging markets

NEW YORK – April 25, 2013 – Assured Labor (www.assuredlabor.com), the world leader in mobile recruitment, announced today that the company has closed a $5.5 million funding round led by Capital Indigo. Capital Indigo joins existing investors including, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Kima Ventures, Enzyme Venture Capital, Fabrice Grinda and Jose Marin.

“Our digital recruitment platform is taking off in Mexico and Brazil and we couldn’t be happier to add such an accomplished partner,” said David Reich, Founder and CEO of Assured Labor.  “With over 1,000 employers joining Assured Labor each month, this investment will enable us to meet that demand by growing our engineering and sales teams while solidifying our market leadership position in the mid-to-low wage segment.”

“The recruitment market in Latin America is ripe for disruption and nothing comes close to Assured Labor’s offering for recruiting lower wage job seekers. We look forward to supporting the company’s growth in Latin America and beyond,” said Bernardo Paashe, Managing Partner, Capital Indigo, who will be joining Assured Labor’s Board of Directors along with Everardo Camacho, Managing Partner, Capital Indigo.

Assured Labor’s brands in Mexico (www.EmpleoListo.com.mx) and Brazil (www.TrabalhoJa.com.br) have grown to become Latin America’s premier services for recruiting mid-to-low wage full-time employees. By leveraging the Internet, SMS, Voice User Interface and Social Media, Assured Labor enables companies to rapidly identify and reach the best job seekers in their area. With 500,000 registered job seekers and 16,000 employers, Assured Labor has become the region’s top destination for mid-to-low wage digital recruitment.

About Assured Labor

Assured Labor revolutionizes hiring in emerging markets. The service leverages the power of mobile phones and the Internet to rapidly connect employers with the best mid-to-low wage candidates in their area. Founded at MIT, Assured Labor’s disruptive platform is optimized for the realities of the emerging markets where three of four Internet users access the Web sporadically and nearly everyone has a cell phone. The company’s Latin American brands, EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá, are currently operating in Mexico and Brazil. For more information please visit www.AssuredLabor.com, www.EmpleoListo.com.mx and www.TrabalhoJa.com.br.

About Capital Indigo

Capital Indigo is a Private Equity firm based in Mexico City that is focused on mid-market private equity and mezzanine debt investments in Latin America. As an early-mover in the region’s Private Equity markets, Capital Indigo’s “Fund Indigo 1” invests in high-growth mid-sized enterprises.  The fund’s managers share over 30 years of operational, investment and startup experience in Latin America and the United States and play an active role in each of their investments. More information is available at: www.capitalindigo.com.

For Assured Labor media inquiries, please call (888)274-2561 or email [email protected]

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FORMER GENERAL MANAGER OF MONSTER.COM JOINS ASSURED LABOR – THE WORLD LEADER IN MOBILE RECRUITMENT

FORMER GENERAL MANAGER OF MONSTER.COM JOINS

ASSURED LABOR – THE WORLD LEADER IN MOBILE RECRUITMENT

Acting as Chief Operating Officer, John Hyland will lead Global Sales and Operations

NEW YORK – January 9, 2013 – Assured Labor (www.assuredlabor.com), the world leader in mobile recruitment, announced today that John Hyland has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Assured Labor, John spent eight years with Monster Worldwide where he initiated the Emerging Markets business unit for Monster® and directed the company’s launch into Mexico, Brazil, Russia and Turkey. John was responsible for business planning, launch strategy and staffing of local teams in each market. Under his leadership, the Emerging Markets business grew to over 110 people and $20 million in annual sales.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Assured Labor team,” said John Hyland. “Assured Labor’s the first true disruptor I’ve encountered in the emerging markets and the only company that’s cracked the code to deliver high quality mid-to-low wage candidates at scale. Their mobile centric technology is a game changer and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Assured Labor’s web and mobile-based recruitment service currently serves over 12,000 employers and 400,000 job seekers in Brazil and Mexico under the brand names TrabalhoJá (www.TrabalhoJa.com.br) and EmpleoListo (www.EmpleoListo.com.mx), and is the fastest growing recruitment service in Latin America.

“John is a pioneer in Emerging Market Recruitment,” said Assured Labor’s CEO, David Reich. “I look forward to working with him as we accelerate our expansion within Latin America and enter new markets. Digital recruitment spend is expected to triple over the next five years in the emerging markets and I couldn’t be happier with the team we have in place for what’s ahead.”

About Assured Labor

Assured Labor revolutionizes hiring in emerging markets. The service leverages the power of mobile phones and the Internet to rapidly connect employers with the best mid-to-low wage candidates in their area. Founded at MIT, Assured Labor’s disruptive platform is optimized for the realities of the emerging markets where three of four Internet users access the web sporadically and nearly everyone has a cell phone. The company’s Latin American brands, EmpleoListo & TrabalhoJá, are currently running in Mexico and Brazil. For more information please visit http://www.AssuredLabor.com, http://www.TrabalhoJa.com.br, or http://www.EmpleoListo.com.mx.

For Assured Labor media inquiries, please call (888)274-2561 or email [email protected].

Text Messaging reaches its 20th Anniversary

December 17th, 2012. Two weeks ago, the text message officially celebrated its 20th anniversary. The first text message – or SMS, for short message service – was sent on December 3rd, 1992 from a text engineer in London to a colleague. It said, simply, “Merry Christmas”.

Reports in BBC, Venture Beat, and The Wall Street Journal highlight the reluctant “Father of SMS”, Matti Makkonen, who had initially started developing the idea eight years before its final implementation. In an interview conducted by SMS, Makkonen stated to the BBC that, “Twenty years ago, I didn’t see SMS as separate issue – it was just a feature in the revolutionary mobile communications system. Very useful for quick business needs”.

This 20th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the role text messages and mobile technology have played in shaping the last two decades – and how they will continue to do so in coming years.

Irrespective of Makkonen’s initial intent for the technology, text messaging has become a fundamental form communication globally – and not just for ‘quick business needs’. The growth in total text messages has been exponential. A decade after the first text message was sent, there were a total of 250 billion text messages sent in 2002. Nearly a decade after that, in 2011, this number grew to 7.4 trillion. With total mobile subscriptions totaling roughly 6 billion that year, 1250 SMS were sent per user per year on average – or nearly 4 per day. This positions SMS as one of the basic, daily ways that people are interacting. In places like Colombia, text messaging is widely regarded as the cheapest method of communication – above regular phone calls.

Text messaging has played a particularly strong role in facilitating communication in emerging markets. Mobile technology has typically had lower barriers to access to individual consumers than the Internet because once the infrastructure is laid to create connectivity, a basic cellphone will generally cost 5% what a basic computer costs in those markets. For countries where large percentages of the population are poor, this cost differential allows people to access mobile phones and communicate in unprecedented ways. This is why places like Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam have over 100% mobile penetration rates, meaning there are more mobile phone subscriptions than there are people – and why China, India, and Mexico are not too far behind, within the range of 75-85%.

The access to information provided by text messaging has become a critical tool for development, lifting thousands, maybe millions, out of poverty in the span of a decade. Clever implementation of SMS has been undertaken in all sorts of industries: banking (for example, the now well-known M-PESA); agriculture (highlighted by Grameen Foundation); health (Medic Mobile); not to mention employment and recruitment. To describe the scale of the gains that are possible, recent report by Vodafone and Accenture shows that, by 2020, implementing a range of mobile agriculture solutions could increase total income for the 500 million smallholder farmers across 26 countries by US$ 138 billion – an increase of 11%.

What about the future of text messaging? It is difficult to say exactly where SMS will be another 20 years after its beginnings in 2032. It is clear, however, that text messaging will continue to shape communication for at least the next decade.

While smartphone penetration is increasing rapidly in most markets, levels are still low. In Mexico, only 14% of total mobile subscriptions are via a smartphone, and in Brazil this is still barely 20%; in India, this number is incredibly low, at 4%. In these countries where poverty and low incomes persist and there is still a cost differential between basic mobile (SMS, voice) and smartphones in both hardware and service pricing, traditional feature phones will continue to be relevant in these markets.

Without a doubt, companies that are prepared to adjust to a dynamic mobile market – one that is not so slowly shifting from the domination of most basic phones towards an elevated penetration of smartphones – will be best positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in rapidly changing emerging markets. But, chances are, the text message will still be a key building block of communication technologies in emerging markets – and will create the strongest opportunities to connect to the most disconnected markets.

Skype introduces prepaid Skype Cards in Mexico, providing a new option to access low international rates to millions

August 20th, 2012. Skype recently announced on its blog that it was releasing prepaid subscription cards, dubbed simply Skype Cards. The company is rolling out two types of cards, one, which is an unlimited subscription for calls to United States mobile and landlines, and costs USD 7.50, and another, which provides flexible Skype credit and costs USD 11.50. These products introduce a new competitive option for users that lack credit cards to access Skype’s low local and international calling rates in Mexico’s highly noncompetitive telecommunications market.

According to the Banco de México, somewhere between 90 and 100 million people in the country do not have a credit card – previously a requisite for completing purchases of Skype credit. The low credit card penetration has clearly contributed to and paralleled the high rates of prepaid mobile phone usage: in Mexico, 85% of mobile phones are prepaid. Skype has taken this prepaid trend to heart and based its recent innovation in payment methods on the conditions of the local market, creating a point of access for millions of new users.

The Mexican telecoms market is positioned to benefit from the introduction of new competitive consumer options. As reported by Bloomberg News earlier this year, Mexicans were overcharged by the phone industry $13.4 billion per year between 2005 and 2009. Recently, Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (CFC) declared Telcel as the dominant market player, opening it to asymmetric regulation by the Federal Telecommunications Commission (Cofetel). Regardless, the mobile market remains in the hands of very few players, affecting consumers greatly.

Does this new prepaid option being offered by Skype really have the potential to disrupt the Mexicans telecommunications market? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not, at least not in a big way.

First, it is important to remember that Skype is still an Internet-driven service, and Mexico’s Internet penetration rates are still below the regional average at 36.9%. While the prepaid Skype Cards overcome one barrier to accessing Skype’s service, simply having an Internet connection can present an even greater barrier for millions of potential users. This limits the potential for the service to become a big player in the market. Second, while Skype’s rates for calling internationally are extremely competitive, it is less clear how competitive they can be on domestic calls. Calling Mexican mobile phones from Skype still costs 33.6 cents per minute, way above rates for mobile-to-mobile calls with all Mexican carriers.

Regardless of whether Skype can disrupt the Mexican mobile market in its entirety, the introduction of prepaid Skype Cards in Mexico will provide a clear benefit to consumers, especially those that have family or friends abroad. We are excited to see how uptake of the Skype Cards progresses, to see what lessons or new innovations can be designed for the mobile market in Mexico.

Mexico, putting the “M” in MIST, is outgrowing the BRIC’s according to Goldman Sachs

August 9th, 2012. Mexico is spearheading the growth of the so-called MIST countries, leading this block to outperform the BRICs in the past year, as reported this week by Bloomberg news. Whereas Brazil’s Bovespa Index grew only 2.8%, Mexico’s  IPC Index (MEXBOL) grew by 11% in the past year.

The MIST bloc – an acronym of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey – is a group of emerging economies conceived of in early 2011 by Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill. The MIST countries represent $3.9 trillion in GDP and 500 million people, and are the four biggest markets in the firm’s “Next Eleven” emerging economies investment fund, which also includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, and Iran (although no investments are actually made in Iran).

Jim O’Neill is the same economist who denominated the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) group in 2001. After the consolidation of the ‘BRICs’ as a group, foreign investment flooded into these emerging economies, and largely led the trends in emerging market investing for a decade.

While the BRICs still dominate the MIST countries and N-11 fund in terms of sheer numbers, representing $13.9 trillion in total GDP and 2.9 billion people, Goldman Sachs’ N-11 fund grew at 12% this past year, whereas its BRIC fund grew at only 1.5%.

The first lesson here is that less traditional investments in emerging markets such as Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey are offering much greater returns to investors and companies. Who would have thought that Bangladesh would be part of one of Goldman’s highest performing emerging market funds? Being ahead of the curve and going off the beaten path to find new opportunities can have great returns.

The second important observation that everyone should be taking away from all of this data is that, year after year, the emerging markets that are offering real investment and business opportunities are diversifying. No longer are we just talking about the BRICs, but also the MIST bloc, and others such as The Economist Intelligence Unit’s CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa). The growing importance of emerging markets in the future of the world’s economy is now beyond doubt.

Assured Labor CEO David Reich speaks about Customer Acquisition in Emerging Markets

June 25th, 2012. Last month, Assured Labor CEO, David Reich, spoke on an Internet Week panel entitled “Riding the Wave: Customer Acquisition in Emerging Markets”. Moderated by Erica Cantor of Mobile Global, co-panelists included Paul Gollash of Voxy and Daniel Osit of Ignighter.

The conversation spanned across a number of topics under the customer discovery and acquisition banner. Principal among these topics were the difficulties of monetizing users and collecting payments in markets with less developed credit and online payment tools, and the importance localizing the services of an international company. Critical, as asserted by all the panel’s participants, is to achieve a strong understanding of the local market and the company’s potential customers.

In one telling anecdote, David Reich tells of how, while speaking with potential users of Assured Labor in Brazil’s favelas, the team realized that many people in Brazil do not understand the concept of a username. When asked to register on the site with a username, the users asked the team to provide them with one. The concept simply didn’t translate. They finally realized they could overcome this barrier by having people register with their cellphone numbers, which everyone had and knew by heart.

The video (now posted by Internet Week) is a fascinating watch for anyone interested in emerging market startups.