The 1st Startup in Latin America Democratizing Mobile Commerce

This is one post of a series diving into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puerto Rico. For more, follow @kittengeorge on InstagramTwitter.

CLINC! is set out to do one thing: democratize mobile commerce. To do so, the founding team of 5 created a SaaS mobile platform that let brands create their own apps for Android and iOS that empower companies to increase their mobile sales focusing on customer retention. Their customer focus is on big business, a pivot from their original targeting small business that didn’t see the value of mobile retention and increasing traffic to their websites. By providing big clients with user information and search data of customers, CLINC! provides a cost accessible solution that improves time efficacy by 10x and substantially improves retention for loyal customers. An imperative service when taking into account that repeat customers are responsible for 40% of a company’s revenue. CLINC!’s app gets to know these customers and leverages demographic data to anticipate what they’ll want to buy next and reach them on the medium they are most likely to purchase a product on. After transitioning from small business customers to big business customers and making it through a resistant business pivot, CLINC! reaped the benefits immediately by landing 10 big clients in 1 month amidst a continued state of developing their product.

CLINC! is set out to democratize mobile commerce.

The founding story of these 5 co-founders is a simple one — they met in university and found a team chemistry that wasn’t forced. Having worked together in previous startups and having experience with 14 startups across the team of 5, the team has a demonstrated track record of successful performance jamming along each other’s side. The team is made of 2 people with technical grounds and the remaining teammates working in administrative, marketing, sales and legal roles. The company launched 2 years sprung from the realization that no company in Latin America (LATAM) is solving the problem of mobile conversion and CLINC! became the first of its kind. Mobile conversions, the number of people who take a specific action such as sales while browsing a business website via a mobile platform, is responsible for 80% of traffic that is generated to websites. Currently, brands are using e-commerce platforms that don’t have a user-friendly mobile experience. And although they do that, they need to focus on how to create a long-term relationship with the customer to maximize the revenues from them (what we call Lifetime Value).  Given the widespread mobile adoption that trended globally over the last few years and the easily accessible smart phone acquisition, mobile conversion is the most powerful tool for companies to generate sales on the planet. And this trend isn’t slowing down– mobile internet users in Latin America alone are estimated to grow by 50% by 2020.

No company in Latin America is solving the problem of mobile conversion.

But being a startup in LATAM isn’t without its challenges. CLINC! is headquartered in Argentina, an ecosystem that is supportive of startups and has prioritized improving the ease of business and even allows people to create a new business in only one day. Despite the interest in entrepreneurship and the government inclination to support entrepreneurial efforts, political transitions and lack of local investors are bottlenecks to startup growth in the region. Tomas Mehdi, Chief Information Officer at CLINC!, mentions this is the one major missing component that is holding the startup community back and is CLINC! current roadblock for high impact growth. He wants more foreign investment, noting that the current network of investors in Argentina is saturated with risky investors and hinders the ability for the ecosystem to support startup growth beyond seed-stage and angel investment. For a full deep dive into the venture capital and private equity landscape, you can read Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s full report here.

Lack of local investors to fuel high growth startups is a major roadblock of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America.

So how does CLINC! give their customers an unfair advantage? The democratize the ability to seize mobile access opportunity which makes the business stronger than ever. The mobile conversion and mobile access market are gargantuan — a $8.57 billion dollar market. The market gap in conjunction with the timing of the emerging technology to make mobile conversion better than ever has CLINC! in an optimal position to become the frontrunner trailblazing this industry.

Mobile conversion & mobile access is a $8.57 billion dollar market.

What makes them stand out from other e-commerce platforms and services is a simple fact that the majority do not have full custom native apps for android & ios with focus on increase mobile conversion, and the features needed to retain customers, a missed opportunity when taking into account the massive mobile adoption and lead generation from mobile sources. By charging their clients a fixed monthly price (the preferred model for clients despite experimenting with dozens of different revenue generating models), CLINC!’s application provides substantial value as an evolved result from 900 previous iterations of the application. Their latest and greatest edition (i.e. version 901) offers a full mobile cycle product: a mobile point of sale, which collect user behavior and create mobile marketing actions to increase sales and retention.

Tomas’ entrepreneurial posture and history have a pattern of entrepreneurial endeavors, beginning with his immense interest in computer science and psychology. He began his startup career working at Tiempy in university and notes his life has been marked by an entrepreneurial spirit. His definition of success is different than your status quo startup exec — he wants to do work that matters and that fills in gaps no one is else is taking advantage of. He’s not motivated by monetary gain, saying with the wisdom that money comes and goes.

“My definition of success goes beyond financial goals – money comes and goes.”

— Tomas Mehdi, CLINC!

CLINC! is one of the nearly 40 startups that are part of Generation 3 of Parallel 18’s (The 18th dimension) accelerator in Puerto Rico. The impact this program has had goes beyond accelerating the growth of the startup but has provided personal growth and expanding Mehdi’s perspective to a bigger picture. “I have a better understanding of the world,” says Mehdi. On the startup side, he appreciates the Parallel 18 team and program that keeps CLINC! accountable to key performance indicators (KPIs) every week that are correlative with their high growth objectives. Given the fact that CLINC! made their pivotal startup transition 1 week before starting at Parallel 18 (which includes the team moving to Puerto Rico for 5 months), the period of high stress was met with a supportive community to help them continue on their trajectory to realize their vision of democratizing mobile commerce for the people of Latin America. A supportive network and a vast opportunity to meet with truly great people is yet another major perk of the accelerator community.

I have a better understanding of the world & a broader perspective after my experience at Parallel 18.” — Tomas Mehdi, CLINC!

Mehdi’s call to action for the public is to not overlook the value of native applications — the apps you download from the App Store directly to your phone. These are powerful tools to not only democratize mobile commerce but forge the future of humanity.

Native applications are powerful tools to not only democratize mobile commerce, but forge the future of humanity.

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