Armored vehicles and bulletproof vests... That's how entrepreneurs go about their daily lives in Mexico... The country's drug war - with its grisly murders and kidnappings for ransom is stifling business with executives shying away from touting multimillion dollar deals... says Mexican entrepreneur Bismarck Lepe, chief executive of software company Wizeline.
SOUNDBITE (SPANISH) ENTREPRENEUR AND WIZELINE CEO: BISMARCK LEPE, SAYING: "It needs to change because publicity and promotion it's a great part of how business grows, because how are you going to hire new people or get new customers if no one knows who you are" Reuters spoke with two dozen investors and startup founders who said security concerns in Mexico were widespread.
One executive who asked to remain anonymous- told us the added security measures to his daily routine were such a turnoff that he ultimately moved back to the U.S. Others told Reuters they avoid publicity and are secretive about funding rounds... The low profile approach--a stark contrast to Silicon Valley, where self-promotion is the currency of the realm for those trying to build the next Uber or Airbnb.
But Lepe believes his peers in Mexico are being overly-cautious.
SOUNDBITE (SPANISH) ENTREPRENEUR AND WIZELINE CEO: BISMARCK LEPE, SAYING: "Most of the people working in the United States come often to Mexico, some 10 or 12 times per year, so, they know there are problems, that there are problems with drug traffickers, but if you're not involved with that, you won't have troubles" While the security situation is a setback for the startup scene...it's generating business for executive protection firms providing bulletproof cars, bulletproof clothing, armed bodyguards and real-time monitoring.