Panama: The perfect place for your high-tech/software company (1)

If you as an entrepreneur are confident to build the next unicorn, a start-up with 1b market capitalization, then go ahead and settle in the Silicon Valley. Best choice.

If not, there is a better place to start and run your business, to live and to invest.

Why Panama? Living here for 8 years already, let me present my thoughts in a series of posts. 

 

 

Conditions have changed significantly.

“The Valley” began as a center for the capital-intense semiconductor and computer industry, followed by Internet software developers and service providers in the late 90s.

Renting an office, hiring staff, setting up servers and workstations, purchasing software licenses was expensive and Venture Capital was a necessity to take off or to grow.  

These days are over. However, it has established a concentration of ideas and capital there as nowhere else in the world, now focusing to solve the big problems of mankind.   

Your ambitions are a bit smaller? Then you don’t have to pay the ridiculous price of living and working there.

Establishing a business nowadays is much easier than a decade ago.

No fancy office, desks and chairs.

No permament hires, beside a core staff, people work project-based.

No hardware investments, but BYOD.

No software licenses, get everything cloud-based.

No expensive marketing. Win followers by early release of a good-enough product.

Conclusion: The capital demand for new endavours is low, as are entry barriers. So who needs VCs anyway anymore?

 

Imaging Panama as a hightech hotspot

It has been a while since I suggested to develop Panama as a “Second Home & Bootcamp Facility” for Silicon Valley corporations.

As time goes by and things in tech are changing as fast a never before, my views have changed as well. Having seen how other places have tried to copy the Valley unsuccessfully, this place should move up in its own way.

Coder courses, accelerators, VC firms – there is nothing that can’t be done here. What has to be created and nurtured is the mindset to go for top achievements.

Despite the Panama Papers fuss, this country still has the best conditions to establish and run a business, not to forget essential soft factors, like quality of life and vast investment opportunities. See here

Few weeks only until the Panama Canal extension goes live. Time to seek a new challenge for the country connecting North with South America, the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.

newgatunlockspano

Source: ACP

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: Nonstop Dubai – Panama

May 2016: Emirates has postponed this service until end of 2016 or early 2017. However, Lufthansa from Frankfurt and Turkish Airlines from Istanbul have begun their regular flights.

More important: Copa Airlines is now flying on 7 days a week between Panama City, Panama and San Francisco, CA.

END_OF_UPDATE

Doing the longest regular airliner flight is something special; for the carrier, the manufacturer and for the destinations.

Starting February 1, 2016 an Emirates Boeing 777-200LR will take off as flight EK251 from Dubai to Panama City, non-stop.

Arrival in Panama at 4:40 pm, after not less than 17 hours and 35 minutes for this 13,800 km trip.

It is the #5 airline with a direct trans-atlantic connection to Panama, Dubai joins Amsterdam (KLM), Lisboa (TAP), Madrid (Iberia) and Paris (Air France), Frankfurt (Lufthansa) will follow one month later. in March 2016.

emirates777

commons.wikimedia.org

Since Singapore Airlines has terminated their ultra-long non-stop flights to New York and Los Angeles, nowadays these are the longest ones:

Quantas between Sidney and Dallas (B747)

Delta between Atlanta and Johannesburg (B777)

Emirates between Dubai and Los Angeles (A380)

Emirates between Dubai and Dallas, Houston and San Francisco (B777).

This new flight is even longer and is the first non-stop connection between Middle East and Latin America.

The fact that Panama has been selected underlines the growing economic importance of this small country and takes advantage of Tocumen International Airport as “Hub of the Americas”, reaching all of Central-/South America and many places in the Caribbean.

Tocumen’s new South Terminal, designed by Sir Norman Foster, will be ready, just in time, to welcome Emirates.

terminalsur

commons.wikimedia.org

Why Panama does not have to copy the Silicon Valley to succeed

In an interesting blogpost, Peter Diamandis explained the success of the valley with the arrival of new-type coffee shops as place to gather and network, then with the high density of tech people, reducing the risk of failing, as there are many more positions and opportunities waiting.

Based on that, the other ingredients – contributors, culture, capital – grew organically, cumulating innovation power, delivering success along the road.

All this has been and is happening despite some harsh conditions, like climate, immigration and tax rules. How much easier should it be to achieve such success under Panama’s tropical living conditions, in its relaxed business, immigration and tax environment?

SkylineTrumpFerryWeit_9656

Leaving Panana City on express ferry, heading Las Perlas Archipelago, 35 nautical miles off the coast. Sea water temperature 28C/87F

Being a successful entrepreneur in Panama appears to be much more attractive then up there. Lifestyle, costs of living, investment opportunities, to mention a few.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur in Panama must not be more difficult.

Creating perfect conditions to attract entrepreneurs to start and thrive their high-tech business here in Panama is the task at hand.   

Getting closer to be the next startup mecca

Peter Diamandis had asked this week “Where do you think the next mecca for tech startups will be?”.

I doubt if Mecca is an appropriate synonym, but my response has been: “The next mecca for tech startups needs tropical lifestyle, more favourable immigration and tax rules. How about ?”

And I mean it. You just don’t have to have everything together in one place anymore.

Technology creates conditions, overcoming obstacles to create technology.

Skype, Hangout, Facetime enable people to work together, no matter where.

Freelancer.com and others find outsourced capacity for almost every job imaginable.

Kickstarter.com and others facilitate project funding.

Codepath.com does free education for Android and iOS coding.

WeWork.com has temporary space to meet, hang around and work with peers.

So if everybody can take advantage of technological progress as mentioned, the general, surrounding conditions become more important: quality of life.

What else do we need here in Panama?

– Transform a crazy idea into a bold target,

– Get the right people together

– Build and work an actionable plan.

#exPANAMAnding opportunities

WWDC and Panama

Was following Apple’s developer conference today and must admit that the amount of $30b paid to app developers is staggering. There must be many more app developers out there and more than surviving with what they are doing. Excellent to hear this.

wwdc2015

Wondering how many of them are doing their creative work outside of old-fashioned corporate structures, not bound by work hours, a desk, a hierarchy.

For those, lucky enough to enjoy such status, my advise is to get even more enjoyment. Move to a country where the sun is shining, the Web infrastructure is available, where bureaucracy doesn’t care too much, and where there are excellent investment opportunities for the money you’ve earned.

#exPANAMAnding opportunities.

The really important ranking has Panama as #1

There are so many rankings out there. Best place to live, best place to work, best place to retire, best place to be buried etc. Often with laughable results.

Gallup and Healthways have now published The Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index. On 124 pages their scientific methodology is described and results shown, highlighting continents and countries. Well worth reading. (here)

There are five categories contributing to our overall well-being:

– job / purpose

– social

– community

– physical

– financial

Panama became #1, the only country where more than 60% of people are predominantly happy in more than 3 of these 5 categories. Actually, they are happy in 4 of them, except finance.

I am glad to see this and it explains why so many people walking the streets are just smiling at you. And drivers almost never honk their horn, show a finger or so.

This is where countries like Germany are leading, but not even reaching the top ten altogether. Even worse, in Germany 24% of employed people indicate to be actively “disengaged” in their professional position.

How about living and doing business in the land of well-being?

Panama is growing strongly, on its way to improve the financial situation for the average and poor people. So in 10 years from now, they’ll still lead but be happy in each of 5 categories. Good luck.