15 US & European Innovation Leaders in Latin America to Watch in 2024

By February 20, 2024

As our world becomes smaller, emerging economies keep advancing, and remote work opens up opportunities to live and work abroad, several entrepreneurs and professionals from Europe and the United States have made Latin America their home. And these individuals are striving to help advance innovation across the region.

The U.S. and Europe are the largest overseas investors in Latin America, accounting for 38% and 17% of total overseas FDI into the region, respectively, in 2022.

LatAm offers innovation leaders a breadth of opportunity: hundreds of millions of potential customers, a growing technological workforce, and varied degrees of regulation, with many countries like Mexico and Colombia favorable to business. 

Countries like Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia also offer advanced innovation ecosystems supported by accelerator programs like Start-Up Chile, the Scientific-Technological Based Entrepreneurship (EBCT) program from Tec de Monterrey, and Ruta N, that foreign founders can use as hubs to soft-land in the ecosystems. 

Here’s a look at some U.S. and European innovation leaders impacting Latin America’s burgeoning tech scene. 


Pablo Miller is an experienced international leader with a demonstrated history of working in the staffing and recruiting industry. He grew up in the United Kingdom with a Colombian mother and a British father. While there, Pablo attended the University of Nottingham and set up his first recruitment business. He worked with James Khan from the Dragons, who taught him about recruitment during the 2008 financial crisis and the rise of fintech in London and helped build founding teams for Starling Bank, Revolut, and TransferWise, to name a few. 

When Pablo returned to Colombia, he saw a gap in the market for someone with his skill set and experience. He founded Remoti to bring London-based fintech recruitment expertise to the local markets in Latin America. 

The company works with giant corporations such as Visa and brings knowledge of the personality traits that do well on fast-growing tech teams. They have worked with the first movers and unicorns in Europe based in Colombia.


Kirimgeray Kirimli is a triple major from New York University in Arts, Computer Science, Mathematics, and French Literature. He has been recognized for his deep technical knowledge, mastery of agile methodologies, and strong problem-solving abilities. As a leader, he drives innovation, promotes teamwork, and delivers top-notch software solutions, contributing to the success and growth of Flatiron Software Co. 

As the director of Flatiron Software — a New York City based technology consulting firm with operations in countries in Latin America — Kirimgeray leads a team of over 100 engineers, creating cutting edge technology products for their clients. 

Before joining Flatiron Software, Kirimgeray was the Vice President of Engineering at Nexstar Media Group, which owns several broadcast channels in the U.S., and Tech Lead at Hearst Magazines, one of the U.S.’s largest publishers. 


Coming from a family lineage of textiles and design that started in Bolivia and Argentina, Carolina Kleinman utilized her extensive knowledge of fashion and her background in music to inspire and establish her namesake brand, Carolina K, in 2005. 

Now based in Miami, Carolina’s journey in innovation and entrepreneurship began when she settled in Tepoztlan, Mexico, where she began her work with local cooperatives of artisans. 

She expanded to La Paz, Bolivia, and Cusco, Peru, during the development stages of establishing her brand, where she combined the traditional textile work of these cultures into creative new designs. 

Carolina’s desire to preserve the history and culture of these communities is a vital part of her DNA and philosophy.


Based in Punta Mita, Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast, Lynne Bairstow has long been influential in the region’s business and technology community.  

She’s a Managing Partner of MITA Ventures, one of the first funds operating in Mexico, with a cross-border thesis supported by a strong network of Silicon Valley mentors. MITA is bilingual and bi-cultural and helps early-stage founders in the region accelerate their ventures and expand throughout Mexico and internationally. 

She’s also the founder of DeFiant Finance, an informational and educational platform for exploring how Bitcoin can change everything. Before venturing into technology and fintech, Lynne was the marketing director at Punta Mita Resort, an upscale resort in the community. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UNF in Florida and did postgraduate studies at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Mike Hoey is passionate about innovating the often slow and bureaucratic healthcare space. His company, Source Meridian, works with some of the world’s largest healthcare companies, providing expertise in AI, big data, and business intelligence solutions to help improve their operations, drive revenue, and improve patient service. 

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mike established Source Meridian in Medellín, Colombia, the country’s second-largest city, and has expanded to other cities across Colombia. The company provides jobs for talented technologists and has helped fuel the expansion of other startups across Latin America. 

Mike regularly mentors some leading university accelerator programs, including Tec de Monterrey, the University of Cambridge, and Yale. 

He also writes about technology and business subjects for publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine. 


Spanish entrepreneur Alejandro de León Moreno, is the founder and president of the impact-driven peer-to-peer platform, Microwd. 

The platform links European investors with women in Peru, Nicaragua, and Mexico who lack access to financial services. 

Since its launch in 2013, the platform has arranged loans for over 3,700 borrowers for various projects such as small shops, farming, and micro-fashion brands. 

Alejandro’s  goal is to eradicate poverty in its active markets, that is why he founded Microwd to provide credit to communities that lack financial access.

Alejandro has spent many years in the finance and startup sectors, having previously worked at JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Endeavor and Ánima Ventures. 


Over the past 12 years, Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia has expanded Mercado Global from a minor non-profit working with a dozen artisans in Guatemala’s highlands to a recognized pioneer in ethical fashion and social enterprise. 

Mercado Global has connected indigenous Guatemalan artisans to over 300 international retailers and vendors, including Anthropologie, Calypso St. Barth, Garnet Hill, Goop, J.Crew, and Levi Strauss. The organization has provided fair wage income to a network of over 450 artisans in 40 cooperatives, positively affecting 2,700 dependents. 

Based in New York, Ruth was named among the “World’s Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” by the Echoing Green Foundation in 2004 and was selected as one of the “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine in 2006. 

She was featured on the magazine’s cover along with Brad Pitt and Soledad O’Brien of CNN. She also received the William H. Orrick Prize for her research on globalization in Guatemala. She won the prestigious Y50K Business Plan Competition for social ventures as an undergraduate at Yale University. DeGolia has spoken at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Global Summit for Women, PIMCO, Stanford University, and the United Nations.


Jan Lunter is the CEO of Innovatrics, one of the world’s leading providers of biometric identity management technology used by over a billion people. 

The company has global clients and a significant presence in Latin America. Jan graduated from Télécom Paris, one of the leading engineering schools in France. His company has provided some of the most sophisticated fingerprint recognition solutions since 2004. 

Jan is the author of the fingerprint analysis and recognition algorithm, which regularly ranks among the top in prestigious comparison tests (NIST PFT II, NIST Minex).

In recent years, he and his team have been working on using neural networks for face recognition. Innovatrics biometric solutions have helped 1 billion people in 80+ countries, including the Latin American region.


Originally hailing from Florida, Lauren Cascio has made Puerto Rico her home for the past decade. She’s become an influential innovation leader on the island, having co-founded successful startups in the healthcare and finance space.  

Her most recent venture, Gulp Data, provides data valuation, loans, and startup monetization. The company is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in startups, helping founders recognize the actual value of their data as an asset.

Lauren has gone through Parallel18, a leading technology incubator funded by the government of Puerto Rico, and has been a mentor at leading universities, including the University of Southern California, Stanford, as well as at the tech accelerator Founder Institute. 

In addition to Gulp Data, Lauren is a General Partner at aKinned, a seed fund backing health tech start-ups in Africa.


Daumantas Dvilinskas, a visionary fintech leader, is renowned for founding TransferGo, a digital global money transfer service. Recognized in Forbes 30 under 30 in Finance 2017, he has demonstrated a commitment to innovation and adaptability in the face of challenges. 

TransferGo, initially founded in Lithuania and now based in London, secured $10m in Series B funding in June 2020 to drive its international expansion. A significant part of this growth strategy is its focus on emerging markets, particularly in Latin America. 

Partnering with Ripple has facilitated this regional expansion, with Dvilinskas expressing intent to broaden the company’s services in LatAm. He believes in a shared vision with Ripple of frictionless and accessible cross-border payments, emphasizing Ripple’s crucial role in TransferGo’s mission to become a global real-time payments company.


Monica Brand Engel is an investor and businesswoman who has introduced several investment vehicles and products to increase financial inclusion in emerging markets, including Latin America.

Monica is a co-founder and managing partner at Quona Capital, a global venture firm focused on inclusive fintech. Quona invests across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. 

Based near Washington, D.C., she is a board member of numerous startups from New Delhi, Cape Town, Santiago de Chile, and Mexico City. 

Monica served on the board of Tiaxa, a Chilean company that provides the mobile telecom market with infrastructure, clearinghouse, and revenue enhancement services for major operators worldwide. 


Born in the United States but raised in Venezuela and educated in Argentina, Christian Patiño spent his formative business years as an analyst at Accenture. 

He later founded Coderhouse, primarily teaching programming, design, and marketing. The startup was born to democratize and deliver accessible education for people all over Latin America. 

Coderhouse operates in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Spain, México, Perú, and Uruguay and has over 50,000 students in LatAm.  

In 2020, Coderhouse won first place in Argentina’s “Great Place to Work” ranking for organizations below 200 employees and became part of Y Combinator, the world’s most prestigious startup accelerator. 

This year, Coderhouse raised a $13.5 million Series A round led by Monashees Reach Capital and Y Combinator. David Velez from Nubank, Guillermo Rauch from Vercel, and Hugo Barra participated in the round. The company has ballooned from a 10 to a 150-person team in the past three years. 


From France, Otmane Hajji is the founder of GreenYellow, a company focusing on propelling the transition to clean energy. 

Established in 2007, GreenYellow leverages its international reach and local expertise to deliver tailored energy solutions.

With a network of 700 experts across Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America, the company is committed to reducing consumption, enhancing quality, and promoting the energy transition. 

GreenYellow has designed and constructed a new solar plant in Bogotá, Colombia’s Hayuelos district, which will generate over 1 MWh annually, allowing Frigorificos Ble to consume greener, local, and more cost-effective energy.


Rain Sepp has established and expanded businesses in multiple countries, spanning Europe, Australia, and Latin America. 

With a wealth of experience exceeding 25 years, Sepp has solidified a reputation as a successful founder and growth executive, boasting numerous successful exits and IPOs. His interest and focus lie in corporate innovation, fueling his drive to unlock the entrepreneurial potential within companies and assist them in becoming future-ready. 

He’s the CEO of AskRobin, an Estonian loan platform that secured €1.6 million in funding to expand its footprint into Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico. 

Since its inception in 2017, the startup has already disbursed more than €26 million in credit, catering to individuals who might otherwise struggle to secure a loan.


Sandipan Chakraborty, the founder and CEO of Sonect, is known for his innovative approach to making access to cash easier. 

Based in Wettswil, Zurich, Sonect was established in 2016 with a novel idea of transforming shop tills into ATMs. This unique service has resonated particularly well in Mexico, where traditional ATMs often fall prey to crime. 

Customers can seamlessly withdraw cash from stores solely using the Sonect app. The company recently entered a strategic partnership with Lana, marking a significant step in their joint expansion in Latin America. 

This collaboration highlights the commitment of these European fintechs to enhance financial services in the region.

Disclosure: This article mentions clients from an Espacio portfolio company.