Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

3 Surprisingly Hot Global VC Markets That Are Getting Even Hotter


Other than them participating in the World Cup this summer, Russia, Mexico and Brazil don’t seem to have much in common. But surprisingly enough, these three countries are all fostering young venture capital markets that are experiencing blockbuster growth.

The global venture-capital leaders in 2013 were the U.S., Europe, China, Israel and India, according to the latest annual market analysis released by financial services giant EY. The U.S. alone accounted for 68 percent of global VC activity, while Europe and China represented 15 percent and 7 percent, respectively.   

Related: Silicon Valley VCs Are More Confident Than They've Been in Years

While Russia, Mexico and Brazil aren’t going to compete with the likes of the U.S. and Europe any time soon, their venture capital markets are hotbeds of innovation and important for industry watchers to keep a pulse on, according to EY. Here’s a brief look at each country’s exploding VC market.

Russia. In 2007, the Russian venture capital industry invested the equivalent of $100 million into Russian businesses. By 2012, investments had increased to $1.2 billion, according to EY. Because the VC industry is still maturing in Russia, a relatively small number of firms dominate the industry. The industry was jumpstarted by the Russian government, but now the market is funded by Russian wealthy individuals and foreign investors.   

The industry is hampered by a lack of easily accessible information. It’s hard to find information about investors and what they are interested in investing in. That’s starting to change, thanks to a handful of independent blogs and websites covering the Russian VC market, but it’s still relatively murky, the report says.

Related: The Cloud Wars Rage On: Dropbox Raises Mega Money as Box Has Reportedly Filed for IPO

Mexico. Our neighbor to the south had four VC funds in 2009 and 15 funds in 2013. Investments in oil and gas infrastructure are the most popular in Mexico, but about a third of investments backed by venture capitalists in Mexico go to software and e-commerce. The EY report says that Mexico has the right demographic to support a surging investment community. “With a strong economic outlook, a relatively youthful population and a rapidly growing middle class, the outlook is bright for Mexico and its VC industry,” the report reads.

Brazil. The venture industry is still relatively disorganized in Brazil, but the South American country has the ingredients for a robust community: a thriving community of entrepreneurs and a lot of wealthy individuals looking to invest their money. Angel investment shot up 25 percent in 2013 to $262 million, according to the report, citing data from the Angel Association in Brazil.

The hot sectors in Brazil are web-based IT businesses and sustainability technologies. Established venture capitalists and super angels in Brazil are being sought out by international investors looking for some guidance in navigating the Brazilian financial markets. And while the IPO market in Brazil is not especially efficiently right now, new regulations are expected to make the process of going public less burdensome.  

Related: Peter Thiel's Newest Obsession: Nanotechnology.

Catherine Clifford

Written By

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.