“talented young entrepreneurs are choosing to start companies off the ground instead of joining large international corporations”
Gustavo Alvarez (@gusdetavo), Director of Business Development for Latin America at Techstars
What do you do currently?
I currently work for Techstars as Director of Business Development for Latin America for our Startup Programs unit.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
It was an organic introduction. I co-founded a crowdfunding platform, Fondeadora, in 2011 and started taking part on the Mexican entrepreneurial community. After leaving Fondeadora, I joined Startup Weekend to expand our footprint in the country, spreading out the startup bug to more than 50 cities across Mexico.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
Mexico’s ecosystem is a growing one. In the past five years, there has been a burst of entrepreneurs, investors and organizations dedicated to create, develop and foster the startup field.
Whilst there are still challenges and the ecosystem is by no means consolidated and mature yet, it’s thriving and florescent: good ideas are becoming great business models; talented young entrepreneurs are choosing to start companies off the ground instead of joining large international corporations, or even better, are leaving these enterprises to join the startup community; failures are being more present, and therefore, more experienced entrepreneurs are populating the sector; more people are getting familiar to investing in innovative, technology-based companies, as opposed to the far more developed and static traditional investment sectors.
However, there are still challenges in the ecosystem: the government still has a long journey to understand how they should be supporting the ecosystem; we lack follow on’s and series A and B funding rounds; top talent for scale-ups is still under developed; there is not a good visa process for international talent to come and leave a footprint in the local ecosystems; corporate funding is also missing.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
I expect more activity in three fields:
1. Innovative ventures
2. Vertical-focused developments (i.e. Education or FinTech)
3. More activity in funding
What are the main challenges?
– Macroeconomic factors and a good policy making strategy
– Talent attraction and retention
– Investment incentives
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
A less rigid/old-fashioned policy, a more flexible regulatory environment and a promotion of international talent attraction (i.e. startup visa).
Describe your typical day
I wake up at 6:30 am, workout for an hour or so, take my dog out, have breakfast, ride my bike to the office, hop on a bunch of conference calls, work for a while and then, head back home to spend some time with my dog, take him out and then, read or watch a movie before going to bed at 11:30-12:00 am.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Me, Earl and the Dying girl.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Laptop and smartphone.
iOS or Android?
Favorite social network?
In the middle of the mountains, in close contact with nature.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Read 20 books this year (3 so far, 17 more to go!). Learn to scuba dive. Save $150K MXN. Transition to a new role at Techstars (already done! Now I am part of the Business Development team with a focus in Latin America). Reconnect with the people that will help me grow intellectually. Do one new thing every day – even if it means starting a 10 minute conversation with a total stranger.
One word that describe you?
Previous interview (in Spanish): Vincent Speranza