“Mexico is at an exciting moment”
Daniel Green, attorney.
What do you do currently?
I am a partner at a US law firm, Gunderson Dettmer, which works with technology companies and VC funds that invest in technology companies. I am based in Silicon Valley.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
I’ve been working with Mexican entrepreneurs for a number of years, and more broadly Latin American entrepreneurs since 2008 when I started working with Needish (founded by the team that founded Cornershop).
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
Mexico is at an exciting moment. Entrepreneurship is gaining steam, there has been a proliferation of VC funds in recent years (spurred by INADEM support), and we are seeing the first investments by top tier US VC investors in Mexico-centric businesses. We are still in the early chapters of a much longer novel, but one, which is capturing more attention.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
I expect Mexican VC funds with good track records and GPs to continue to make interesting investments and build stronger ties with international investors, in the US and elsewhere. I expect we will see a few high profile companies raise significant follow-on funding rounds (similar to what we saw with Kueski and Clip recently). I also expect failures (among both first time fund managers in the ecosystem and early stage startups) – which is a necessary component of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Failure should not be stigmatized but rather recognized for creating learning opportunities and healthy renewal.
What are the main challenges?
Exits, exits, exits – as many have said before in this blog. Mexico needs USD $100M+ venture-backed, technology-driven exits that can be celebrated in the local press, capture the attention of international investors, and build local icons, who can then serve as mentors and sources of capital for the next generation of entrepreneurs. I expect we will see a few of these in Mexico in the coming years.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
I would like to see Mexico adopt tax measures that encourage a greater “equity culture” among startup teams (such as tax advantaged stock options) and encourage risk-taking investments (such as deductibility of angel investment losses against investment gains). There is an opportunity for significant tax reform in Mexico to create benefits for the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The political climate recently has not been suitable for this type of tax reform, but I am hopeful we will see tax reforms in the future.
Describe your typical day
I wake up between 6-6:30 am and catch up on emails to begin the day, then help my kids get ready for school, and head to the office at 8:30 am. From 9-7 pm, I typically have a mix of meetings in the office (or at nearby cafes), calls, documents to review and hundreds of emails to respond to. Evenings are reserved for exercise (when I can), dinner (with family as much as possible) and more emails!
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Too many to name, but I like to work with an entrepreneur who is scrappy, resourceful and who has quick execution cycles. The kind of person you give “homework” (guidance, suggestions, etc.), and he or she subsequently comes back to you having completed the “homework”, and having moved on to the next, greater task.
A recent book do you recommend?
I am enjoying the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, recommended by my partner Brian Hutchings on our last trip to Mexico.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
All of the above. Smartphone to keep up with email and news, tablet for travel, and laptop when I need to work on documents / longer emails while on the move. Desktop when working from the office.
iOS or Android?
Uber. I use it all the time.
Favorite social network?
LinkedIn. Not a heavy user of other social networks.
The lakes district in Chile — hanging out with family, fishing and hiking.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
My goal is to work on at least one US IPO by a Latin American company in the next 12 months (we have 1 or 2 in the pipeline).
One word that describes you?
Previous interview: Roberto Charvel