“I had to sell my company in 2005 because there was not a single venture fund in Mexico”
What do you do currently?
I am Managing Partner in DILA Capital, a venture capital firm in Mexico City.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
I have been working in entrepreneurship and venture capital in Mexico for the past 15 years. In 2002 I co-founded WAU Spot, an advertising company in shopping centers, which we sold in 2005. We sold the company because we were looking to raise a round of venture capital, but found no funds investing in early stage companies in Mexico, so we were forced to sell the company. Therefore, in that same year, I founded DILA Capital, a company dedicated to providing equity, debt and consulting to Mexican entrepreneurs. In 2006 DILA Capital bought the rights to manage Vilebrequin, a French brand of beachwear, in Mexico, brand which I managed as CEO until we sold the company to a private equity firm in 2009.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
Booming! As I mentioned, I had to sell my company in 2005 because there was not a single venture fund in Mexico. At the time, the government was not involved at all in the ecosystem and legislation made it very difficult to be a minority stake holder in a Mexican company. Today, we are more than 30 venture capital firms in Mexico, the government created a special institution for entrepreneurs and venture capital funds (INADEM), international investors are starting to invest in Mexican startups and private companies are starting to get involved as well.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
High follow-on rounds, more investments from international investor and hopefully some exits.
What are the main challenges?
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
A good exit! A big exit would change many things in the ecosystem, but above all else: trust. Trust from LPs that they can receive a good return on their venture investment in Mexico. Trust from entrepreneurs that success stories do occur in Mexico. Trust from big corporations in Mexico that do not believe that true innovation will come from startups. And trust from international investors sceptic about the success in the Latin American startup industry.
Describe your typical day
Wake up at around 6:30, have breakfast with my kids, take them to the school bus and head to the gym at 7 to play tennis or run. I usually arrive at the office at 9 am and have a couple of meeting with my team. My mornings are usually dedicated to meeting with our portfolio companies or companies looking for investment. I have lunch at around 2:30 at home with my wife and kids and head back to the office at 4. My evenings are typically focused on revising financial models, answering emails and more “desk” work. I regularly get home at around 9pm to have dinner with my wife. The rest of my night is either watching sports or a series on TV or reading.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Elon Musk. He is bold, he has passion and purpose. Those are the types of entrepreneurs we seek to invest in. I do not want to name any Mexican entrepreneur because I am obviously very biased to mention one of the 30 entrepreneurs in our portfolio today, but I don’t want to choose between them.
A recent book you recommend?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Smartphone and laptop (PC).
iOS or Android?
Favorite social network?
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
DILA I – Have several of our portfolio companies raise significant follow-on funding rounds and with luck, have a good exit in one of our companies.
DILA II – Follow-on several of our companies in co-investments with national and international funds in order to fully invest the fund.
DILA III – Fund raise.
One word that describes you?