What do you do currently?
I am the founder & CEO of Naranya, a company I founded in 2002, few years after we merged Infosel, my first digital company, to Terra Networks and then launched its IPO in 1999.
Naranya, based in Monterrey, develops and operates a “Digital Content Distribution & Monetization Platform” in 17 countries of Latin America.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
I have been an entrepreneur in the digital & technology space since 1988, few years before the Internet. This is why some of my friends call me the “Fred Flintstone” (“Pedro Picapiedra”) of the digital industry. I am not sure I like that.
More recently, I was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2011 and through this I joined the New Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In 2013 I launched Naranya Labs, the first corporate acceleration program of Mexico. Close to 20 tech start-ups went through our program. We then partnered with NXTP Labs to launch an Early Stage Fund in Mexico.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
In an early stage, but promising. Especially promising in the digital & tech sector where more of the “home run” opportunities are and will be available.
We need to work harder to make it really successful, measuring success in the value created for investors, entrepreneurs and the market and ecosystem as a whole. I like the CDMX and GDL ecosystems, and have great expectations from the “Regios” entrepreneurs (Note: acronyms for Mexico City and Guadalajara; people from Monterrey are called “Regios”).
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
The good news is that many key stakeholders are moving in the right direction. Some universities are focusing to develop an entrepreneurial profile in their students, the federal government is supporting the development of venture capital funds, some corporations are establishing acceleration programs, most of the young professionals are choosing being entrepreneurs over the comfort of a job, more funds are being established, being programmer is becoming “cool”, more angel investors are becoming active, etc. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is really in a brewing mode.
What are the main challenges?
In order to move our technology entrepreneurial ecosystem to the next phase we need more engineers becoming entrepreneurs, more and better programmers, more innovative ideas, more global vision, more ambition, passion & resilience in our entrepreneurs, more stories of success, more 35 to 45 year old professionals leaving their jobs to become entrepreneurs, more angel investors, more funds with tech expertise writing larger checks, more corporations with Corporate Entrepreneurial Responsibility, more high net worth individuals and families investing less in real estate and more in innovation, more local ecosystems with the support of local stakeholders.
Many challenges, but the first step to solve them is to recognize them and then face them. It is happening.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
A great success case (IPO or big exit) of a company founded this century and supported by investors will be key to demonstrate that it can be done, for both the investors and the entrepreneurs. This will generate confidence. Confidence is definitely the missing link to move to the next level. This scenario already happened in Argentina few years ago and is one of the key reasons behind the successful Argentinian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Describe your typical day
An early wakeup. I attend mass at 7:30 am and then go to the office for an hour of reading global and local news as well as tech industry reports and newsletters while I have a light breakfast at my desk. Running a company with operations in 17 countries requires most of my rest of the day. I try to go home for lunch with my family (it’s good to live in Monterrey for that). I spend an average of 10 hours a month mentoring young entrepreneurs and I also find the time to exercise in the outdoors at least 4 hours a week. I try to cook at least twice a week and love enjoying a very good glass of wine, specially a good one from Rioja or Bourgogne.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
I like those that dare to innovate beyond common thinking. That is why my favorites are Tesla’s Elon Musk and Virgin’s Richard Branson. In Mexico I really admire my ex-boss and partner, Alejandro Junco, the founder of Grupo Reforma who reinvented the newspaper industry in Mexico and Latin America based in innovation and technology.
A recent book do you recommend?
I like history novels. I really liked Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I always try to understand the present and foresee the future through learning from the past.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Smartphone is always with me. Laptop at my office & home desk, airplane tray, and hotel desk.
iOS or Android?
Android. I am more of the open software/hardware kind. It is also because Naranya’s platforms are offered for Android.
Chrome. I love the freedom around browsing the web.
Driving through the small roads and towns of the many regions of Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Grow the reach of our digital content platform 3x to 5x.
One word that describes you?