LinkedIn: Deborah Dana
What do you do currently?
I am currently Managing Partner of Soldiers Field Angels; a Venture Capital fund conformed of 25 alumni of HBS in Mexico investing in high impact early stage companies in the region.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
My first involvement with the entrepreneurial ecosystem took place in 2009 when I launched my first venture as an entrepreneur, Kiwilimon. Kiwilimon is a recipe social network which has grown to reach today more than 100 million people a month and has become the hub creator for all the digital material of major food and woman brands in Mexico. Through Kiwilimon I lived the change Entrepreneurship and VC have had in Mexico in the past five years. Maturing greatly thanks to government support and initiatives, the Mexico in which I raised VC capital four years ago is a very different Mexico in which I now play a role as a financial institution.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
The Mexican ecosystem has gone through a lot of changes in the past couple of years. Four years ago when Kiwilimon was seeking VC investment there were very few funds which actually looked to invest in early VC stages, and there were few success stories, especially in the digital arena. Due to the low offering term sheets and negotiations between entrepreneurs and VCs were not entrepreneur friendly and were not fomenting growth for entrepreneurs. Today we are living a totally different story. There are more than 32 VC funds with a much more win-win approach to investing and entrepreneurs. The offerings have had to become more competitive in aspects regarding valuation, control, and mentoring / support, and the current differentiation among VC funding depends even more on the networking and mentoring offered post investment.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
I expect were going to live a year in which many will pause / hold still / retract, because of fear of the impact the US actions will have on the Mexican economy. Having said that I believe 12 months full of opportunity and less competition. It is definitely a moment to buy, not to sell, but also a moment to grow cautiously and with local resources.
What are the main challenges?
Fundraising will be challenging due to the economic worries of many, growth in industries which are heavily tied to advertising budgets, or American companies may be challenging as well. The main challenge in my mind is to strategically think medium-long term on decisions, and not short term.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
Linking technology and science with business in universities, incubators, and society as a whole would help Mexico achieve a great leap from traditional business oriented start-ups, to scientific and technology based businesses which have the impact and fuel to change the world on a global manner.
Describe your typical day
As well as managing partner I also hold another full time job which is being mother of three. My day starts off with helping my family start the day off in a healthy manner and sending everyone of to school / work. My normal SFA day normally beings with a meeting with an entrepreneur and/or prospect entrepreneurs for our investment committee or those who are in due diligence processes. Then some days I work 1/2 day with some of our invested companies aiding them in different areas (strategy, sales, etc.). I then always seek to have a couple of hours to work on operational and follow-up computer work. Last, many days I attend PR events to look for new partnerships, entrepreneurs, incubators, universities, etc.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Luis Tejado (Proteak, Bluedrop).
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
All of the above.
iOS or Android?
Favorite social network?
Beach with my family.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
To finish consolidating SFA II and begin allocating the investment in high impact early stage ventures. To continue aiding SFA I current portfolio in achieving important milestones.
One word that describes you?
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