Linkedin: Cindy B. Ochoa
What do you do currently?
I’ve been the Managing Director at StartupGDL for over a year. This is a non for profit that was recently created to elevate Guadalajara as the up-and-coming world class tech hub in Mexico.We do this through three main programs focused on startup soft landing, tech education and local ecosystem support
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
My dive into the “tech world” has been gradual. It all started when I joined a non for profit founded by MIT Mexican Alumni three years ago. My job was primarily do research on global ecosystems and support international tech events. Later on, I did a summer internship at Plug and Play, an early stage startup accelerator.
Finally, I ran into Bismarck Lepe, Founder and CEO at Wizeline. He was truly passionate about supporting the Mexican tech scene and I was all about bringing the best from Silicon Valley to Guadalajara. That’s when he offered me running StartupGDL.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
The Mexican ecosystem is a very unique, fast growing ecosystem in the world. The environment to build, launch, run and grow a startup have been improving in the country during the last years.
It’s all happening at the same time: tech communities are growing all across Mexico; hackathons, meetups and events are held every other day; highly skilled foreign talent is moving to the main cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey; strong traditional companies such as Cinépolis and Femsa are supporting startups; skilled and ambitious young graduates are looking for startup opportunities; the government (at its different levels) is supporting entrepreneurial programs, and finally, VCs are closing good deals. Summarizing, Mexico’s tech scene is just beginning to take off.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
I think that the Fintech industry will continue to raise the profile of Mexico. Startups such as Clip, Kueski, Kubo Financiero and Bayonet, will continue to lead the startup scene. Also, more companies will disrupt on areas such as Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Moreover, I think that the industrial policies and the political situation in the U.S. will definitely impact on the Mexican ecosystem in the short term. Despite the protectionism that will limit the expansion of large corporations such as Ford, I think that more and more U.S. based startups will continue to see Mexico as a world class destination to grow and expand their teams and products. This will create a positive spillover effect and will bring more “startup opportunities” for early stage entrepreneurs to learn.
What are the main challenges?
Outside of Mexico, the challenge is to raise the profile of our country. We have to spread a powerful message about what Mexico really is. The world should know that Mexico is a country beyond tacos, tequila and narcos. We are a nation with creative, intelligent and really hard working young people.
Inside Mexico, one of the challenges is to get entrepreneurs to think globally when it comes to their businesses. Contrary to what is commonly believed, I think that there is enough capital in Mexico willing to be invested. We need more scalable, disruptive and globally oriented startups.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
We really need to change mindsets in Mexico. By this I mean:
- Ownership & ownership. This is the hardest one. In general, we Mexicans are used to been told what to do in a company and work under hierarchies. At a startup, if you don’t do the job, no one will do it. Things happen immediately. Sometimes a great opportunity means taking decisions, being proactive and executing. In other words, taking ownership. We need to cultivate this culture within Mexican entrepreneurs.
- Making the opportunities about working at a startup more visible for everybody. There is nothing as exciting and rewarding than joining and working at a high growth startup. The chances for employees to learn, gain experience and then become successful founders are exponential. We could be replicating the Paypal Mafia here in Mexico. Startup employees that later will become well experienced founders.
Describe your typical day
I wake up around 7:30 am. I eat breakfast at the office while I try to read the news and some of the daily digests the I follow (I really enjoy reading Medium articles). I spend the first hour of my morning getting my inbox cleared out, then I focus on the rest of my activities. I eat lunch at the office and I keep working from there until 6:00 to 7:00 pm. At the evenings, I practice yoga and I play at a women’s soccer league.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Bismarck Lepe, CEO and Founder at Wizeline. He is a visionary. After being one of the early employees at Google, he left to build his first startup, Ooyala. When this company was acquired by an Australian Telco, he founded Wizeline, a software company based in San Francisco with its development team in Guadalajara, and more recently, Vietnam.
Bismarck is an entrepreneur that has taught me that you need to be bold, passionate, humble and work really hard to make real things happen.
A recent book do you recommend?
The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. (This is a book that the GM at Wizeline, Vidal González, gave after a 101 with him. I was overwhelmed and disoriented back then. I found some answers and inspiration in this book).
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
iOS or Android?
iOS. Sorry, Google!
Spotify. I love everything about this app.
Favorite social network?
At a mountain with trails to go hiking. Ideal if my twin sister comes with me.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Bring at least 2 other high growth exciting startups from Silicon Valley to my hometown Guadalajara. Write a deep reflection based on my StartupGDL/ Wizeline experience to inspire other young women to get involved in tech.
One word that describes you?
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