What do you do currently?
I am Managing Director at ALLVP (Antoni Lelo de Larrea Venture Partners), a leading Mexico-based venture capital fund.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
I started as an Endeavor mentor in 2004, right after coming back from my MBA at Stanford GSB. While doing real estate private equity I started teaching courses on growing enterprises and entrepreneurship in 2007, and in 2010 Federico and I launched the Executive program on Entrepreneurship at ITAM. In 2011 we created Fondeadora (a crowdfunding startup) and Venture Institute (now Numa Mexico), a seed accelerator, In early 2012 we started investing through ALLVP.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
I see a nascent, yet broad and deep ecosystem, with all relevant pieces in place and gaining strength. The volume, diversity and technological edge of Mexican startups is at par with more mature ecosystems, and the pace at which relevant events are happening is encouraging.
What do you expect in the next 12 months? Is there any impact from the change of government in the US?
I see 2017 as a crucial year with significant financing rounds, very visible failures (this is good!) and a couple of exits that will consolidate our collective efforts. US policies will change appetite for the region, but liquidity is nowadays coming from other geographies too and opportunities arise in challenging, non-complacent times.
What are the main challenges?
The ecosystem needs larger-scale cases, companies that reach fast traction with GMVs an order of magnitude larger, and this implies reaching larger shares of the population. We will have international stories originated in Mexico, but the domestic market needs to show its depth, and for that higher quality products and services must win this market first.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
No exit, not even a unicorn lookalike, will bring the needed benefit to the ecosystem unless the managerial expertise, the experience gained in such journey, is shared and cross-fertilized other startups though talent adoption, smart equity, networking and a culture of hard work and success. It will be inspiring as long as these triumphs are felt as collective accomplishments to be seized, and teach us about the long-term discipline they represent.
Describe your typical day
I wake up at 6 and either jog or do bikram yoga, before driving my four (!) kids to school. At the office at 8, with one hour to answer mails and set daily priorities. Typically meetings with both dealflow companies and support calls with portfolio companies, with one longer Board meeting by noon. Quick lunch with colleagues, time for reading, thinking and quite decision making in the afternoon (still amazes me the amount of reading needed to be well informed in this industry!). Leave the office at around 7:45 to be home in time for dinner with my family. One hour reading every night and to bed at 11:00 PM.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
I greatly admire Andy Grove, cofounder of Intel. Aside from his fascinating youth in nazi, then soviet Hungary, he exemplifies the strong discipline in building a tech world leader, then pivoting its model, with his famous “only the paranoid survive” mindset.
A recent book do you recommend?
Not that recent, but Jim Collins‘ “Great by Choice” is to my view a must read for all entrepreneurs and managers that want to thrive in uncertain environments. Also “The Economic Singularity” by Calum Chace.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Laptop while at my desk, smartphone every single moment away from my desk (something I’m working on).
iOS or Android?
I love the Kickstarter App. Since Fondeadora I am in the habit of funding one exciting project per month, and with Kickstarter app it’s so quick and easy!
Favorite social network?
Twitter. Still completely engaged into it.
I just took a week off in Cozumel with my wife and kids, staying at a friend’s house, and we all agree it was the perfect vacation.
What are your goals, that you can share, for the next 12 months?
This year is key for ALLVP: we are still looking for additional companies to join our Fund II portfolio, and all our energy will be devoted to adding value helping our portfolio companies grow and improve their value propositions. I am also preparing for a marathon (although I’ve said this for the last two years).
One word that describes you?