What do you do currently?
I’m Director of Techstars‘ Startup Programs for the US, Canada and Latam. I work with and support our Regional Managers to serve our Community Leaders through-out the region, those who are building and growing their own local ecosystems through several initiatives and our programs like Startup Weekend, Startup Week and Startup Digest. I work with corporations and organizations, helping them understand how to be more innovative and entrepreneurial. Finally, I help the other divisions of Techstars, Techstars Ventures and Techstars Accelerator Programs, figure out the correct strategy and partners to work with within the Latam region.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
As so many others, it was through Startup Weekend. We organized a Startup Weekend in Chihuahua, Mexico back in November 2010.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico? How do you compare it to other regions in the world?
Mexico’s ecosystem is one of the most rapidly growing ecosystems in the world, but we’re not “there” yet. We see more a professional scene regarding entrepreneurs, investors and talent pool. You can even see corporations being more involved for the correct reasons, rather than just for branding purposes. When you compare Mexico to other regions in the world you see that it’s definitely behind some more sophisticated markets in Europe or Asia. Within Latam it’s definitely one of the top contenders regarding growth and potential, behind Brasil and followed by Colombia and Argentina.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
Locally, we’re in a very interesting part of the development of an ecosystem in which the people that have been part of the success of local startups go and do their own thing, and their learning curve is different and they are already connected to a big part of the local ecosystem, so their chances are better than before.
Regarding the US-Mexico relationship, at this point it’s hard to know what could happen. We expect to see fewer investments in Mexican startups coming from the US. Raising capital in general will be harder than expected. With tougher immigration laws, we might see a decrease in the number of talented individuals who go to the US, so we can expect our local talent pool to increase.
What are the main challenges?
Talking about talent, we still need to have a cultural shift that is more aligned to a highly-competitive startup scene. We need to be able to unlock some of the funds from family offices and others. We need role models.
And of course, whatever challenges come from the Trump administration.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
As everybody says, we need our big wins for the region. Success cases that can help bring confidence to investors, role models for our communities, as well as startups that can make local corporations think twice on how their innovation strategies look like. Mexican corporations don’t feel they are threatened at all by startups.
Describe your typical day .
Wake up around 6:30 am, do my morning routine which involves gym, coffee, books and meditation, and I’ll be at the office around 8:30 – 9:00 am. Since I work with a very remote team and cover a very large region, most of my day is spent on meetings and calls. I’ll stop having meetings or calls around 5:00 pm and work on some pending tasks until 6:00 or 7:00pm. Then I’ll go home and try to disconnect for a bit, either through reading, writing, watching something on Netflix or just whatever is on TV. Depending on the night and my mood, I go out with friends for dinner or drinks, but try to go to bed around 11:30pm.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
On the big leagues, fan of Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Internationally, I love Joel Gascoigne and what they do in Buffer. In Latam I’m really amazed by the work of Rafael Socarras from Mensajeros Urbanos, Cristina Randall and Hector Cárdenas from Conekta, as well as José Rodríguez, Pablo Gonzalez and Daniel Vogel from Bitso. On an earlier stage I’m very intrigued by what José Andrés Chávez and Victor Rico are building through Bayonet.
A recent book you would recommend?
Non-fiction, I’ll always recommend “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni, and recently I really enjoyed “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. If you like tennis, you have to read “Open” by Andre Agassi.
Fiction in Spanish “Diablo Guardián” by Xavier Velasco is my favorite and the book I’ve gifted the most to fellow millennials. A more recent one that was a real page turner was “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Laptop. I love the portability of the Macbook.
iOS or Android?
iOS, but like Android as well.
Favorite social network?
A tie between Twitter and Instagram.
Not a big outdoors or beach person. Take me to a place with pavement, lights and noise and I’ll be happy. I love exploring neighborhoods, trying coffee shops and small restaurants, so big cities make me happy.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I’ve been managing the US/Canada Region for only a year, but have been involved with the Latam ecosystem for years, so I want to become better acquainted with the challenges and opportunities in Canada and in the US, mostly in the midwest and smaller communities. We’re trying to build a solid community that supports each other and can support entrepreneurs in early stages in those regions.
In Latam we want to continue supporting and strengthening our Startup Programs community. Giving them the tools they need to take their communities to the next level. Of course I would also love to find the correct partners and location to bring a Techstars Accelerator to serve the Latam market as well, but it might take more than 12 months.
One word that describes you?