LinkedIn: Julian Balderas
What do you do currently?
I’m launching Ironhack in Mexico. Ironhack is one of the best rated web development and UX/UI coding bootcamps in the word. After raising a round they decided to expand into Mexico and I was hired in November as GM. I’m also a mentor to a few startups in Mexico.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
In 2010 my startup in San Francisco enrolled in the SoftLayer Catalyst program. Five years later, after the IBM acquisition of Softlayer, I was offered to come to Mexico to run the Catalyst program for Latin America. I was born in Mexico, but hadn’t really lived here, so I was eager to take the job.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
In Mexico we have a large startup ecosystem and strong culture of entrepreneurship. Several international accelerators have landed here over the last few years, which has solidified Mexico’s ecosystem as one of the best in Latin America.
The major complaint I hear from founders is the inability to raise seed funding and I firmly believe that the root of this lies in a lack of available programmers. Every healthy tech ecosystem is made up of startups with technical founders. Right now, the lack of tech talent is the biggest problem in the Mexican ecosystem; I joined Ironhack in order to tackle this problem head on.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
At Ironhack we have the ability to be lean and try different things in Mexico; there is also a lot of collective experience in the company and a proven and effective education model. This combination will allow us to grow while making sure that every student is highly satisfied in the class and finds good employment afterwards.
We are currently giving all women students scholarships of $9,000 pesos, and working with Quotanda for student loan financing options up to 36 months. This is a great start, and we’re looking forward to offering even more scholarships over the next year.
What are the main challenges?
The biggest challenge is helping people to understand the value of learning to code. Making the jump into the world of programming through a bootcamp may feel scary at first, but the fact that programming jobs are in such high demand is a glaring light at the end of the tunnel.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
Accelerating people’s technical skills in the same way we accelerate startups would be a change with very impacting results. If we put more emphasis on the technology side of startups then we will see more and better startups, which will result in more venture capital being injected into the ecosystem. The most successful startups in the world have technical founders; and it would be great if we had more of these too.
Describe your typical day
Alarm goes off at 7:30am and I serve myself some mate or coffee while I check email. Then I organize my to-do list for the day, making sure that I don’t start projects I can’t finish. On Monday and Tuesday I have a lot of meetings, which I like to group together as much as possible, and at 6pm I do a quick stand-up meeting with the team. I get home between seven and nine, and like to stay up late working on projects, reading, watching a series or DJing in my room, my favorite hobby.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Jennifer Reyna of GasZen.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
iOS or Android?
iOS for now.
Reminders application that comes installed on every iPhone.
Favorite social network?
I go to Manzanillo each New Year with close friends and family, it’s pretty ideal.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Getting back into the habit of daily meditation and running.
One word that describes you?