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Federico Vega CargoX Podcast

Federico Vega is an Argentine entrepreneur from a small town in Patagonia who made his way to England, started a business, go a university degree and ended up working in finance. He moved back to Argentina to start his business, which ended up not working. He didn’t give up and moved to Brazil, where he went through massive adversity before finding product market fit and getting investment from Goldman Sachs.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:24] Federico’s background and current business – CargoX: Uber for trucks.
  • [4:03] How did a guy from a small town in Patagonia build this kind of business?
  • [8:12] The response of family and friends when Federico decided to leave his cushy job.
  • [11:07] Running his startup from a toilet stall – breaking into his own.
  • [14:39] How Federico shut down his startup, regrouped, and started with a new USP.
  • [15:51] Starting over: raise funds or find clients?
  • [19:55] The turning point that made the business take off.
  • [23:57] Advice to founders about raising money.
  • [28:28] Why silicon valley investors should consider Latin American companies.
  • [30:14] What would Federico tell himself if he could advise himself from the start.
  • [34:58] The next steps for CargoX.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Alejandro Freund Ecommerce in Ecuador Podcast

Alejandro Freund is an Ecuadorian entrepreneur who started YaEsta.com, Ecuador’s most influential ecommerce company. Listen to his story on the Crossing Borders podcast.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:44] What it’s like to do ecommerce in Ecuador.
  • [6:22] Closing the deal with a small business supporter to build out the company.
  • [8:54] How the team decided which products and brands to launch with.
  • [12:42] Tapping into the artisan communities surrounding their suppliers.
  • [15:30] Fundraising after a successful trial-and-error first year.
  • [20:27] Understanding Ecuador as a country and as a place to do business.
  • [22:22] Why are the big retailers in Ecuador so far behind those in other countries.
  • [35:16] Dealing with the logistics and shipping in Ecuador.
  • [41:08] The reasons Alejandro decided to return to Ecuador to build a company.
  • [45:55] Why Alejandro believes he’s been able to raise the funds he has.
  • [52:00] Advice for other entrepreneurs getting into competitive markets.
  • [56:00] Why yield is a great reason to invest in Latin American companies.
  • [59:32] Surprising things about doing business in Ecuador.
  • [1:00:45] Alejandro’s advice to himself as a beginning startup founder.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Patricio Williams Becú RagoRural and DTA LatAm Podcast

Patricio Williams Becú is an Argentine entrepreneur who left his finance job to start DTA LatAm, a business that helps farmers finance their operation in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:56] The work Patricio is engaged in with DTA and PagoRural.
  • [3:00] The type of people Patricio’s company works alongside, and why a typical client would need their services..
  • [5:15] How a guy from a big city like Buenos Aires wound up financing farmers.
  • [9:46] The path Patricio followed to get his company started.
  • [21:40] Why have Argentines been so successful starting businesses?
  • [27:38] Steps toward the very first client.
  • [35:23] Hiring the first employees.
  • [43:20] The challenges of working with new employees and investors.
  • [48 :50] The kinds of returns the company sees happening for investors.
  • [51:40] Expanding to Uruguay and Paraguay.
  • [1:00:06] Patricio’s advice to new entrepreneurs about how to assess customer needs.
  • [1:02:03] Advice to founders outside Silicon Valley about raising money.
  • [1:04:27] Patricio’s counsel to US investors about Latin American companies.
  • [1:08:15] Surprising things about doing business in Latin America.
  • [1:11:13] Things Latin American founders need to understand about the U.S. or European markets.
  • [1:14:28] The advice Patricio would give himself if he was starting over.
  • [1:19:08] The next steps for Patricio’s company.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Challenges and Opportunities of Doing Business in Mexico

This is an excerpt from a deep dive into doing business in Mexico that appeared originally on my blog, where you can read the entire post.

Mexico’s business opportunities rival those of any other emerging economy in the world. Despite a complicated history with violence and corruption, the country is starting to transform its negative reputation into new opportunities. New initiatives, especially to boost Mexican innovation, and an ever-expanding middle class with disposable income have given way to a new era of business opportunities for residents and foreigners alike.

To attract new investment, the Mexican government is making significant improvements to its infrastructure to compete globally in sectors like telecommunications and transportation. According to a recent PWC report , Mexico will become the 7th largest economy in the world by 2050.

But, to understand how Mexico will get there, it’s important to understand Mexico’s history and some factors that led it to become what it is today.

Nathan Lustig’s Parallel 18 Mentor Talk

I went to Parallel 18, an equity free startup accelerator in Puerto Rico, as a mentor. Here’s the talk I gave to their startups.

Doing Business in Colombia: Advantages and Disadvantages

This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on my blog titled The Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing Business in Colombia…you can read the entire post there.

Colombia has come a long way as a country and as a place to do business. The sensationalized version of Colombia that Narcos depicts is no longer accurate, though the reputation lives on.

Colombia’s history is long and complicated, filled with violent groups trying to control the country’s lucrative drug trade. But there’s so much more to Colombia than just drugs. 2017’s historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, the largest guerrilla group, is a potential inflection point in Colombia’s history. And if I had to bet on a single Latin American country for the next 10-15 years, Colombia would be my pick.

Though many think it’s coffee, Colombia’s largest export is actually petroleum, which makes up over a third of the country’s exports, followed by coal, coffee, cut flowers, and gold. Coffee, however, was responsible for pushing Colombia toward a manufacturing based economy. After the War of a Thousand Days, which ended in 1902, Colombia’s coffee boom pushed the country to seek better transportation and manufacturing mechanisms.

Diego Saez-Gil Bluesmart Podcast

Diego Saez Gil is an Argentine entrepreneur who is the cofounder of Bluesmart, the world’s first smart luggage. After doing a $2.2m presale on Indiegogo, Diego and his team have raised multiple rounds of venture capital from investors in Latin America, China and the US.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:25] The life of a founder whose offices are all over the world and how he took his path.
  • [8:00] The culture shock of leaving his home and traveling to business centers around the world.
  • [11:54] Diego’s 2011 start of a new business – WeHostels.
  • [16:43] The advice Diego gives to startup founders about building a team.
  • [20:25] Growing a startup app company in a very competitive market – and the process of selling the company.
  • [23:34] Two years later: Crowdfunding a new product successfully – $2.2M raised.
  • [26:28] How the team made the crowdfunding attempt successful.
  • [30:44] Diego’s response to those who say there’s not much talent in Latin America.
  • [35:24] How to keep an international team of 39 working together smoothly.
  • [38:07] Why Diego went to Ycombinator even after a successful crowdfunding launch.
  • [47:04] The features and details of Bluesmart luggage.
  • [49:14] Tips for those interested in building a hardware company, including tips for doing business in China.
  • [51:29] Surprising things about Latin America and China.
  • [55:53] What Diego says to U.S. Investors about doing business with Latin American companies.
  • [1:00:32] Changes in the Argentinian government in relation to entrepreneurship.
  • [1:01:50] Diego’s advice to himself at the beginning of his startup journey.
  • [1:05:00] Learning to take expert advice but staying focused on innovation.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Nathan Klarer, Wearables that Prevent Mining Accidents

Nathan Klarer is a US entrepreneur who founded Bridgecrest Medical, a wearable startup that helps prevent mining accidents. Many of his clients were in Latin America and his company was later acquired. This is his story.

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Nathan Klarer. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends!

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

Nora Leary: Starting Up in Argentina and Colombia

Nora Leary is a US born entrepreneur who is the cofounder of Launchway Media a PR firm with offices in Argentina and Colombia. This is her story.

I’ve had a great time talking with Nora and I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends!

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

Jose Caya Cayasso: Building Slidebean From Costa Rica and New York City

Caya Cayasso is a Costa Rican entrepreneur who leads Slidebean, a company that allows you to create presentations that design themselves. They’re a Magma portfolio company and Caya has a great story.

I had a great time talking with Caya and I hope you enjoy his stories as much as I do. If you do, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, leave a rating and tell your friends! Check out past episodes with David Lloyd, Adrian Fisher, Devin Baptiste, Nicolas Shea, David Basulto and David Assael.

If you have questions, think there’s something I should improve or have recommendations for guests you’d like me to interview, please let me know in the comments!

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