Jackie Hyland: How Debt Tools Can Help Latin American Entrepreneurs, Ep 69

Jackie Hyland has spent the better part of a decade living, working and studying in Latin America across multiple different industries, which has given her a unique perspective into ways that technology and finance can help serve the region.

After spending time with non-profits, impact investment, real estate, traditional venture capital and the the head of Latin America for Silicon Valley bank, Jackie is now looking at ways that non traditional financing options can help Latin American entrepreneurs.

We sat down to go over her experience and take a deep dive into debt, venture debt and something as seemingly as simple as opening a bank account in order to deposit your US venture capital check.

Check out this episode to hear Jackie’s story and her wealth of knowledge on finance, venture capital and startups in Latin America.

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Fixing Latin America’s Broken Lending Industry

Credit in Latin America is notoriously hard to access. Just a few years ago, credit card rates in Brazil hit 450%, which has gone down to a still astounding 250% per year. In Chile, I’ve seen credit cards that charge 60-100% yearly interest. And that’s if you can even get a card in the first place. Yet people still use these predatory systems. Why? There are rarely any other options.

In the US, access to loans depends mainly on a single number: your FICO score. Your credit score is an aggregate of your spending and borrowing history, so it gives lenders a way to find out if you are a trustworthy customer. In general, the higher your score, the bigger (or more lenient) your line of credit. You can boost your score by managing credit wisely for long periods, such as always paying off a credit card on time, or lower your score by taking on more credit, not paying it off on time or carrying a high balance. While many people criticize the FICO score model, it is a relatively simple way for lenders to verify the creditworthiness of potential customers.

Consumers in the US have access to deep pools of capital at their fingertips. Home loans, credit cards, consumer credit and other forms of debt are readily available. Perhaps they are even too available, as we saw in the 2008 financial crisis or as we might be seeing now with bubbles in student loan debt.

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Emmanuel Oquendo: How Brainhi Rebounded from Hurricane Maria to Become Puerto Rico’s First YCombinator Company, Ep 68

On September 20th, 2017, Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, leaving a permanent mark on the Caribbean island and its people. Most budding startups shut down operations for up to a few months as the nation recuperated. One company, BrainHi, doubled down after the hurricane, helping doctors and dentists treat more patients by automating the process of taking appointments through their AI technology.

I sat down with BrainHi co-founder and CEO, Emmanuel Oquendo to share his story of how BrainHi survived the hurricane to become the first Puerto Rican startup to get into YCombinator. I’m lucky to be able to work with Emmanuel and cofounder Israel Figueroa as we invested while they were in Parallel 18, Puerto Rico’s equity free accelerator. We discuss Emmanuel’s childhood in Puerto Rico, his desire to solve big problems from the island, and how to leverage his experience in Puerto Rico while pitching in Silicon Valley. Check out the rest of the episode for Emmanuel’s advice for startups who want to reach YC from Latin America and how he has grown BrainHi from Puerto Rico to the world.

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Introducing Magma Media: Magma Partners In-House Media Agency

Today we announced Magma Media, our next step forward to continue to support Magma portfolio companies and hopefully the ecosystem at large.

We were inspired by the Andreessen Horowitz model of providing top class services to portfolio companies. We’re starting with media because these strategies do work and are low risk/high reward for startups. Even an extremely lean, revenue focused business will benefit from basic content marketing and a social media strategy.  Rightly or wrongly, first impressions make a difference.

We currently offer:

  • Growth strategies: landing pages, analytics, ads
  • Content marketing in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese
  • PR in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese
  • Podcast production
  • Video production
  • Social Media management

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