Ep 55 Pedro Pablo del Campo: Building Bridges Between Latin America & the USA

Pedro Pablo del Campo is a Chilean entrepreneur, and the newest addition to our Magma Partners team. Born in Punta Arenas, one of the most Southerly cities in the world, Pedro Pablo traveled the world in his youth since his father was in the Air Force and then a commercial pilot. From a young age, Pedro Pablo was eager to be involved in early-stage enterprises and has gone on to founding or joining early teams of several startups and nonprofits bridging the US and Latin America. In 2016, he joined the Techstars team in Austin as the Business Development Director for Latin America, a position they created just for him.

Pedro Pablo has now brought his passion for supporting Latin American entrepreneurship to Magma, where he will be helping manage our portfolio and evaluating future investments for the fund. In this episode, we discuss Pedro’s non traditional career path, his start in the nonprofit world, how a cold email got him connected to the Techstars network, and what he thinks of the maturing Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Never be afraid of relying on your network

Pedro Pablo used to think he knew everything about starting a business, until he founded his first company after university. Soon, he realized he knew nothing and that he would have to surround himself with mentors and other successful entrepreneurs in order to succeed. That lesson carried him on to his time in the US, when he realized that New York is a lonely place for an entrepreneur without a network.

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to find out how Pedro Pablo built a network from scratch in each of the cities he has lived in, from Santiago, to New York, and finally in Austin. It’s all about adding value, says Pedro Pablo. When you have given someone a bit of value, they are often happy to help you when you need it.

The key to bootstrapping a business from Chile? Find the right partners

After coming back from New York, Pedro Pablo knew he wanted to found something for himself. He co-founded Visualogica, a design firm, with three co-founders; however, he quickly side-stepped to become CEO of a vending machine company, leaving his partners in charge. This opportunity allowed both business to be successful in the end, and the vending machine company was even acquired.

Learn more about Pedro Pablo’s experience building a company from the ground up and how he leads a team in this episode of Crossing Borders.

The art of the cold email

Pedro Pablo reached out to the Chief Investment Officer at Techstars in a cold email while caring for his son at home while his wife studied her PhD. He wanted to tell them about the value of connecting the Latin American and US ecosystems and hoped the global accelerator would pay attention. Using his contacts in Chile, Pedro Pablo provided a network for Techstars in Latin America and helped the accelerator expand, before they had even offered him a position. His advice to new founders: never be afraid of cold emailing people, no matter how high up they are.

Find out how Techstars invented a new position for Pedro Pablo so he could help them bring Latin American into one of the largest and strongest entrepreneurial networks in the world.

Pedro Pablo is passionate about the potential global impacts of the growing Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem. He has lots of ideas about how to build the ecosystem, including partnerships with corporate partners in the US and LatAm that will allow for bigger acquisitions that could shape the industry. Listen to this episode to hear Pedro Pablo’s predictions for how entrepreneurs from Latin America could disrupt established markets in LatAm, the US, and beyond.

Show Notes

[1:59] – Where are you working in Austin?

[2:27] – Pedro Pablo’s childhood in Punta Arenas and Santiago

[4:04] – Did traveling at a young age impact your perspective on the world?

[6:32] – Studying business in Chile

[7:07] – What was your first experience with an earlier stage company?

[9:35] – What were some of the biggest takeaways from your time at Late?

[10:28] – What did you do after Late?

[12:40] – Doing business in New York vs. Chile

[15:11] – Why did you go back to Chile after New York and what did you end up doing there?

[17:44] – Why “boring” businesses are a good investment

[21:02] – How did you end up in Austin?

[26:24] – How did you create your own role at Techstars?

[31:42] – Biggest lessons from working at Techstars

[35:50] – How to motivate corporations to pay attention to entrepreneurship without using fear

[40:36] – On Falabella’s acquisition of Linio

[43:54] – What are some of your favorite books, blogs, podcasts, or documentaries you would like to recommend?

[46:30] – Pedro Pablo’s advice to his younger self

[47:18] –  What are you most excited about working on to help entrepreneurs in LatAm with Magma over the next 6-12 months?

Resources Mentioned

Techstars accelerator

Start-Up Chile

Puro Chile – Chilean shop in New York

Late

Visualogica

Never Split the Difference (BOOK) – Chris Voss

Venture Deals (BOOK) – Brad Feld

Startup Communities (BOOK) – Brad Feld

Alex Iskold’s Blog