Originally from a small town outside of São Paulo, João de Paula cofounded the first Latin American startup to participate in YCombinator back in 2013. Fueled by an obsession with making an impact, he unknowingly embraced the entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. He created different projects while growing up and then later taught himself to code to start his business, which he cofounded with his friend Roberto Riccio, a former professional poker player.
After his 7-year odyssey with the online platform, which was a local reviews platform for LatAm, João and his partner decided to close the company. João took a six-month break before deciding to return to the startup ecosystem by joining Origin, a financial wellness platform that helps people tackle savings, retirement and insurance.
In this episode I sit down with João to talk about Glio’s early days, raising money, applying four times to YCombinator and finally getting in. Joao also offers advice to entrepreneurs applying for YCombinator , how to prepare for the interview and get the most out of the program. We also cover his return to Brazil, the decision to wind the company down after 7 years of hard work, and his current plans for Origin.
Andres Sarrazola caught the entrepreneurial bug at the age of 17 in his home city in Medellín, Colombia. Fast forward eleven years later, he is now the CEO and founder of Ayenda, Colombia’s largest virtual hotel chain and SoftBank’s first investment in the country.
According to Andres, in Latin America around 70% of properties are independently owned, meaning they are not affiliated with any hotel chain brand. By putting small hotels under its brand name, Ayenda can help these businesses increase their occupancy rate from 30% to 75% using online advertising and booking tools.
In this episode, I sit down with Andres to talk about his entrepreneurial beginnings at 17, some of his startup failures, and how he pivoted into his current business, Ayenda. We also cover how Andres raised money for his business and the importance of writing investor updates.
Andy Kieffer and his family decided to spend a year relaxing in Guadalajara, Mexico, and ended up staying. As founder of AgaveLab, Andy helps startups in the US and Mexico build tech products with local Guadalajara talent.
Originally from the midwest, Andy moved to California straight out of high school and worked on early stage tech companies, helping them build product, raise money more quickly and even get acquired. After each project, he would take a year off to travel, which eventually led him to Guadalajara.
In this episode I sit down with Andy to hear more about his story building tech companies in Silicon Valley, creating products for the Mexican market, and how he is helping solve some of Mexico’s biggest problems with his “startup apprenticeship program” AgaveLab. We also cover lessons learned from the Mexican ecosystem, why Mexico is an attractive market for starting a business as well as for foreign investment.
Mixergy’s Andrew Warner interviewed me on his Mixergy Podcast as part of his series of podcasts with Latin American entrepreneurs and investors. Be sure to check out his podcasts with Maria Paz Gillet, Devin Baptiste, David Lloyd, Santiago Zavala and more. We cover how I ended up in Latin America, why we started Magma Partners, my previous startups, Andes Property and more. I reposted our conversation in its entirety, so I hope you enjoy my conversation with Mixergy’s Andrew Warner.
Nathan Lustig is the co-founder of Magma Partners, an early-stage investment firm that supports the best Latin American entrepreneurs to launch and scale in the US.
Nathan literally wrote the book on what it’s like to do business in different parts of Latin America. It’s called “Crossing Borders: A Venture Capitalist’s Guide to Doing Business in Latin America.”
I wish I had read it before I flew to Mexico City to do my first set of interviews because he really explains how the world south of the American border operates when it comes to startups and business.