Nathan Lustig

Cory Siskind, Base Operations: Using Technology to Secure Global Workforces, Ep 81

How do you keep a global workforce up to date on daily security threats and confirm people are ok in the event of a natural disaster? Most companies are still stuck in phone call and paper based systems that are extremely expensive and hard to update.

Base Operations’ founder Cory Siskind realized there was a better way than the standard practice that most multinational corporations give to employees who travel abroad for work: thirty page risk reports which mostly don’t even get read. Base Operations is an app that provides just-in-time information to its users in markets with high crime rates but poor access to crime data. Global workforces can quickly get a feel for their surroundings as soon as they touch down in a new city or country with the app’s features: intuitive heat maps, safe routing, geofenced alerts, and check-ins.

Cory has always been passionate about emerging markets, specifically interested in how security and crime affect a country’s growth. But what was the spark that pushed Cory to start the business? A business plan competition while studying for her Master’s degree at Harvard!

I sat down with Cory to talk about her early interest in emerging markets, how she came up with the idea for her company (also part of Magma Partners’ portfolio as of 2018), her experience in Harvard’s business plan competition, and what it’s like to operate between the US and Mexico. 

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to hear more about how Base Operations uses data to help multinationals keep their employees safe in emerging markets. 

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Daniel Bilbao, Truora: Fighting Fraud in Latin America, Ep 80

Originally from Cali, Colombia, Daniel studied in the US and started a company in Silicon Valley before realizing he wanted to us his experience to solve a pressing Latin American problem: fraud. Truora, a startup that provides instant background checks, was born to fight that problem.

I sat down with Daniel for this episode to talk about why he decided to go after the Latin American market instead of Silicon Valley, how he raised money from Y Combinator, Accel, and Kazsek Ventures, and why he wants to tackle the problem of fraud in Latin America. We also discuss why he based his company in Cali and the lessons he learned building and working for three startups in Latin America and Silicon Valley. Magma has been supporting Truora since before YCombinator, so I’m especially excited to share the story of this ambitious founder from Colombia on the podcast.

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Johanna Posada, Elevar Equity: Driving Impact in Latin America via Venture Capital, Ep 79

Originally from Mexico, developing microfinance in Latin America and India was a natural step for Johanna Posada. With over 15 years of experience working in corporate finance, economics, microfinance and investing in emerging markets, Johanna, now based in Seattle, has long been involved in economic development. Currently, as Managing Director and Founder of Elevar Equity, an impact investment fund that focuses on fintech in both of those regions, Johanna has been able to find an intersection between work that has a social component and is also business oriented.

Elevar Equity targets investment in transformative and scalable businesses focusing on underserved customers. In this episode, I sat down with Johanna to talk about her experience and lessons learned from managing four funds with more than $270M assets under management, helping startups through multiple exits and impacting millions of people. We also cover her experience in microfinance and how the ecosystem has evolved over the years, her reasons for choosing LatAm and India, why foreign investors should be looking into the LatAm investment scene, and what the future holds for Elevar.

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn about Latin America’s impact investing space, and how the Elevar investment method helps people at the bottom of the pyramid build their businesses.

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Mike Packer, QED Investors: The Trailblazing US VC Investing in Latin American Fintech, Ep 78

In 2014, nearly all US-based VCs were reticent to invest in Latin America. But that didn’t stop Washington, DC based QED from building one of Latin America’s most impressive startup portfolios. Before becoming a Partner at QED Investors, Mike’s path into the finance world was not obvious. Mike’s first foray into finance was his job at Capital One where he pursued his passion for using data to solve problems.

Today, Mike lives in Tampa, Florida and is a Partner at QED Investors, a venture fund that has made over 100 mostly fintech investments in the US, UK, and Latin America. QED has been involved in some of Latin America’s top fintech deals including Nubank, Creditas, Credijusto, Guia Bolso, Loft, and Quinto Andar and many more.

On this episode of Crossing Borders, I sit down with Mike Packer to talk about his journey from working in banking at Capital One to joining QED as Principal, and then making his way up to Partner. We also learn about how startups should approach venture capital firms for funding and what to expect in fintech in the next coming waves within the region.

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