Luis Garza is the founder of Kinedu, an app that provides educational games and activities for parents and kids to play together. He was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico but had the opportunity to study abroad at a young age. Luis knew from early on he wanted to give others the same educational opportunities he had been given as a child.
After college, he joined the corporate world but eventually made his way to his passion: early childhood education and entrepreneurship. His first startup was Advenio, a high-quality daycare for preschoolers in Mexico, which led to his current pursuit: Kinedu.
Kinedu encourages early childhood development at scale. Parents and teachers can access over 2,000 one-minute long videos on Kinedu’s app that provides them with content and tools to better engage in their child’s development.
For this episode, I sat down with Luis, our first guest from Monterrey, to talk about what it’s like starting a business and living in one of Mexico’s most important business centres. We cover his journey from the corporate world as a consultant, to developing a business plan for his first startup Advenio, and eventually starting Kinedu. We also discuss the cultural differences that led him to miss trains while he was attending boarding school in the UK, and what it was like to study at Stanford at a time when no one was really paying attention to tech.
Learning to be an entrepreneur in Mexico
Luis confesses he felt like he was on autopilot during his first six years out of high school, studying at Stanford, then dabbling in the management consulting world. Despite his recollections of ‘coasting’ through those years, there were two things Luis knew he wanted to do. First, he recognized his privilege growing up and studying in the UK, and wanted to help other people in Mexico be as fortunate as him. Second, he knew he had to move back home and learn how to be an entrepreneur in Mexico before he could help others.
Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to find out how Luis dived into Mexico’s startup ecosystem and eventually co-founded Advenio with Rene Lankenau.
The four pillars of a “Corporate Day Care”
Advenio was on a mission to reinvent childcare in Latin America at a time when no one wanted to talk about this industry in Mexico. A year before starting their project, Mexico experienced its worst childcare tragedy: the 2009 Hermosillo daycare center fire. Companies that had initially shown interest in incorporating Advenio centers in their buildings, abandoned the project. Luis set out to use Advenio to change this negative sentiment using four pillars: a high functioning model for parents, perfect safety standards, a big focus on learning, and highly trained teachers.
Check out this episode to learn more about how Luis changed the country’s perception on daycare centres in Mexico with his first startup, Advenio.
“The barrier to scale is a lot higher in LatAm than in the US”
Luis has seen how the startup and VC ecosystem in Monterrey has evolved since 2010. When he started innovating, there was very little capital dedicated to startups. In the past nine years, VCs and startups have begun to operate on more equal footing and term sheets are looking more reasonable. However, he believes Latin American companies are measured against a higher bar for raising capital than US companies, which might be able to raise $10M with a simple PowerPoint presentation.
Learn more about how Luis raised capital for Advenio, and eventually Kinedu, on this episode of Crossing Borders.
Luis Garza is helping families and corporations achieve a healthier work-life balance through the magic of Kinedu’s software. After working in the Mexican ecosystem for almost ten years, Luis provides a startup veteran’s perspective on what it takes to survive the Mexican ecosystem. Listen to this episode to hear more about his fascinating journey and learn from the lessons he’s gathered through two education startups in one of Latin America’s largest markets.
- [1:27] – About Kinedu
- [3:37] – Luis’ Monterrey origins
- [4:57] – A year in the north of England
- [6:17] – The Stanford experience
- [10:16] – About Advenio
- [15:05] – Lessons learned from over 9 years in the business
- [17:36] – Raising money in Monterrey 2010
- [20:21] – An overview of Monterrey’s startup and VC ecosystem
- [25:11] – Decision to start Kinedu
- [31:12] – Learning to prioritize while running two companies
- [32:09] – Investors on raising money for second company
- [34:56] – Advice to Luis’ younger self
- [36:15] – What’s next for Luis and Kinedu?