Gabriela Estrada, Vexi: Bringing Credit to the Underbanked in Mexico, Ep 104

Only one in ten adults in Mexico have access to a formal credit card, according to Gabriela Estrada. That’s more than 70 million people that are not able to build a credit history. As cofounder and CFO of Vexi, Gabriela is on a mission to make credit accessible to Mexico’s underbanked population. 

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Gabriela was at the peak of her career at Citibanamex in Mexico City when she decided the corporate world wasn’t for her. She was the only female director as well as the youngest among her peers by 10 to 15 years. After leaving the bank, her friend convinced her to cofound Vexi with him, where she quickly fell in love with the power of impacting her community through fintech.

I sit down with Gabriela to talk about her experience as a woman in finance in Mexico and some of the challenges she now faces as a female founder when seeking investment. We also discuss why she decided to tackle financial inclusion and how Vexi is helping increase financial literacy in Mexico.

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Gonzalo Ucar, Hogaru: Empowering Colombia’s Cleaners to Earn Stable Wages, Ep 103

As an engineer, Gonzalo Ucar wanted to solve real-world problems. Originally from Spain, he decided to move to Latin America to become an entrepreneur and tap into the region’s opportunities. Today, he lives in Bogota and is co-founder of Hogaru, an on-demand cleaning company in Colombia.

Gonzalo and his partner recognized a huge pain point in Colombia’s cleaning industry: a deeply-rooted informal economy. Most cleaners in Colombia do not have a steady income or a social security number, which restricts their ability to realize their full economic potential. That’s why Hogaru’s cleaning service functions on a direct employment basis and avoids encouraging a gig economy. 

In this episode, I sit down with Gonzalo to talk about how a Spaniard ended up in Colombia, Hogaru’s unique business model, and the lessons he’s learned as an engineer that he applies as an entrepreneur. We also discuss his major takeaways from participating in YCombinator and working with Endeavor.

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Daniel Cossío, Village Capital: Transforming Big Ideas from Vision to Scale, Ep 102

Daniel Cossío decided he wanted to be involved in technology when he realized that businesses could produce a greater social impact than just an economic return. Today, he is Regional Manager for Latin America at Village Capital, a venture capital firm that supports impact-driven, seed-stage startups that focus on financial services, sustainability, and the future of work and education. 

For ten years, Village Capital has supported over 1100 entrepreneurs from around the world, investing in more than 110 startups including Fintual, Vexi, and Siembro in Latin America. Daniel explains that Village Capital believes in supporting entrepreneurs that are often overlooked, helping them bring their big ideas from vision to scale.

In this episode, I sit down with Daniel to discuss how he got on the investor side of the table and became the lead in LatAm and how entrepreneurs can get involved with Village Capital. We also talk about a recent report released by Village Capital called Beyond Borders on how to successfully scale a startup in Latin America, among other industry trends in the region.

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Ishan Sinha, Point72 Ventures: Investing in Global Fintech Startups, Ep 101

Originally from New Delhi and Kathmandu, Ishan Sinha grew up on the move. Because of his Father’s job, he lived in six countries on three different continents until finally settling in Connecticut. Today, as Vice President of Point72 Ventures, he still normally spends lots of time on planes, but that’s been on hold in light of COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, he travels several times throughout the year to explore markets in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. 

Point72 Ventures is the independent, early-stage investment arm of Steven Cohen’s $16B hedge fund Point72 Asset Management.  The fund –always seeking to be at the forefront of new technology– naturally contacted a lot of startups, which eventually turned into investable businesses. Their first investment in Latin America was in Pierpaolo Barbieri’s fintech Ualá. Ishan, with his international background, jumped at the opportunity to work on the fund’s new global endeavors.

In this episode, I sit down with Ishan to talk about his nomadic upbringing, Point72’s core thesis and decision to explore outside of the US, and his insights on the differences between traditional investing and venture capital. We also discuss how Latin America compares to Southeast Asia, and Ishan gives advice on how to approach the Latin American market.

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