Sofía Yagüe, Next Legal: A Lawyer’s View on the Latin American Startup Ecosystem, Ep 71

Sofía Yagüe never imagined she would end up as an expert in Latin American startups and venture capital, and be splitting her time between New York and Miami. Originally from Spain, she completed her Business and Law studies in Madrid, moving to New York to do her Master’s degree at NYU, and passed the NY Bar becoming a dual licensed Spanish and New York lawyer.

An offer at a top law firm led her to Miami, where she recently started her own boutique law firm Next Legal, which specializes in venture capital in Latin America and Spain an the US. The idea for her firm came from observing the growing and changing startup ecosystem in Miami and from trying to cover the need for a bilingual lawyer that was licensed in the US but also understood the particularities of the regions.

In this episode, we cover the frequent legal mistakes that Latin American entrepreneurs make, the best structures for raising capital in the United States or abroad, as well as tips and tricks to keep startups on the right path. This episode is more nuts and bolts, with actionable stories and advice for Latin American founders. Listen to this episode to learn more about Sofía’s story and what it’s like working with investors and startups in Latin America from a legal perspective.

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Eugenio Perea: Building Mexico’s Startup Ecosystem, Ep 70

Eugenio Perea is a Mexican entrepreneur, investor, and company builder, and Magma Partners’ newest Venture Partner.  Based in Mexico City, his career path has crisscrossed the Mexican ecosystem, consistently returning to the idea that businesses can improve society by creating excellent products that directly solve their customers’ problems. This thesis led Eugenio from his first corporate jobs to his first companies, and finally as entrepreneur in residence at VC firm ALLVP, where he learned the ins and outs of startups. Despite initially planning to become a “soldier in the corporate world,” Eugenio has been a key actor in building out Mexico’s ecosystem over the past decade.

I sat down with Eugenio on this episode of Crossing Borders to discuss what he learned while starting his own companies, how entrepreneurship is changing Mexico, and how the local ecosystem has changed over the past decade. We also talk about why international VCs should look at the Mexican market and Eugenio’s hopes for Mexico’s future. Check out the rest of this podcast to hear Eugenio’s story from studying chemical engineering to being a key figure in the Mexican startup ecosystem and joining us as our Magma Partners team member in Mexico.

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Jackie Hyland: How Debt Tools Can Help Latin American Entrepreneurs, Ep 69

Jackie Hyland has spent the better part of a decade living, working and studying in Latin America across multiple different industries, which has given her a unique perspective into ways that technology and finance can help serve the region.

After spending time with non-profits, impact investment, real estate, traditional venture capital and the the head of Latin America for Silicon Valley bank, Jackie is now looking at ways that non traditional financing options can help Latin American entrepreneurs.

We sat down to go over her experience and take a deep dive into debt, venture debt and something as seemingly as simple as opening a bank account in order to deposit your US venture capital check.

Check out this episode to hear Jackie’s story and her wealth of knowledge on finance, venture capital and startups in Latin America.

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Fixing Latin America’s Broken Lending Industry

Credit in Latin America is notoriously hard to access. Just a few years ago, credit card rates in Brazil hit 450%, which has gone down to a still astounding 250% per year. In Chile, I’ve seen credit cards that charge 60-100% yearly interest. And that’s if you can even get a card in the first place. Yet people still use these predatory systems. Why? There are rarely any other options.

In the US, access to loans depends mainly on a single number: your FICO score. Your credit score is an aggregate of your spending and borrowing history, so it gives lenders a way to find out if you are a trustworthy customer. In general, the higher your score, the bigger (or more lenient) your line of credit. You can boost your score by managing credit wisely for long periods, such as always paying off a credit card on time, or lower your score by taking on more credit, not paying it off on time or carrying a high balance. While many people criticize the FICO score model, it is a relatively simple way for lenders to verify the creditworthiness of potential customers.

Consumers in the US have access to deep pools of capital at their fingertips. Home loans, credit cards, consumer credit and other forms of debt are readily available. Perhaps they are even too available, as we saw in the 2008 financial crisis or as we might be seeing now with bubbles in student loan debt.

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