Alejandra Tenorio, La Manicurista: Using Tech to Improve Latin America’s Beauty Industry, Ep 72

Missing appointments at a beauty salon can add unnecessary frustration to a person’s daily routine. On the other hand, low paid beauty workers may work a full day and not take a single peso home at the end of a long day away from their families.

La Manicurista, a Colombian app that provides on demand beauty services, was born to solve these problems. Two years ago, Alejandria Tenorio, Colombian co-founder of La Manicurista, started the project during her MBA at Tulane University with her business partner, María Isabel Mostesdeoca. Since then, La Manicurista has expanded from its headquarters in Cali, into Bogota and Medellin, and has raised $300,000. This year, La Manicurista is looking to add two more Colombian cities to that list, Barranquilla and Cartagena, and raise a second round of $750,000.

In contrast with the United States, where beauty services are considered a luxury, in Colombia and Latin America, these are considered necessities, even being included in Colombia’s official inflation rate tracker. La Manicurista gives its users access to hairdressing, make-up, massage, waxing, and nail services from the comfort of their home or office in less than 45 minutes.

In this episode, I sat down with Alejandra to talk about how the idea for La Manicurista originated, how she raised money for the business, and how the app improves beauty professionals’ lives. We also learn about Cali’s ecosystem, and finally Alejandra gives some advice on how to pick investors.

(more…)

How IoT is Solving Everyday Challenges in Latin America

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword that many people throw around but not everyone understands. While it sounds obscure, the concept is simple; IoT is communication between physical objects that connect via the Internet.  

These products are implanted using sensors, monitors, and other devices that allow them to communicate with other connected devices. For example, if a machine in a factory could automatically send an alert to the supervisor’s smartphone when a gear is starting to wear down, that communication would happen through IoT.

It’s easy to imagine hundreds of applications of IoT technology that could simplify or solve everyday challenges. In Latin America, where millions of people still struggle with safety (especially in big cities), access to clean water, or adequate healthcare, the Internet of Things has the potential to provide innovative solutions to these problems.

The field is still in its infancy in Latin America. Since IoT has applications across almost every industry, efforts to join forces or create collaborative solutions have been few and far between. However, the newness of this industry, as well as the rapidly-increasing connectedness of the Latin American population, opens many opportunities for IoT solutions to take hold in the region over the next decade.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)