Simon Chamorro, Valiu: Revolutionizing the Venezuelan Remittance Economy, Ep 98

80% of Venezuelans today depend on remittances to survive. Almost seven million people have left the country since the protests against the Maduro government started, creating a massive diaspora, almost all of whom send money home to family members trapped in the country. 

Simon Chamorro was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, so he has seen this problem firsthand. He co-founded Valiu to make it easier to transfer money from Colombia to Venezuela by streamlining remittances using cryptocurrency.

In this episode of Crossing Borders, Simon explains how Valiu is using cryptocurrency to solve real-life problems, and how it has the potential to combat inflation in economies across Latin America. Now living in Colombia, Simon also discusses the important lessons he has learned working with four startups in the Colombian ecosystem, his own experience in starting a company, and where Valiu is headed next.

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about the current situation in Venezuela and how Valiu is helping streamline the remittance economy from across the Colombian border.

Venezuela: the “biggest hyperinflation crisis in economic history” 

Simon Chamorro first encountered cryptocurrency when working at Rokk3r Labs, a crypto-security company in California, with co-founder David ?. While living in Colombia and sending money back home to his family in Venezuela, he recognized a real need for a safe platform for transferring money across borders. 

Simon describes Valiu as being “the right company at the right time,” providing a solution to the issue of remittance cash flow in creating a closed economy through which to transfer money within Latin America, specifically from Colombia to Venezuela. The Valiu app manages these transactions to guarantee that payments arrive within an hour.

Listen to the full episode to find out more about how cryptocurrencies are helping to the current economic crisis in Venezuela.

How cryptocurrencies are helping create a safer Venezuelan economy 

Valiu is using cryptocurrency to solve the current crisis of the Venezuelan economy by allowing people to keep their savings on US dollars, the ultimate store of value in the global economy. Dollar accounts are the most stable option for Venezuelans in light of the country’s extortionate inflation rates.

Simon explains how Valiu’s technology has the potential to not only help stabilize Venezuela’s economy but also others to help Latin American economies that frequently deal with high inflation rates, like Argentina. 

Check out the rest of the episode for how Valiu is using the Venezuelan diaspora to connect Latin America to international economies by securing money on the dollar. 

Simon’s lessons learned from four Colombian startups 

I asked Simon what he considered the most important lessons he learned from working in four different startups and then building his own company in Colombia. He said that it was always to know the end goal; without a vision for the company, it is hard to find the path to success.

Simon also mentions that finding a good mentor helped him to navigate the startup network and find his footing in the industry. Through his mentor, he not only learned essential business skills that helped grow the company but also gained access to a wider market of investors in Colombia.

Check out the rest of the podcast for more lessons that Simon has learned from Colombia startups to running Valiu.

Today, Valiu is looking to expand beyond Venezuela and use cryptocurrency to change the face of Latin America’s economies, creating a more structured and stable financial system. The startup is providing economic security to families in an unstable country, creating a solution to a current and urgent problem. Check out the rest of the episode for how the full story on how Simon is building Valui into a company that is helping Venezuelans survive a crisis and could support Latin Americans in unstable economies across the region. 

Outline of this Episode:

  • 1:55 – Introducing Simon Chamorro and Valiu.
  • 3:15  – Simon’s background, growing up in Venezuela and studying service design.
  • 5:53 – The tech industry: Simon’s first experiences in the tech industry, working in the US and Colombia.
  • 10:42 – How Simon came up with the idea of Valiu.
  • 11:10 – Simon’s three recommendations for working in a startup.
  • 13:41 – How Valiu has the potential to combat the Venezuelan economic crisis and build safer economies in Latin America.
  • 17:33 – Valiu: a simple, user-friendly way to send money to Venezuela.
  • 20:28 – Fighting inflation in Latin America.
  • 23:16 – Key lessons Simon learned from going through YCombinator.
  • 25:13 – Simon’s recommendation for books, blogs, documentaries, and podcasts.
  • 26:20 – Growing Valiu’s market across Latin America.

Resources & People Mentioned