You can now find the full show notes of the Crossing Borders podcast on LatamList.com’s new podcast section. I’ll still post the audio of the podcast on my blog and I’m planning to start writing more again on my blog, like I used to.
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Thanks for listening to Crossing Borders all these years! If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to reach out here, or contact me on social media.
Outline of this episode:
- [01:06] – The backstory of creating coffee without coffee beans
- [02:30] – Why is coffee the perfect target?
- [03:28] – Why does coffee contribute to climate change?
- [04:10] – Why do we need to brew coffee without coffee beans?
- [05:10] – Two minute background on Maricel
- [06:05] – First startup experience
- [06:40] – Singularity University and meeting her first co-founder
- [07:10] – From fighting bacteria to fighting climate change
- [08:03] – Can we do something for climate change now?
- [08:40] – From climate anxiety to taking action
- [09:27] – How to take action fighting climate change
- [12:00] – Opening jobs at Compound Foods
- [13:05] – What does it take to build a company like Compound?
- [14:05] – From Costa Rica to the Bay Area
- [15:33] – Fundraising for a live product
- [16:25] – Thoughts on fundraising
- [17:35] – Why is Compound not a synthetic food company?
- [19:50] – What does the future look like?
- [21:05] – Next steps for Compound
- [22:09] – What advice would you give to yourself when you were first getting into tech?
Shownotes on Latamlist.com
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global threats that most people don’t know much about. It has the potential to take us back to the days when a small cut could kill you. Maricel Saenz is tackling this problem head on with NextBiotics, a company creating new tools to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria.
If that wasn’t enough, she’s taking on antiquated stereotypes of Latin American and female founders. Have you ever heard of a male entrepreneur getting asked if he is dating his female co-founder? Maricel Saenz was advised that she should disclose that she had no personal relationship with her male co-founder near the beginning of her pitch. Maricel has bigger battles to win: specifically, the battle against drug resistant bacteria. Originally from Costa Rica, Maricel has worked in Canada, the US, Asia and South Africa to try to solve big global problems; listen in to learn how she decided to cofound NextBiotics, her most recent endeavor.
I sat down with Maricel Saenz in this episode of Crossing Borders to talk about her experience in entrepreneurship, her decision to solve hard problems, raising finance for a biotech startup in Silicon Valley, and her decision to study at Singularity University. Maricel also offers advice to female and Latin American would-be founders to help them get their first endeavor off the ground.
Costa Rica, literally “Rich Coast” in Spanish, is a fitting name for a country with diverse geography which ranges from tropical rainforests to vast oceanscapes. Five million people call Costa Rica home, and the official language is Spanish. Costa Rica’s GDP is US$74.9 billion with 72% attributed to imports and exports like coffee, sugar, and fruit. The average wage for Costa Ricans is about CRC654,059 (Costa Rican Colón) or US$1,150 per month.
Costa Rica is a prime location for entrepreneurs because of its proximity to the United States and because of its many free trade agreements. Its largest foreign investments come from the United States, which led to a 2016 marked a trade surplus of US$1.6 billion between Costa Rica and the US.
In the past few years, large tech companies like Amazon have invested in the Costa Rican market. One of the strong qualities of Costa Ricans, locally known as “Ticos,” is their literacy rate of 97.8%, The country has placed education as a top priority, and English is common among the young population. (more…)
I’m excited to introduce the Crossing Borders podcast (iTunes, Stitcher) where I share the stories of top entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the investors who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin America.
Over the past 6+ years in Latin America, I’ve met entrepreneurs hailing from countries around the world doing business across borders. Some do business in Latin America. Others use Latin America as a base to target the US market.
They’re some of the most diverse, risk taking, trailblazing entrepreneurs in the world. But when I come back to the US, Latin American startups just aren’t on people’s radars.
They’re mostly stuck on stereotypes of corruption, narcos and failed states. They see Latin America as a monolith and couldn’t tell you the difference between Mexican, Chilean and Argentine food, much less the difference between each country’s business climate.
As Magma portfolio companies started to do business in the US and meet with US investors, they came across this same ignorance of Latin America and its entrepreneurs. US entrepreneurs and investors have slept on Latin America and are missing out on some of the most interesting entrepreneurs in the world. And some of the best stories. (more…)