After 50+ episodes of Crossing Borders, my podcast where I have conversations with entrepreneurs, investors and the people who support them with a focus on Latin America, I decided to go back and make a list of the books they’ve recommended the most. There were two books that stood out from the crowd, but be sure to check out some of the other gems below, from business, to history, to finance and fiction. 1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
“I love that book… I remembered the night before I was set to meet with a top tier VC. I woke up and threw up in the bathroom. In the book Ben is always throwing up. There is a problem, he throws up. He is constantly throwing up. And I remember thinking like oh this is what it feels like. And then like ten minutes later I throw up again and I realized it is probably food poisoning… It made me realize stress is part of the experience. That kind of ramp up and gear up is okay.”
“The single most important book I read. I still go back to that book… I realized I was going through a lot of the same things… The struggle is real and hearing someone else’s perspective allowed me to understand that I am not that alone.”
Pedro Pablo del Campo is a Chilean entrepreneur and the newest addition to our Magma Partners team. Born in Punta Arenas, one of the most Southerly cities in the world, Pedro Pablo traveled the world in his youth since his father was in the Air Force and then a commercial pilot. From a young age, Pedro Pablo was eager to be involved in early-stage enterprises and has gone on to founding or joining early teams of several startups and nonprofits bridging the US and Latin America. In 2016, he joined the Techstars team in Austin as the Business Development Director for Latin America, a position they created just for him.
Pedro Pablo has now brought his passion for supporting Latin American entrepreneurship to Magma, where he will be helping manage our portfolio and evaluating future investments for the fund. In this episode, we discuss Pedro’s non-traditional career path, his start in the nonprofit world, how a cold email got him connected to the Techstars network, and what he thinks of the maturing Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Jack Fischl and Kyle Wiggins studied across the Charles River from each other in Boston, but they didn’t meet until they both became Peace Corps volunteers in Panama. Even then, they were placed in two communities that were a 14-hour bus ride apart. So how did they build a successful Latin American travel marketplace together? It started with a simple WordPress site they created over several visits to their local internet cafes.
After realizing their communities had no way of marketing the unique tours they were offering, and that local tour guides were being ripped off by large corporations, Jack and Kyle came up with Keteka. In this episode, Jack and Kyle explain what they learned from going through Start-Up Chile and the Booking.com Accelerator program, raising a funding round through Latin American angel investors on FounderList, and receiving investment from more traditional VCs like my firm Magma Partners. But it all started with the lessons they learned in the Peace Corps.
Miguel Torres is an Ecuadorian entrepreneur who knew he wanted to start businesses when he saw needs that were unmet. After starting his entrepreneurial career in the food and drink industry and building the business to a successful exit, Miguel built out a daily deal site in Ecuador and other countries in Latin America.
The daily deals business morphed into Escapes With You, a travel and experience daily deals business, where he ended up in the Start-Up Chile program. After building the business, he realized that he was shipping items to guests from the travel experience business and decided to build a new business to solve the last mile problem he was experiencing himself.
Shippify is a shipping and logistics API that allows easy integration of delivery services into any E-commerce store and mobile app by adding a few lines of code.
Miguel hopped on a plane to Brazil without knowing any Portuguese and built the business ever since, expanding across the region and raising money from investors in Latin America, the US and the Middle East.