JT Li joined the Magma Partners team in our Santiago, Chile office earlier this year. As part of her training, she listened to much of the Crossing Borders podcast and wrote up some of the most interesting things she learned from the entrepreneurs and investors I talked with. Here’s JT’s story about how she went from the south of China to Santiago, Chile.
Three month ago, on my 25th birthday, I took a flight from my hometown of Jieyang, China and arrived in Santiago, Chile two days later, after 32 hours in the air, and joined the Magma Partners team.
I never imagined that one day I would be working in South America, let alone Chile. But now when I look back, everything makes sense. During the first 18 years of my life, I followed a very traditional path. I lived with my family in Jieyang, a small (by Chinese standards!) city of 6M in Canton where I was born. I studied hard and got good grades. Next up university. After the extremely competitive entrance exam, I was accepted into Beijing Foreign Studies University and hopped on a plane to study economics.
It was my first time away from home, 1100+ miles away from my home town. I had a great year meeting my fellow students from different backgrounds and experiencing huge differences between southern and northern China in terms of languages, food and lifestyles. After meeting new people from different places, I was hooked. I wanted to see more. After my first year, I started traveling and haven’t stopped since.
My first stop was Bulgaria, a small country in eastern Europe, where I for an cultural exchange program for 6 weeks. Next, I flew south to Queensland, Australia for a semester abroad, where I studied management and learned a bit of Aussie English. After I finished my undergraduate in Beijing, I went back to Australia, settling in Sydney for a Masters Degree in Management.
I knew I wanted to go abroad again. One day, I was handed a list of 28 universities to pick from for my exchange semester. Chile immediately stuck out because of their natural beauty and because nobody I knew had been there. Chile and Brazil were the only two South American countries on the list. I remember thinking, “hmm Chile is definitely far enough away, and it seems safer than Brazil,” so I applied!
Since we closed our second fund in January to invest in fintech/insurancetech companies in Latin America and US companies with Latin American tech and sales teams, the entrepreneurs we support have been busy. And so have we. Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting things that have happened in the first half of 2018.
We’ve invested in 8 companies out of Magma II since January. Here are three that are public. We’ll be announcing more of our investments in the next month.
Workep – Medellin and San Francisco based Workep is a project management tool built onto of G-Suite. I’ve know Carlos Eduardo Alvarez since meeting him at a BBQ in 2015 in Medellin and have been following since then. We reconnected at Parallel18 this year and invested recently.
Jie Hao is a partner at Magma Partners who previously built and sold two companies before heading to Chile to look at investment opportunities in 2012. To make this podcast, I repurposed a segment of a conversation we had while I was in Shanghai for the launch of the partnership between Kr Space and Magma Partners to create the Sino-Latin American Accelerator. This conversation was a part of our doing business in Latin America course through 36Kr, China’s version of TechCrunch, where we taught Chinese entrepreneurs and investors about the growing opportunities for investing in Latin America.
In this short form episode of Crossing Borders, we talk about how Magma Partners got involved in China, why Chinese investment is important for Latin America, and how China and the US are looking at Latin America differently.
Adam Rang wrote an article on the e-Residency Blog about Magma Partners’ Jie Hao’s talk at the Remix Conference, China’s version of TED, about Estonia’s e-residency program. More than 5M people have watched it so far. From the article:
Estonia’s e-resident community has been growing at record speed so far in 2018, thanks in large part to new interest from entrepreneurs in south-east Asia — especially Korea, Japan, and China.
One person who has played a particularly significant role in this growth is Jie Hao, one of the first e-residents from China, who took to the stage at the Remix conference in December to discuss his thoughts about the e-Residency programme.
Hao is a serial entrepreneur, author, angel investor and a Partner at Latin American tech fund Magma Partners. He’s a passionate advocate of blockchain technology and teaches Chinese entrepreneurs to find global opportunities.