Luis Garza is the founder of Kinedu, an app that provides educational games and activities for parents and kids to play together. He was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico but had the opportunity to study abroad at a young age. Luis knew from early on he wanted to give others the same educational opportunities he had been given as a child.
After college, he joined the corporate world but eventually made his way to his passion: early childhood education and entrepreneurship. His first startup was Advenio, a high-quality daycare for preschoolers in Mexico, which led to his current pursuit: Kinedu.
Kinedu encourages early childhood development at scale. Parents and teachers can access over 2,000 one-minute long videos on Kinedu’s app that provides them with content and tools to better engage in their child’s development.
For this episode, I sat down with Luis, our first guest from Monterrey, to talk about what it’s like starting a business and living in one of Mexico’s most important business centres. We cover his journey from the corporate world as a consultant, to developing a business plan for his first startup Advenio, and eventually starting Kinedu. We also discuss the cultural differences that led him to miss trains while he was attending boarding school in the UK, and what it was like to study at Stanford at a time when no one was really paying attention to tech.
How do you keep a global workforce up to date on daily security threats and confirm people are ok in the event of a natural disaster? Most companies are still stuck in phone call and paper based systems that are extremely expensive and hard to update.
Base Operations’ founder Cory Siskind realized there was a better way than the standard practice that most multinational corporations give to employees who travel abroad for work: thirty page risk reports which mostly don’t even get read. Base Operations is an app that provides just-in-time information to its users in markets with high crime rates but poor access to crime data. Global workforces can quickly get a feel for their surroundings as soon as they touch down in a new city or country with the app’s features: intuitive heat maps, safe routing, geofenced alerts, and check-ins.
Cory has always been passionate about emerging markets, specifically interested in how security and crime affect a country’s growth. But what was the spark that pushed Cory to start the business? A business plan competition while studying for her Master’s degree at Harvard!
I sat down with Cory to talk about her early interest in emerging markets, how she came up with the idea for her company (also part of Magma Partners’ portfolio as of 2018), her experience in Harvard’s business plan competition, and what it’s like to operate between the US and Mexico.
Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to hear more about how Base Operations uses data to help multinationals keep their employees safe in emerging markets.
Some entrepreneurs are born, others are made. Federico Casas identifies as the former. A lifelong entrepreneur, Federico started his first business at age eight, and hasn’t stopped since. As one of the first movers in Mexico City’s budding startup ecosystem in the early 2000s, Federico has watched Mexico and Latin America undergo a tech revolution and has been evolving his work alongside it every step of the way. After starting and selling multiple businesses, Federico dabbled in venture capital and now works on both sides of the table as an angel investor.
I sat down with Federico to discuss startup successes and failures, the evolution of the Mexican ecosystem, advice on raising capital in the Latin American market, and how to empower more people from non-traditional backgrounds to become entrepreneurs or investors. Check out this episode to learn how Federico exited two businesses before the age of 30 and went on to impact the ecosystem as an angel investor as well as entrepreneur.
“I have no fear of letting go of my businesses”
Federico Casas has built multiple businesses, and is able to move on quickly when an idea is no longer worth pursuing. That’s not to say he doesn’t know when to put his head down and work hard, but Federico is not an entrepreneur that falls in love with his business and doesn’t know when to stop. He sold his first and third companies (one of which was ridesharing company Aventones, acquired by BlaBlaCar) and continued to search for new ways to support the ecosystem using the knowledge he had acquired.
Federico isn’t afraid of building and testing models quickly, even if they fail. This mindset is still relatively uncommon in the Latin American ecosystem, so tune into the podcast to hear Federico discuss his startup successes and failures, and how they taught him to focus on his strengths.
Venture capital, especially in Latin America, can often seem like a black box where founders have very little access to information about what happens on the inside of the firm. I’ve gotten so many questions about how to apply, when do it, pitfalls to avoid and so many more.
On the last episode of Crossing Borders, I interviewed Komal Dadlani, CEO and cofounder of Lab4U. One of her conditions for the podcast was that she could then turn the microphone around on me and ask all the questions she wanted to know about venture capital…of course I said yes! It was a great to share what we’ve learned in five years of VC and share how to best raise venture capital form Magma Partners. This episode is a combination of the questions Komal asked me and the most common questions I get via email, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
As Komal wondered, many entrepreneurs ask themselves how VCs analyze companies that they are considering for investment, and why they choose to invest in a specific companies. Others are curious about dilution, deal structure, or even the operations of the Magma team.
This episode was an opportunity to answer those questions. If one person asked, then at least ten people were probably thinking the same thing. Check out this episode to hear me answer Komal’s questions and delve into the most common questions I get on social media.