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.
The Mexican venture capital and startup ecosystem is changing fast. And ALLVP’s Federico Antoni has been there helping it grow since 2012 when he and his partner Fernando Lelo de Larrea started their first fund. The once-CEO of a Mexican fashion company started investing after he failed to reinvent an aging consumer brand. The transition from a corporate position to the world of entrepreneurship might not be obvious, but Federico leveraged his experience teaching at universities to help him raise not one, but three venture capital funds that have gone on to support not only Mexican but also Latin America startups.
I sat down with Federico on this episode of Crossing Borders to discuss how he raised US$6M in 2012, before startups were popular, lessons learned while raising his second and third funds, the Cornershop acquisition for $225M by Walmart, in which ALLVP was an early investor, CORFO’s effect on the Chilean VC ecosystem, and China’s impact on the Latin American ecosystem. Check out this episode to hear Federico’s journey from the corporate world to becoming a prominent player in Latin America’s startup ecosystem.
Earlier this year, Mexico became one of the first countries in Latin America to regulate financial technology, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The Mexican Congress officially recognized cryptocurrencies as digital assets – but not as currency – and set up rules to control exchanges to prevent corruption and money laundering. The law puts the Mexican Central Bank in charge of monitoring companies working with cryptocurrencies.
The Mexican government as a whole is also investigating multiple uses for the blockchain to increase transparency, reduce corruption, and prevent illegal activity throughout the country. Mexico currently ranks 135th out of 180 on the global corruption index, according to Transparency International.
In early April 2018, the Mexican government released news that they are currently developing a project called Blockchain HACKMX that uses the blockchain to track and validate bids for public contracts. This system, proposed by a group of university graduates last year, will increase transparency in the federal hiring process and help organize the post-contract auditing process. (more…)