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:
- [1:37] – About Ben & Frank
- [2:06] – Traditional retail experience for eyewear in Mexico
- [3:23] – Mexican roots, nomadic upbringing
- [5:05] – Entrepreneurial journey
- [6:00] – Internship at ALLVP
- [6:55] – Lessons learned at the Central Bank and ALLVP
- [7:55] – Why tackle this specific problem?
- [9:04] – Ben & Frank’s inflection point
- [11:48] – Building a brand in Mexico
- [13:15] – Insights into Latam’s direct-to-consumer category
- [14:20] – Competing with traditional retailers
- [17:25] – Expanding Mexican direct-to-consumer brands
- [18:15] – Advice to Mariana’s younger self
- [18:41] – Fundraising for a direct-to-consumer startup
- [23:18] – Being a female founder in Latam
- [26:35] – Avoiding biases in the VC ecosystem
- [29:07] – What’s next for Mariana and Ben & Frank?
Show notes on Latamlist.com.
Eugenio Perea is a Mexican entrepreneur, investor, and company builder, and Magma Partners’ newest Venture Partner. Based in Mexico City, his career path has crisscrossed the Mexican ecosystem, consistently returning to the idea that businesses can improve society by creating excellent products that directly solve their customers’ problems. This thesis led Eugenio from his first corporate jobs to his first companies, and finally as entrepreneur in residence at VC firm ALLVP, where he learned the ins and outs of startups. Despite initially planning to become a “soldier in the corporate world,” Eugenio has been a key actor in building out Mexico’s ecosystem over the past decade.
I sat down with Eugenio on this episode of Crossing Borders to discuss what he learned while starting his own companies, how entrepreneurship is changing Mexico, and how the local ecosystem has changed over the past decade. We also talk about why international VCs should look at the Mexican market and Eugenio’s hopes for Mexico’s future. Check out the rest of this podcast to hear Eugenio’s story from studying chemical engineering to being a key figure in the Mexican startup ecosystem and joining us as our Magma Partners team member in Mexico.
Marcus Dantus launched his first tech startup in 1993, selling email addresses through a portal that he hosted on the domain Mexico.com. Born in Mexico City, Marcus studied Media Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, but his career quickly switched to technology when a friend introduced him to the Internet. Since then, Marcus never looked back. He founded a telecommunications company, acted as CEO of a medical device business, was on the founding team of Wayra Mexico, and finally developed and launched Startup Mexico, where he acts as CEO.
Note: A version of this post appeared as a column in Spanish in Chile’s El Mercurio with the title Emprendedores chilenos: Pierdan el miedo a EE.UU. Although this post focuses on Chilean entrepreneurs, it can also apply to other Latin American entrepreneurs. From what I’ve seen, Mexican entrepreneurs are the least scared of the US market, followed by Argentinians, Colombians, then Chileans, who generally think they don’t have much of a shot at competing in the US. This mindset is slowly changing and this article’s goal is to push it along faster.
A few weeks ago, COPEC, a Chilean convenience store and gasoline service station chain, acquired Delek, a US convenience store and gas station chain with 348 US locations for $535MM. COPEC has operations in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama, but this is their first foray into the US market. It’s an important step for Chile because it shows that both big companies and startups alike shouldn’t be scared of the US market. In fact, they should view the US market as a big opportunity to expand outside of their home markets.
For way too long, when Chilean companies large and small have wanted to expand out of Chile, they’d look at Peru, Colombia and maybe Mexico. But we’re recently seeing a big change, both by startups and by big companies like COPEC.