Five advices from mexican entrepreneurs to world’s investors
By Bronson Pettitt / San Francisco
Mexico and its entrepreneurial ecosystem have emerged in recent years as an unexpected yet welcome target for investment.
More than 200 investors, entrepreneurs, fund managers and other experts met in San Francisco on Thursday to discuss the opportunities and challenges of investing in Mexican companies.
Phil Wickman, president and CEO of Palo Alto-based Kauffman Fellows, asked five entrepreneurs to offer their insight that would give investors a better idea on investing in Mexico.
“If you had one piece of advice to give investors working with companies in Mexico to help them be better at their jobs and make you more successful, what would you tell them?” Wickman asked.
Miguel Ramírez, CEO of sports news website Soccerly:
“Trust the Mexican talent. Things have changed in the past five to ten years. Open your wallets and don’t be afraid. Be close to the entrepreneur. If you share the same passion and same commitment with the project, results for you and the entrepreneur are going to be much better.”
Manolo Díaz, co-founder of Yogome, an educational games platform for children:
“Patience. These technology companies and startups in Mexico are new. There’s a lot of potential. There’s a lot of talent in Mexico, but the experience that we need is different. Sometimes there are things we don’t have yet in Mexico, so it’s going to take more time for these company to get to the point where everyone wants.”
Adalberto Flores, CEO of online micro-lending platform Kueski:
“At a company, things go bad. They always go bad. When something goes bad and I talk to my investors, instead of saying ‘oh my God, this is terrible,’ they say, ‘that’s fine.’ It’s a good problem to have. The fact that they’re accessible and that we can openly go to them and tell them, ‘shit happens,’ that actually makes us more comfortable going to them on future occasions and being one hundred percent transparent on whats happening in the company.”
Joel Neugart, general counsel of Singularity University:
“Look past the financials, the assumptions and the bios about whether [the entrepreneurs] can execute, and look at the spirit behind what the entrepreneur is trying to achieve, and does it fit with what your fund is about? I’ve seen people argue for months about term sheets. The reason you’re arguing about the term sheet isn’t actually about the money, there’s no alignment around the spirit about what you’re trying to achieve, so find people you gel with. Invest in them.”
Roberto Charvel, from Vander Capital Partners an investor at Kubo Financiero:
“We’re at a time when Mexico is making all these great reforms. The government is doing its job and has supported the creation of new funds and investment. What I would suggest to everyone looking at Mexico, and to be more successful, is to understand the moment of the trend. It’s very positive. There are around US$300-$400 million of early stage funds in Mexico currently which have never been around before. But when I was reading how much money the US raised this year in venture capital, it totals US$25 billion. Even though Mexico has raised US$300-$400 million, it’s never going to be enough, so there are still a lot of great opportunities to be able to invest.”