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WHEEL THE WORLD: EL SUEÑO DE HACER UN MUNDO MÁS ACCESIBLE PARA TODOS

WHEEL THE WORLD: EL SUEÑO DE HACER UN MUNDO MÁS ACCESIBLE PARA TODOS

Camilo Navarro, co-founder de Wheel the world, cuenta sobre el el camino que lo llevó a crear junto a su amigo Álvaro Silberstein el primer online marketplace de hoteles, tours y actividades para personas con discapacidad.

Camilo Navarro, co-founder de Wheel the world

Existen, en el ecosistema de emprendimiento e inversión, personas que vale la pena conocer. Son aquellas que con pasión y determinación intentan generar un impacto positivo en el mundo. Hoy quería compartirles una entrevista a una de esas personas: Camilo Navarro, co-founder junto a su amigo Álvaro Silberstein de Wheel the world, una startup que se propuso ser la solución para que las personas con discapacidad puedan viajar por todo el mundo. Ya desde el primer momento me pareció una gran idea: no solo vieron una oportunidad de negocios, también vieron que a través de su emprendimiento tenían la posibilidad de dar respuesta a una verdadera necesidad. Como suele ocurrir con este tipo de emprendedores, además, Camilo tiene una gran historia para contar.

¿Cómo surgió Wheel the world?

La historia parte de un viaje que tuve yo en Patagonia, en Torres del Paine. Una de las cosas que pensé allá fue: “que increíble seria traer a mi mejor amigo a este lugar”. Obviamente eso presentaba un desafío, porque mi mejor amigo es Álvaro, y él está en una silla de ruedas. Es amigo mío desde los años, fuimos al colegio juntos, y a los 18 tuvo un accidente automovilístico. Desde aquel entonces nosotros tratamos de hacer siempre nuestra vida pese a que él tenía una discapacidad. Esto nos llevó como consecuencia el pensar “¿por qué no?»: por qué no ir a las Torres del Paine, que es uno de los destinos más visitados de Chile.

Primero que todo, nadie lo había hecho; segundo, no había información sobre cómo se podía hacer, ni de dónde nos podíamos quedar, cómo nos podíamos transportar, qué tan accesibles eran los recintos que estaban en Torres del Paine, desde un hotel hasta un transporte. Además, para los circuitos necesitábamos una silla de ruedas especial, que encontramos por internet y nos la ingeniamos para conseguir. Esta historia se empezó a viralizar, y con un operador turístico de Patagonia tomamos la decisión de hacer una experiencia accesible. Levantamos una página web para mostrar toda la información de como hacer Torres del Paine con alguien en silla de ruedas. Era simplemente una página web mostrando la información y ya está. No estábamos pensando en armar un negocio.

Hicimos el viaje y fue extraordinario, no solamente para Álvaro sino para todos los que fuimos. Y ahí nos dimos cuenta de que algo increíble había ocurrido. Pronto tuvimos el primer momento de “a-ha, aquí hay algo”: nos empezaron a contactar muchas personas con discapacidad de distintas partes del mundo que querían repetir este mismo viaje y además, operadores de turismo de distintas partes del mundo nos empezaron a contactar para replicar lo que hicimos en Patagonia pero en sus propios destinos. Entonces nos dimos cuenta de que la industria turística también quería atender a las personas con discapacidad pero no sabía cómo.

El otro descubrimiento fue que los grandes actores de la industria del turismo no estaban atendiendo a las personas con discapacidad. No tienen servicios personalizados y tampoco tienen la información específica de accesibilidad. Por eso a finales de 2017 tomamos la decisión de fundar Wheel the world, con el propósito de hacer el mundo accesible. Nuestro sueño es hacer que millones de personas con discapacidad puedan viajar a miles de lugares del mundo. Tenemos una plataforma online que permite a personas con discapacidad y a su familia y amigos buscar y reservar viajes accesibles, incluyendo hoteles, tours y actividades accesibles en distintas partes del mundo, a través de nuestro sitio web que es gowheeltheworld.com. En 2018 comenzamos nuestra operación, y eso nos llevó a nuestro segundo “momento a-ha”, que fue que en un año y medio hicimos que más de mil personas con familias y amigos viajaran a 35 destinos y generamos más de un millón de dólares en ingresos.

Álvaro Silberstein, co-founder de Wheel the world, durante el tour a Machu Picchu

Una vez que se decidieron a emprender, ¿Cómo fue el proceso de levantamiento de capital?

Fue muy interesante. Yo diría que tuvo tres etapas. El primer gran punto fue que la universidad de Berkeley, en donde estábamos estudiando, tiene una incubadora de startups donde quedamos aceptados. Eso como consecuencia nos trajo al primer inversionista, de California, y con ese pequeño capital empezamos a trabajar. El segundo punto fue que quedamos aceptados, a mediados de 2018, en la incubadora de startups de Booking.com. Ese fue como el gran punto de inflexión para nosotros. Ellos nos ayudaron con la parte estratégica y nos dieron el capital inicial que nos permitió contratar personas y profundizar aún más que lo que habíamos podido hacer con el primer inversionista.

Con eso logramos llegar a este resultado que te decía anteriormente. Eso puso los cimientos para levantar una ronda de inversión de capital más grande, que tiene como hipótesis que si levantamos la información de más destinos vamos a poder hacer que más personas viajen y generar más ingresos. Y para eso necesitamos inversión tecnológica. Ese fue el tercer hito: logramos levantar una ronda semilla hace un mes atrás. Primero inversionistas ángeles, a principios de 2018. Luego, a mediados, Booking.com. También ganamos otro programa de aceleración en Facebook, en Google y en Startup Chile. Después pasaron 18 meses y en ese tiempo logramos buenos resultados, y eso nos dio la posibilidad de salir a buscar una ronda de capital semilla, que es lo que hoy en día estamos ejecutando.

¿Y quienes son nuestros inversionistas en esto? Tenemos como inversionistas líderes a dos fondos: uno es la Fundación Chile, uno de los venture capital más grandes de Chile, a través de su fondo que se llama Chile Global Ventures y tenemos otro fondo que es Dadneo, un grande de Latinoamérica. También tenemos inversionistas muy buenos, como la CEO de Youtube.

¿A qué tipo de inversores apuntaron en primer lugar y cuál es el tipo que buscan ahora?

Nosotros apuntamos primero a inversionistas ángeles pero también cuando empezamos a generar tracción apuntamos a venture capital de early stage funding, que son para etapas tempranas. Tenemos como inversionistas a Plug and Play, que es una incubadora bien grande de Silicon Valley y además a Bow Capital y al fondo de inversión de la universidad de Berkeley. Siempre es bueno tener a estos inversionistas institucionales de entrada, porque te van ayudando y te van permitiendo abordar a inversionistas institucionales más grandes.

¿Tuvieron algún mentor? ¿Hay algún emprendedor o emprendedora a quien admiren y les haya servido de inspiración?

Sí, tuvimos suerte de tener muy buenos mentores. Partiendo de la Universidad de Berkeley, que tiene su propia incubadora, que está en un lugar físico lleno de emprendedores e inversionistas. Nosotros después de terminar las clases íbamos siempre a esta incubadora a trabajar y pensar y conectar con más personas. Eso nos permitió entender un poco mejor cómo abordar una oportunidad desde la perspectiva de una startup. ¿Quiénes fueron ahí nuestros mentores? Bueno, la directora ejecutiva de esta incubadora nos ayudó un montón a entender qué es lo que había que hacer. Y después, una segunda mentoría es la que te contaba anteriormente con Booking.com. Ahí ya directamente era con los líderes y expertos de la industria. También hay inversionistas nuestros que además son mentores, y los mismos fondos de inversión, con los que ocurre lo mismo.

Wheel the world es una empresa, claro. Como tal, ¿Cuál es el impacto que busca generar con vistas a 5 años?

De aquí a 5 años nos gustaría, primero, estar ya posicionados como la solución líder de turismo accesible en el mundo; y por otro lado, ser la empresa que ha permitido a más personas explorar el mundo sin límites. Al final, cuando me preguntas por el impacto, el impacto se da en cada uno de estos viajeros. Tenemos la fortuna de que nuestro modelo de negocios está conectado con un impacto social. Cada viaje que vendemos es darle la posibilidad a alguien que haga algo que nunca pensó que podría hacer. Realmente estos viajes cambian la vida. Viajar a todos nos cambia la vida a todos. Por eso ojalá que en 5 años más sean millones de personas viajando a miles de lugares. Suena muy fácil decirlo, pero si uno lo deconstruye estamos hablando de una empresa gigante. Y eso es lo que hay que construir: una máquina que permita que eso ocurra.

Wheel the world en el Camino del Inca

Como una empresa que se dedica al rubro turístico, ¿Cómo ven el panorama futuro a partir de la epidemia de COVID-19?

Nosotros veníamos creciendo hasta principios de 2020 de manera muy acelerada y esto lo tomamos, más allá de todo lo lamentable que tiene, como una oportunidad para mejorar todo nuestro sistema y preparar toda nuestra empresa para poder escalar. En ese sentido el habernos detenido durante este tiempo nos ha permitido reflexionar mucho y pensar en cómo podemos construir los mejores sistemas para adquirir nuevos partners, nuevos hoteles, más tours, y todo para poder ofrecerlo de mejor forma a nuestros clientes. En este tiempo, si uno lo piensa, lo que se nos privó es justamente el poder explorar libremente como lo hacíamos antes. No solo el explorar por sí mismo sino por las conexiones humanas que significan moverse, desplazarse, viajar. Por eso creemos que el turismo no se va a ir a ningún lado, va a estar más desacelerado, va a ser probablemente más doméstico también, pero estamos confiados de que esto se va a activar lentamente y tenemos la espalda para aguantar ese tiempo.

Si alguien hubiera podido advertirles a principio de año que iba a venir una pandemia mundial, ¿Qué acciones habían tomado?

Buena pregunta. Yo creo que posiblemente hubiese hecho lo mismo, y eso habla un poco de la cultura que estamos generando como compañía. Estamos obsesionados con nuestros clientes, con cambiarles la vida mediante el viaje. Si nos hubiéramos enterado de esto, la decisión hubiera sido similar. Y afortunadamente, una de las características de las startups cuando están comenzando es que son menos dependientes de los ingresos de los clientes y son más dependientes del capital que levantan con inversionistas, que es lo que les permite avanzar y seguir a la próxima etapa. Una vez un inversionista me dijo algo interesante: las startups son experimentos. Uno no espera los resultados en el corto plazo, las apuestas son siempre a largo plazo, por lo tanto lo que hay que preguntarse es: ¿Qué tanto afecta una situación puntual que ocurre en un año respecto a lo que se está apuntando en el largo plazo? Lo importante es que el capital que se está levantando sea para mejorar ese experimento. En nuestro caso era para mejorar la tecnología, para lograr los resultados que van a ocurrir en un par de años más.

¿Cuál es el contenido sobre emprendedurismo – ya sea en formato de podcasts, blogs o libros – que más siguen? ¿Recomiendan seguir a algún autor/a?

Respecto a libros:

Venture Deals”, de Brad Feld y Jason Mendelson, que explica cómo funciona el ecosistema de venture capital y cuales son las estrategias para reunir capital al momento de hacer una startup. También “Good to great”, de Jim Collins, habla de la pasión que hay que tener como emprendedor para construir una startup.

Respecto a quién sigo:

Hay fondos de inversión, como Andreessen Horowitz, que escriben cosas muy interesantes.

Y mis favoritos (aunque suene un poco raro):

Youtube y Google. Es increíble lo que puedes aprender mirando videos de cosas. Sobre todo en las etapas tempranas de hacer una startup, los cofundadores tienen que aprender a resolver problemas, y las respuestas a muchos de los problemas están disponibles en esta nueva era de contenido y de información y de conocimiento. Hay herramientas disponibles y puedes aprender de manera super divertida a través de Youtube y a través de Google. Hay que aprender a buscar información, porque eso es conocimiento y eso lo puedes accionar. Uno puede encontrar hoy día todo en línea.

La última: Imaginemos que un alien visita la tierra y decide contactarlos a ustedes, ¿Qué le dirías para presentarle a la humanidad?

Mira, lo primero que se me viene a la cabeza: le diría que los humanos viven en paradigmas, y que tenga mucho cuidado con eso porque, finalmente, hace que los humanos se comporten de una u otra manera producto de ello. Te puedo contar un paradigma que nos tocó a nosotros: ¿por qué una persona con discapacidad no debería explorar un lugar como Patagonia? En ese minuto creo que solo Álvaro y yo creíamos que esto se podía hacer, y todos decían que no. Y después de que lo haces, te das cuenta de que ahora todos quieren hacerlo. Esto me hace pensar, en perspectiva, ¿Cuántos paradigmas más de esas características hay? Hemos vivido durante muchos años y vivimos aún insertos en muchos paradigmas. Y en algún momento a alguien se le debe haber ocurrido que en realidad los niños no deberían trabajar, o que las mujeres deberían ganar lo mismo que los hombres. Lo mismo si tu lo piensas bien, estos paradigmas han gatillado grandes movimientos sociales, desde el movimiento de la discapacidad, por un lado, hasta el movimiento de homosexuales o los mismos movimientos que se están generando en torno a la política. ¿A que voy con todo esto? A que uno no se da cuenta de los paradigmas en los cuales vive hasta que algo pasa que te permite decir: “Wow, acá estaba viviendo en algo que era falso”. Entonces le diría al alienígena que tenga cuidado con lo que le cuentan, porque quizás eso sea un paradigma.

#FOCO #CONSISTENCIA #PASION

 

Ficha técnica:

Nombre: Wheel the world
Año de fundación: 2018
Fundadores: Camilo Navarro y Álvaro Silberstein
Países en los que operan:  Ofrecen destinos en EEUU, Brasil, España, Perú, Francia, Inglaterra, Costa Rica, Chile, México y Sudáfrica

Do You Have a 360° Network?

Do You Have a 360° Network?

This is a guest post by  Rania Anderson, author of The Way Women Work and Undeterred.


 

Successful women and men have a 360 ​​° network. Do you?

I see people spend a lot of time attending networking events and meeting people for coffee or lunch, but I see them devoting time to building networks that can help them be more successful.

Their mistake: spending all of their time with people that they already know, with people like them and with people of the same age and gender.

In order to be successful, we all need a diverse and robust network, with various types of relationships (consider the relationships between words, not only with contacts).

Here are five directions in which you need to create networks: above, below, throughout, inside and outside.

ABOVE

The »ABOVE” network includes people that are older (metaphorically speaking), with more experience and who are more influential than you are. These people are able to become mentors or even be future partners or investors. These are the people that are able to open doors and make introductions; create opportunities. If you are an entrepreneur, these are probably the people with access to finance.

Where/how to contact these people: In specific industry events, conferences and congresses.

BELOW

The “BELOW” network is the network with people that are younger or more inexperienced than you. These people can serve as mentees or mentors that can teach you about new innovations.  The usually have access to information and have different types of contribution.

Where/how to contact these people: In universities, in coffee shops, through friends and family, or on social networks.

THROUGH

The “THROUGH” network is developed with colleagues working in the same or different departments as you do. These are the people with regular work. If you have a strong relationship with them, you’ll be able to turn to them for help and give them ideas about the best ways to get something within your organization. They can contribute more knowledge or warn you about the political landmines. Our peers are usually our strongest critics and the lack of strong peer relationships make it very difficult to succeed.

Where/how to contact these people: In your work space.

INSIDE

The “INSIDE” network has to do with people in the industry in which you work, including clients and users. Solid relationships with clients will bring business development opportunities. Whether you are in front of the client or not, relationships with clients and/or users are fundamental for the comprehension of their needs, competition and market forces. Lack of customer relationships is a weakness that I see with many women I coach. The result is that these women in new businesses have a very narrow understanding of customers and of the market needs which results in lower compensation and less promotional opportunities.

Where/how to contact these people: In client events, networking events, one-on-one meetings, conferences, industry events and social networks.

OUTSIDE

The “OUTSIDE” network is comprised of people that work in the field but are not related to your industry. These are commonly referred to as weak ties. These people will be able to serve as referral partners or service providers, such as bankers,  financial advisors, lawyers or people in completely different fields. This is one part of the network  that people often overlook or do not have time to dedicate. Big mistake! These exterior relationships are those that expand our prospects and lead to strategic and innovative ideas. These are outside relationships that often lead to new opportunities.

Where/how to contact these people: In their community, in cross-industry tests, through family and friends, through their mentors.

THE STRENGTH OF WEAK TIES

In the 1970’s, the U.S. sociologist, Mark Granovetter, published a document titled  The strength of weak ties, recognized as one of the most influential  publications of sociology ever written. Granovetter showed that people that we know well operate in the same circles as us and they know what we already know. On the contrary, people that operate in different circles have access to different information than us. Strong ties result in support networks, weak ties build bridges where we want to go.

It’s your turn to act: Evaluate the strength of your network in each one of these 5 groups. Do you have strong relationships with each one of these networks? How often are you nurturing these relationships? What else do you need to do to expand this network?

Continue reading here.


 

Author Biography: Rania Anderson, author of Undeterred: The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies and founder of The Way Women Work is a highlighted authority in the professional development of women in emerging and developing countries. With a strong conviction that women are the key to global prosperity she dedicates herself to helping women prosper. She is a global speaker, an executive coach, founder of a network of female angel investors and a contributor in business publications.

How To Convert A Necessity Into A Startup

How To Convert A Necessity Into A Startup

This is a guest post written by Mijal Yelin, Founder of ReservaTurno.


 

To start your own company implies many things, some of which you would never imagine. Above all, it requires a developed idea.

The famous brainstorming is a great place to start: see what works, what’s next and bring value to what already exists. So one can stay spinning and thinking about the one in a million idea that will have unquestionable success.  It probably will never be as successful as you think, because the objective is too big and ambitious that it ends up being unreachable.

I chose to discard that path and convert a “necessity” into a startup.

After working in multinational companies for a few years, I assumed it was time to make myself my own boss. I found the goal very attractive, but the first problem soon appeared: I needed an idea. I thought about all kinds of ideas, but then the famous “buts” appeared and I threw them out. I postponed everything.

Finally, I changed companies and returned inspired after a vacation. I wanted something related to fashion companies, trends and everything in this world that I had enjoyed. After a conversation over coffee with a friend, I realized that I was thinking of THE one in a million idea, with a mega technology that I didn’t no or was able to cope with financially. Also, I wasn’t seeing that in an era where everything is so virtual, the technological part of the beauty and aesthetic category was less developed in comparison to other industries.

I didn’t have to look for a great idea to turn into a startup. I found it in the daily necessities of many women that work and are in constant movement. Spending a big part of your day in an office, sitting in a box with your coworker in front of you and your boss one meter away brings some difficulties. Making appointments for manicures, getting your hair dyed or cut in these conditions is a challenge. This doens’t even include appointments for depilation, when in the same moment they ask you details about which zone you would like to remove hair from your boss appears. Communication is cut immediately.

This is how ReservaTurno was born, an innovative solution and 3 simple steps for reserving appointments for the hairdresser, spa, masseuse, depilation and makeup online or from your cell phone.

Appointments can be booked at anytime from anywhere, without losing time in lines or on calls.

Another key for this method is to form a team that will convert the idea into a fact. I looked for complementary profiles that would help me think and develop my idea, analyze the market and see if users will adopt to this new trend.

Working independently brought many changes to my life: the work day no longer ends at 6p.m., or at 7p.m., sometimes, it just doesn’t end. You aren’t only making the photocopies that you were doing in the multinational company, but you are also preparing the presentations and the business plan. You also have to open accounts at the bank, find investors, attend all sorts of events in order to meet new people and fill yourself with new ideas. Because the company depends on you and how you develop it. Suddenly you become a multitasking employee. You are your boss and your harshest critic.

But seeing that little by little your idea is growing, advancing and that you are reaching different achievements, is the best motivation to keep moving forward.  In my case, I learned that it is better and very motivating to think big, starting with the smallest thing.

Find an idea that awakes passion, it helps to be persistent, proactive to take small, firm steps that allow you to learn, fail and continue to learn in order to triumph.

Now I can call any hairdresser because I don’t have a boss in front of me.  Luckily, I can book an appointment more efficiently from my cell phone…and although I have less free time than before, my nails are always perfect, because people pay attention to my hands in meetings. I’m not just saying this, they admitted it to me.

Author biography: Mijal Yelin has a degree in Science Education from the Universidad de San Andrés, she has a Masters Business Management from New York University. Currently, she is Co-Founder and CEO of ReservaTurno, one of the startups that received investment from NXTP Labs.

Is It Important To Attend Events?

Is It Important To Attend Events?

The short answer is “yes”. Why? Because one of the most valuable assets for entrepreneurs, is our network, and it is in events where you can start weaving a network of contacts or strengthening the ones that you already have.

Having a good attendance strategy and presentation in events, can help your company grow in positioning , reputation and business opportunities. That’s why attendance at events must be an integrated part of the overall strategy of your company.

The key is to consider the event as a project, as any project has stages of execution. That is to say that every event has at least 3 stages:

  1. a) Before the event:

– Understand the content of the event and the dynamic to be able to know in advance how to use it best.

– «Research the speakers», know what they do, where they come from, their experience, as this allows you to decide if you will attend their lectures, if you’ll try to contact them after the conference, if you will ask them to meet during the event, with a clear and convincing objective. Connecting with speakers via LinkedIn before the event is essential.

Define what you want out of your participation in this event.

  1. b) During the Event:

ALWAYS carry business cards.

– Have your pitch rehearsed in 140 characters. Having a description of your company in a short and strong phrase ready is essential to keep people listening.

– Have your one pager ready when you briefly talk about your company, the market you are aiming for, opportunity for investors, solution that you bring to your customers, entrepreneurial team and what you are looking for in terms of capital or contacts.

– Ask for a business card or an email address of everyone you meet.

– Have a thank you email drafted for the meetings or the next steps that you have, or the next steps that are left in the meeting to send immediately after your meeting.

  1. c) After the Event:

– Follow up on leads generated during the event.

Meet regularly with those contacts whom you have a better fit.

Taking advantage of the networking of an event is a way to make the most out of our time, to capitalize on it, at the time that we feel the stage is set to grow our network exponentially.

Here is a short list of  the main benefits of participating in events:

  • Meeting new clients, suppliers and investors: One always focuses on networking events to obtain clients. However, getting good suppliers is just as strategic as the former. Discovering new products or services is necessary to continue being competitive in the constantly changing commercial scene. And why not take this opportunity to find our future investors or those that we can make more interested in investing in the future.
  • Contacting valuable partners and professionals: To add to our teams. Many founding teams have met or connected through events.
  • Collaborating with others: Each person has a valuable contribution to offer others. Giving and receiving tips about your company is one of the best assets of attending events.  I spend most events listening to entrepreneurs´ pitches and I consider this spaces an excellent tool for our deal flow. They are also opportunities to present yourself as an expert in your topic.
  • Connecting with influencers: Generally exhibitors, but also the organizers of the events are big exponents of the industry they belong to. These contacts can be extremely valuable to the business objectives of each development stage.

I hope that these tools will help you prepare for Wexchange 2015.

#focus #consistency #passion

Also when we invest our time in events!

S Factory: women at the forefront in Chile

S Factory: women at the forefront in Chile

The S Factory is a competitive fund of $10 millones to boost startups led by women, carried out by Start-up Chile. The fund will enable the beneficiaries to start the development of digital technology and high-impact projects.

Under the concept of exclusive pre-accelerator, The S Factory has 2 fundamental objectives: help turn innovative ideas into working prototypes and enhance the figure of women entrepreneurs in an ever- competitive environment. The initiative The initiative seeks to achieve these objectives by identifying companies in early stages that have high potential and are led by women.  Over the course of 12 weeks and within the Startup Chile platform, the selected projects will receive the equivalent of U$D 16,000 in capital as well as a series of trainings, courses and mentoring to accelerate the development and the necessary tools for finishing the early stages.

The requirements that should be completed for the project in order to be selected are: be in the project or the prototyping stage with less than 6 months of development and should be led by a woman.

The program is a response to the low diversity of genre that shows the entrepreneurial landscape in Chile and worldwide.

Analyzing the reality of the industry worldwide and in consultation with Chilean entrepreneurs in charge of successful, high-impact projects, it was decided to carry out this initiative to invite women to start business and guide them through the process.

The first selection of The S Factory starts today, June 22, and will extend through July 6, 2015. The first generation of The S Factory will consist of 15 projects with high impact potential, led by women.

More information about The S Factory.

Apply now!

Slowing Down: The Key To Improving Performance

Slowing Down: The Key To Improving Performance

This is a guest post by Leila Klein.


Many people know about Yoga, Mucho se conoce del mundo del Yoga, this ancient discipline that many of our related businesses have practiced and recommend. As entrepreneurs, we know that we live in a reality where time is short, we are focused on scaling our business, pitching our business, raising funds and investments and building a successful team.  Yoga allows us to better manage entrepreneurship and more in our lives.

Read more →

WeXchange: bring your startup in front of investors

WeXchange: bring your startup in front of investors

Once again, FOMIN/BID has asked us to organzie the WeXchange 2015 Pitch Competition for 2015. This year, we leave Miami and land in Monterrey, Mexico for Global Entrepreneurship Week. The dream that we had in 2013 has transformed into a thriving community that will meet November 19th and 20th in Mexico.

The Wexchange Pitch Competititon is back and searching for the most innovative, high-impact entrepreneurial women of Latin America. If you have a startup based in cloud computing, online advertising, e-commerce, e-health, e-learning, mobile applications, Internet-based, social networking and internet applications, video games and entertainment, big data, internet of things, fintech or agro business: This is your opportunity!

You can apply here until September 15th. 

We are joined by an optimal online jury: Alan Farcas (Lab4U), Federico Jack (Auth0), Laura Lukasic (S4), Gabriela Macagni (Endeavor Argentina), Eloísa Ortíz (Color Experts), Juliana Ossa Duque (Innpulsa), Eric-Perez Grovas (Jaguar Ventures), Santiago Pinto Escalier (Motormax) and Gary Urtuega (Papaya Ventures). They are represented by 5 Latin American countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and they’re all players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We believe this is an excellent opportunity, because there are always a small amount of women in Pitch Competitions. In this case, the female entrepreneurs will represent their companies to seek growth and investment.

Good luck to all participants!

We are in the classrooms of Harvard

We are in the classrooms of Harvard

We are happy to announce that NXTP Labs has been selected as a case study for Harvard Business School. We have met many people along the way to receiving this recognition that we would like to thank: my colleague Ariel Arrieta, graduate of Harvard’s Owner/President Management (OPM) program, who believed that we would be a good case study for the University, Josh Lerner, an eminence in the investment world and the individual that selected us, and the Harvard Alumni Club of Argentina, including our mentor, Gustavo Herrero and Fernando Miguel, Director of the University’s Latin American Research Center.

It is an honor for us that such a prestigious univeristy, that has 49% women in their classrooms, would choose us among so many companies in Latin America.

You can find the complete anouncement in our blog.

To Scale, or Not to Scale: That is the Question

To Scale, or Not to Scale: That is the Question

Scale, scale not. This month I was invited to speak in 2 conferences, Exponegocios in Cali, Colombia and ScalingUp, an online conference, in both conferences they asked me to speak on scaling, the how and why to globalize companies.

For this reason, I want to share a few tips on scaling a business, from a country to a region, and from a region to the world, considering the unique Latin American profile.

The team is the key to everything: When we invest in early-stage companies the first thing we look at is the team. As investors we think…Will this team be able to carry out what they propose? Regionalization shows if the founders have had the ability to transmit their strengths to the extended team.

Keep pushing the barrier of “failure”: We need to push this cultural barrier in order to test opportunities in the region. Som are going to fail, but if we don’t take the risk, we can’t build a great company, a global company.

Think big: This may be a cliché, but there are so many entrepreneurs in Latin America that think of their business in a local way. It takes the same amount of work to develop a small business as it does to develop a large company, we all have the same 24 hours to live our lives. We choose how to do so.

Technology as a commodity: No one, absolutely no one can grow a business without implementing technological solutions. Today, technology touches everything, processing, communication, customer service solutions, etc. Hoy la tecnología permea todo, los procesos, las comunicaciones, las soluciones a nuestros clientes, etc.. For that reason, entrepreneurs have a great opportunity, because it has never been so economical to create a technology-based company or try a business model: potential clients are online, just a click away.

Use agile methodologies to develop products and platforms: Today, companies are using the Lean Startup Method, which leads to product development and customer acquisition at the same time. If the first product we take to the market does not embarrass us, you’re too late.

Test local, scale regionally or globally: Investors are looking for high-impact companies with global potential, even if it is more risky. The larger the market opportunity, the easier it is to obtain investment partners.

Are you thinking of scaling your company? Take a chance and share your challenges with me!

#focus #consistency #passion

Methodology of Creativity: How We Made the Icon

Methodology of Creativity: How We Made the Icon

Collaboration with Gustavo Stecher, Graphic Designer UBA, Founder of Menos es Más, Cultural Branding y Publicist.


 

“We use brands to project who we want to be in the world, how we want people to perceive us, and how we want to feel about ourselves”. Debbie Millman

I have spent more than 30 years working on identity, and I must admit that there are certain challenges that are irresistible and unique. Marta Cruz presented me with the challenge of creating the icon that represents all women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean, she is, without a doubt, among them. Thank you!

What I love most about my profession is that I always have the opportunity to submerge myself in unknown topics, swim in contradictory testimony and find myself in complex situations without an obvious solution. The uncertainty is what yields interesting results.

I believe that if an icon is going to represent someone, that person should build it and give it value. The drawing is less important, it is the result of a teamwork process. Go team!

A magical formula, enlightened geniuses and “deus ex machina” do not exist. All that you need is solid methodology and a lot of work. Does inspiration exist? Yes, of course, but as the great Picasso said “it has to find us working”.

The method is simple: hands on work. We gather as entrepreneurs and virtually, for all Latin American countries and the Caribbean, we begin to ask questions and listen. We move forward, then go back to questioning and continue listening. In the case of women entrepreneurs, the workshops were a whirlwind of ideas and concepts, contradictions and reconciliations and drawings and text of the obvious, and not so obvious, very deep values. Initial differences stemmed from personality traits and regional characteristics, and gave way to constants that began to emerge and surprise, almost as if by magic.

The most interesting and noteworthy is that the concepts never appeared simple, they were always  followed by a second concept, and this combination added new value. Almost like a parallel to what we consider innovation: Unite two existing elements in a different way to create something new.

And this is what the icon consists of: an existing universe between two cerebral hemispheres, and all of the complementary interpretations they can make (heart, seed, diamond, butterfly, cloud, etc.) suggested by transparencies, colors and forms, and that complete a particular and original interpretation that each one of these images is polysemic.

A icon that has come to represent much more than its own image, so much so that it is used as an avatar on social networks and in email signatures.

An icon that represents and fundamentally “identifies” values.

A constructed icon.

Biography of the Author: Gustavo Stecher is a graphic designer, writer for the architecture supplement in Clarín, brand consultant, regionally and globally recognized icon designer, such as the Bicentennial of Argentina.

Founder of No brand and menos es más.

How ⁦@serenawilliams⁩ Is Making Massive Social Impact Through Venture Capital #VC ⁦@WeInvest4⁩ ⁦@lavca_org⁩ https://www-worth-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.worth.com/worthy100-serena-williams/?amp

Today we had our last event of the year, full of networking and also shared our 2021 achievements. @amartino was our special guest from our sponsor @msft4startups!Thanx all for coming, its great to experience the impact and reach this community has!
#WeInvestCommunity #WomeninVC

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I registered for Women at the Top Americas. Check it out here https://womenamericas.live.ft.com?share=true @ForbesWomen @Forbes

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