• TropicalGringo Portfolio continues to ROCK as 2017 rolls in

    TropicalGringo Portfolio 2016I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of the year already. It’s either that I’ve had too much fun this year or that I’m getting older; I’ll choose to kid myself and think that it’s the former.  My work within BBVA’s New Digital Business unit has been incredibly rewarding this year.  Besides working on an important deal with some incredible startup founders, I’ve met startups in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

    Fortunately, during some moments of downtime (e.g., at night, etc.), I reap tremendous satisfaction from being an Advisor and shareholder of four awesome startups that each have exciting news (e.g., one closed a Series A round of funding and all are growing internationally with one of these launching in UC Berkeley): 1Doc3, Vendty, Acsendo and Kiwi Campus (I maintain close contact with a fifth one, Tappsi, that already had an exit). As readers of this blog know, I presumptuously call this group of startups the TropicalGringo Portfolio.

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  • A Thank You message to two awesome Paisas

    TropicalGringo Thank YouAn article was recently published by Philip Beere, a Business Development and Sustainability expert from the US, about his takeaways and critique of the innovation environment in Medellin (after his spending some time in that city).  Philip interviewed me  for the article, but because of the focus of his piece, something very important to me (thanking two instrumental people from Medellin, “Paisas”) was not within the scope of Philip’s topic so I’d like to take a moment and send Luis Florez and Juan Pablo Ortega a personal and public thank you message.

    In a prior life, I spent five years working on initiatives to support new founders by connecting them with local and international entrepreneurs and by offering my advice from my years working at Silicon Valley startups and as a Venture Capitalist.  I feel incredibly satisfied with what I, and especially a great network of mentors, were able to accomplish. Nonetheless, after going deeply into debt and arriving at a grouchy old age where I became sick of a lot of silliness (I’m being diplomatic with that word) that takes place within the public “ecosystem” in Colombia, I decided to go back to the corporate world (my family is thanking me for that) as well as focusing on those early stage startups that I truly believe in as an advisor and shareholder.

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  • How Microsoft should respond to Slack’s letter

    microsoft-slackI find Slack’s recent move to publish an open letter to Microsoft incredibly interesting.  This in response to Microsoft’s upcoming launch of it’s Teams product.  The traditional strategy, I suppose, would be for the larger company to ignore such a message as a marketing ploy. Nonetheless, it certainly would be fun if Microsoft would reply.

    I’m sure I haven’t analyzed it enough from all angles, but this just seems like a unique opportunity for Microsoft to communicate the type of company it seems to have become (though still on that long road to getting “there”).  By responding to a smaller company (in valuation and sales only) directly and bucking conventional marketing wisdom, it can send the right type of message.  Obviously, I have the luxury of not worrying about multibillion dollar liabilities and other scary things like that, but we’ll forget about that small detail for now.

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  • Observations on Latin American startups

    tropicalgringo-startups

    In this post, I’d like to give my general impressions on the state of startups in Latin America.  There are much more thorough posts on the subject such as those from the impressive Omar Tellez on Techcrunch.  Also, as usual, Conrad Egusa, CEO of Publicize, has published incredibly thorough and well-written reviews of the startup ecosystems in Mexico, Chile and Colombia.  Federico Antoni wrote a comprehensive article on the exciting Fintech space in Mexico.  Nonetheless, I’m going to offer a more general impression of the state of startups with personal opinions and points of view.  I name some startups below, but am missing some important names so I ask that you include the names that I’ve missed in the comments section.

    A little more about my particular point of view. I was born and raised in the US.  Although I grew up in Pennsylvania, I lived in Silicon Valley for five years and worked at startups such as Santa Cruz Operation (Santa Cruz) and NetManage (Cupertino).  I, also, wrote and edited articles for InfoWorld Magazine (Menlo Park).  Nonetheless, my parents were from Colombia, South America and the “adventurer” in me drove me to check out the expat lifestyle and move down here.  It’s been great and I am eternally grateful for finding the woman of my dreams (from Cartagena) and being blessed with two wonderful children.
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