• Digital Innovation in Latin America

    TropicalGringo Speaker

    It’s been a wild ride, lately.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a number of events in various cities (e.g., Miami, Aruba, Madrid, etc.) about, what I call, Digital Innovation.   Speaking at these events (such as Fintech Americas Miami in photo above) is a great way to network and connect with great people within the Latin American startup ecosystem (e.g., entrepreneurs, investors, etc.).  At the moment, I’m flying back from Madrid where I gave a speech on the 10 things i’ve learned within the Latin American Startup Ecosystem.  Also, I ran a Lean Startup workshop for BBVA employees.  Both of these events were incredibly rewarding.

    One of the countries that I’ve been traveling to quite a bit lately is Mexico. I’ll be there, once again, the first week of December.  It’s a pretty exciting time there right now thanks to the increased startup activity as well as the increase in the number of Venture Capital funds there.  A number of years ago, I was the Strategic Investment Manager for Intel Capital in Mexico and compared to that  moment in time, the startup environment today is quite different.  I hope to interview a number of important players in Mexico such as ComparaGuru, Lenddo and Paymentez among others (similar to the Startup Grind interviews that I’ve been doing).  My plan is, also, to interview some international entrepreneurs and experts at BBVA’s new innovation center which we’ll be launching in a week.

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  • Startup dreams and some spicy Indian cooking

    TropicalGringo and Sanjay ManchandaI just had the most surreal experience. I was able to hook up with an old friend from our days working at a software company in Santa Cruz, California.  His name is Sanjay Manchanda and the company we worked for was called Santa Cruz Operation or SCO.  It’s been 20 years since I was living and working in Silicon Valley (e.g., Cupertino, San Jose and Santa Cruz). That was a five year period of my life (after moving from Pennsylvania) that I’ll never forget both for personal and for professional reasons.

    Sanjay and I had the good fortune to travel to London at the same time, he for Box (VP Product Marketing) and I for BBVA (Ecosystem Builder).  It was pretty amazing seeing him again after so many years. He still has the same calm, self-assured way about him and hasn’t lost his sense of humor and enjoyment of life (e.g., he’s always been a jazz enthusiast and a great cook).

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  • Nos vemos en el proximo evento en America Latina

    TropicalGringo Tech ConferenceComo algunos saben, tengo un nuevo rol como el Startup Ecosystem Builder para America Latina en BBVA.  Un componente importante dentro de este rol es aumentar mi “exposure” a los startups en America Latina.  Por esto, quiero aumentar mi participación en eventos de startups como el excelente evento de ATechConference donde participe recientemente en Aruba.

    He tenido la oportunidad de hablar sobre mi perspectiva sobre la Innovación Digital en una variedad de eventos. La mayoría ha sido en Colombia con algunos en otros países. Hoy en dia, me interesa explorar los ecosistemas de startups de otros países.  Lo menciono acá por si acaso alguien tiene una sugerencia de un evento donde creen que habría un “fit.”
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  • BBVA OpenTalent Mexico pitch preparation

    BBVA OpenTalent Mexico preparationThis week I started a new chapter in my life as the Open Innovation and Ecosystem Builder in Latin America for BBVA (I’ll write a longer blog post about this soon).  I’ll be traveling quite a bit around Latin America (especially, to Mexico) and Europe, which makes me quite happy as I’ve always wanted to get a clearer picture of the great entrepreneurs that exist throughout Latin America.

    Right now, I’m in Mexico, at the moment, before going to the Open Talent competitions in New York and Barcelona in the coming weeks.  Yesterday, we had a great session, organized by Finnovista (who also organized today’s event) with the entrepreneurs before today’s pitch competition where they can win 30,000 Euros and enter an immersion program in London and Mexico with key experts.

    As the picture shows, in the morning, a few BBVA executives (including the Data Science expert shown) gave a quick 10 minute presentation about what they do and we all had conversations with the startup founders.   It was incredibly productive and it was good to see so much interest from both participants (founders as well as BBVA employees).   There are founders from all across Latin America including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and the US.

    During the afternoon, I was part of a panel of mentors that heard each pitch and gave some feedback offering opinions about the business and about how, possibly, to improve the pitch.  I was really impressed with this group of entrepreneurs.  The judges today will have their work cut out for them.  It’s going to be really tough to select only two winners.