• Talking Fintech and remembering that life is precious.

    Mexico 2017 QuakeAs anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows, I’m passionate about startups and think a lot about how digital innovation is changing the world.  Nevertheless, last week, while awaiting my turn to go on stage at a Fintech event, I experienced a 7.1 level earthquake that shook Mexico city on the September 19th. My heart goes out those affected by this tragedy. Though my hotel was left standing the above picture shows that it did not escape damage.   For me, this event served as a stark reminder of how fragile life is and how, in an instant, one’s world can be rocked and how precious life and life’s blessings (e.g., one’s children) really are.

    That said, I decided to write a post about some general thoughts that were going through my head as I was preparing to take the stage.  I was to be a part of a panel discussion on the state of Latin American Fintech startups and the startup ecosystem.  I was hoping for a lively discussion.  Though a post can’t take the place of such a discussion, I think it will be cathartic to express some of my views here.

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  • The Digital Dilemma for “Traditional” Business

    Finnosummit-tropicalgringo

    In the title of this post, you’ll notice that I put the word “traditional” in quotes.  The reason for this is that I subscribe to the notion that, within the decade, it will be clear that “traditional” business or businesses that don’t have software (and data) at their core, will start to become the exception rather than the norm.  This is a theme that I’ve been communicating through a number of public presentations that I’ve done lately on Digital Transformation.

    I haven’t been this convinced (and gung-ho) about technology’s central role in the world economy since I was very young and naive (translation: a long time ago).  Some may say I’m still naive for thinking this way again, but there are some very real reasons for holding this perspective.  The newspaper, music, telecommunication and, now, retail industries have felt the sharp whip of digital disruption in the past and, some would say, have never recovered.  Industries such as that of financial services, education and even healthcare are now feeling the snap of that same whip threatening them. By the way, an internal analysis done by the New York Times was leaked today on the net.

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  • Tropicalgringo Startup Dinner 2017

    Tropicalgringo dinnerLast night, we had a great dinner with some of the startups from the TropicalGringo Portfolio (others were traveling). In the photo above, from left to right are Juan Salcedo (co-founder of Tappsi and TPaga), Arnulfo Ospina and Roxana Vergara (co-founders of Vendty), Javier Cardona and Nicolas Duran (co-founders of 1Doc3) and Andres Gutierrez (co-founder of Tappsi and TPaga).  Missing were Felipe Chavez and Sergio Pachon (co-founders of Kiwi Campus) and Carlos Santana (founder of Acsendo).  Needless to say, it was a night to remember!

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  • Digital Transformation Up Close and Personal

    Openpay-officeA year ago, I joined the New Digital Business group within BBVA, a large global bank actively transforming its business. Several weeks ago, we publicly announced the acquisition of digital payments startup Openpay, the culmination of a project that myself and a great boss within said business unit worked on during the last year. I’m looking forward to the huge impact that Openpay (see filtered photo of HQ above) and its impressive founders, Roberto Bargagli, Eric Núñez and Heber Lazcano will have on BBVA’s digital business.

    I’m actually writing this post from Queretaro, where this company is headquartered and I have the good fortune to work with them as part of BBVA. Finding and acquiring a high-quality startup such as Openpay speaks to the opportunities (particularly, in terms of acquisitions – only one tool) available for digital transformation in Latin America. I’d like to use this post to share some general opinions about digital innovation and the ensuing business transformations that corporations are going through as well as some insights about the Latin American startup scene.

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