As readers of this blog will note, I haven’t been able to keep up with my writing. It’s not for a lack of topics to write about, but more because I’ve felt so overwhelmed with so many activities.
I continue to work towards my goal of creating an early stage fund for Latin America called Tayrona Ventures (new website coming soon). Along the way, I’ve brought the first international digital incubator (Founder Institute) to Colombia, founded a new ecommerce startup with very hands-on local angels and became a General Partner in a new startup accelerator.
Nonetheless, if the big man upstairs grants me a few more years, I really feel that I’m just getting started. Also, though I live in Colombia, my aspirations are region-wide in all of Latin America. Basically, anywhere in the region where there are impressive founders creating exciting new companies.
Already, I’m having a blast not only with the companies that pass through the accelerator, but also as a formal adviser to amazing companies such as Mapache Studios (educational gaming) and Tappsi (smartphone taxi service in Colombia). As I start to speak with startups in other countries (some really impressive ones), I’m hoping to be able to complement my advising with some early stage investment.
On the road to achieving my dream, I’ve been meeting and hooking up with some amazing people (most of whom are also instrumental in helping me achieve my goals). It’s really a barrage of meetings with impressive people from Silicon Valley, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, etc (the list goes on and on). A few of these people (but not all) are Conrad Egusa (fellow VentureBeat writer and creator of the Espacio co-working space in Medellin), Dan Gertzacov, Adeo Ressi, creator of the Founder Institute, and others. One of these is Paul Bragiel who just had the most amazing visit here (I hope to write more details about this soon).
Paul, whom I met through Adeo, aside from being instrumental in turbocharging Tayrona Ventures into reality has been amazingly inspirational in getting me pointed in the right direction. He also introduced me to an amazing person called William Hsu who shares Paul’s passion for international endeavors and has the talent to make whatever he’s working on a success. These two guys are a hard act to follow and definitely keep me on my toes and push me to up my game.
In terms of everything that’s happening, I just had a great visit from Chicago Founder Institute mentor John Dallas who wowed the founders in the Founder Institute Medellin program. Thanks to Jason Jacobson, Director of Founder Institute Chicago for hooking us up.
This week, we have three top notch mentors arriving in Medellin tonight and tomorrow night before the Tuesday night session and I’m very excited about this. These are Ziv Gillat, founder of Eye-Fi, Vladimir de Franceschi, Silicon Valley attorney and Director of Founder Institute Croatia, and David Beatty, partner at investment firm Golden Seeds.
All of these activities provide tremendous pay back for me personally in terms of meeting these amazing people and learning from them (as I do from all of the mentors that mentor at the Founder Institute Colombia). To top it off, I’m able to bring these experienced entrepreneurs and investors to Colombia and help build the ecosystem here.
Speaking about initiatives for Colombia, I’ve been a big fan of Startup Weekend and, as I punch out this post, I’m rushing to get out the door to judge the first Startup Weekend version in English in Colombia (here in Bogota). I have pretty high expectations for what I’ll see in the next moments.
If you want to watch just click on this link and then click on the streaming image at the bottom of the screen: http://bogotaenglish.startupweekend.org/