All posts tagged colombia

  • 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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  • Talking Bitcoin with international experts in Cartagena

    tropicalgringo-bitcoinI just got back from speaking at an excellent Bitcoin/Blockchain event in Cartagena, Colombia called Blockchain Latam. I spoke about Bitcoin within the context of industry disruption.  I enjoyed interacting with the audience immensely.  My thesis is that the pace of industry disruption that we’ve seen up till now (Uber in Transporation, AirBnB in hospitality, etc.) will not only continue, but will accelerate in the coming years.  Bitcoin as a virtual currency and Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology is a potent tool, along with Artificial Intelligence, Bots, Data Analytics, and others at the service of new industry disrupters.

    It was an honor to be on stage (presenting and as a panelist) along with experts in this technology, which included some awesome global experts from Argentina such as Diego Gutierrez, CEO of RSK, and Gonzalo Blousson, CEO of Signatura.  Taylor Gerring, Ethereum Director of Technology, also gave an insightful presentation on the present and future of these technologies.  Tony Gallippi, co-founder of BitPay, and Peter Bidewell, of Applied Blockchain, were able to promote their services to attendees interested in launching Bitcoin or Blockchain initiatives.

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  • 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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