All posts tagged digital innovation

  • 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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  • Reflections on running an innovation workshop for bankers.

    TropicalGringo Hacking Finance NextBank
    This week, I was invited by some top-notch colleagues (Andres Fontao and Fermin Bueno with a great recommendation from Dan Gertsacov) to work with executives from the top banks in Colombia by running a digital innovation workshop we called “Hacking Finance @ Next Bank Bogotá”.  I must say that I enjoyed myself immensely and was pleasantly surprised by the engagement I saw from the bankers.  Andres and Fermin worked with me on designing the workshop with group activities and interaction with real-world unbanked consumers.

    It is evident even here in Colombia, where the banking industry makes some pretty nice profits, that global disruption is of deep concern to the banking industry.  In fact, this year, I’ve been working with a few corporate clients and have noticed a heightened interest in innovation and the whole startup phenomenon. Though this has made for some stimulating work, by far, the most satisfying experience of this year has been working with the companies that I advise and, in particular, working full-time with one of these (I need to write a post on this).

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  • What can emerging market investors learn from unicorns?

    Unicorns emerging markets

    Since Aileen Lee’s TechCrunch post last year on so called “unicorns”, startups valued at $1 Billion and above, the term has gained widespread adoption.   From the perspective of a fund manager at any top VC firm, investing in a future unicorn can be key.  However, I’ve been wondering if any of the lessons from Aileen’s post hold any lessons for startups in emerging markets, such as Latin America.

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  • Out to transform business in Colombia

    Lean Startup Enterprise Colombia

    I’ve found that it pays to have lofty goals.  When I first arrived to Colombia, I worked at a well-known technology multinational corporation and told my team that I wanted to build a world-class services organization.  One way to measure ourselves was by the satisfaction of our user base.  Four years later, we were named the top country by that metric in the whole world.  Now, I’m at it again, seeing how ridiculously ambitious I can get with a new Lean Startup Enterprise initiative.

    In a sense, I’m expanding the scope of what I do with the Founder Institute, which I’ve been running for four years in Colombia.  While that incubator (I’m careful not to say accelerator as one commenter is sensitive to the use of this term :)) is focused on startups, the Lean Startup Enterprise initiative expands this scope and invites corporate employees to join the party.

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