South American Adventures

Taking flying leaps into the unknown

Leave a comment

JWEF, Brazil and Clients!

Lots of positive things happened in the last 5 days. Firstly we (Planet Expats and Fundacity ) held the first Junior World Entrepreneurship in Chile. It was great. Workshops, panels, speeches by leaders in the Chilean entrepreneurship ecosystem.

As part of the event we also organized a startup pitch contest for 15 teams from 6 universities. The panel, made up of investors, used Fundacity to evaluate the projects in the cloud real time! We invited some experienced investors as judges.  However there was no internet! So the Fundacity team sat right behind the judges sharing internet using their phones. Look at the photo…their faces reveal the nervousness :D.


Judges left to right: Paul O’Tool (UDD Ventures), Sebastian Vidal and Horacio Melo (Startup Chile), Diego Torres Aguirre (Emprende FCH) and Eduardo Amadeo (Nazca Ventures)…with nervous Fundacity team right behind them hoping Fundacity won’t crash

Anyway it was great marketing for us that also won us Startup Chile as a client!

As I haven’t seen Gabi for 3 months I wasted no time. Straight from the 2 day event to the airport, sharing a cab with Eduardo Amadeo Nazca Ventures partner who was a judge at the event. My flight. Horrible. Santiago 10pm to Sao Palo Guarulhos 2am. Then commute to Sao Paolo Campinhas airport at 3am and wait for airport to open. Followed by 2 hour flight to Port Alegre where I landed at 9am to encounter Gabi and enjoy our Sunday! Landed rather exhausted.

After a bit of rest and food we went to the park in the center. As you would expect in Brazil we encountered a Samba party in a clearing in the park. These Brazilians….no fun at all 😀

Yesterday we reached an agreement to supply Claro and Startup Chile with the Fundacity DealFlow. Startup Chile is interested in Fundacity because it gives them the ability to do evaluation real time at their demo days and Claro is drawn by how Fundacity is one tool that replaces the need for email, excel and notepads in their mentoring/incubation process. Both love the design of Fundacity and how it is customizable to their unique deal flow process. These clients are really important for us as in Chile and in the region they are very well known.

In my opinion, to go global you need to have support from your hometown and we are on the right track. I hope we continue to impress and deliver value…if that happens the rest will take care of itself.


Leave a comment

Startup scene of Porto Alegre – Brazil

I was working in the cafe of PUC unviersity in Porto Alegre waiting for Gabi to finish work when someone approached me to ask if I was involved with a startup…he noticed the Startup Chile sticker on my laptop…that is when I realized my stay in Porto Alegre can be much more productive then I thought.

In this brief encounter I learnt that Porto Alegre is hosting the most significant Free Software (and culture!) community meeting in Latin America called FISL! Nice!

This discovery prompted me to research the startup ecosystem Porto Alegre has….I typed and after a few location targeted searches aimed at tags such as ‘startup’, ‘investor’, ‘venture’ and ‘entrepreneur’ and some IT and Venture Capital related industry filters Porto Alegre appeared to me in a whole new light. HELLOOO OPPORTUNITY. I drafted a short message and set out to connect with every player in this ecosystem and followed new connections with longer emails asking for a meeting.

Within 24 hours I had meetings with Guapo, CRP, Engage, WOW and Paradoxa. Yesterday I had 1-2 hour meetings with all with the exception of Paradoxa as the founder is in San Fran (meeting is scheduled for next week). My head is spining with everything I learnt and the interesting contacts I made here.

Guapo is a VC fund now also focusing on early stage startups but previously mainly did M&A and later stage investing. The co-founder and partner Fernando is a very knowledgable and open person that is very passionate about what he does. He said with Guapo they are now also investing into early stage startups even ones without business plans. Feedback on Fundacity was great and I feel it is a start of a very fruitful relationship. During the meeting he picked up his phone and recommended accelerator WOW to meet me and test our deal flow platform. I overheard him say Fundacity was “muito legal” 😀

From Guapo I rushed to Engage. The meeting with Guapo overran and I was late. I apologised prefusely to Felipe the co-founder of Engage. He comically said,

“You are not late. A wizzard is never late!”

LOL. I entered another world. I was surrounded by 20 and 30 something guys and girls that were currently eating and chatting away about life pursuits. I was given plate and free grub (entrepreneur dream :)) and joined them and they explained to me the concept of Engage. They are an incubator of people. They hold workshops and nurture individuals and help them explore and realize their potential. It is certainly very interesting. Felipe is very keen on alternative education and philosophy in various form. An inspirational fellow.

Engage and WOW co-work space

Engage and WOW co-work space

In the same building I stumbled upon WOW and I had a quick meeting with Bruno the COO. They are currently shortlisting their first batch of startups to accelerate. Not a bad timing for us 🙂

Journey to CRP

Journey to CRP

From their quick cab ride dropped me at CRP. They are a serious VC and M&A firm. I was greeted by 3 sharp banker types. A quick reminder of a previous life…They are looking for a serious deal flow platform but are not sure about the expensive European and US firms that include Efront, Relevant, ilevel, Navatar, Analytx, Sanguard andVantage. For about an hour we discussed Fundacity and whether it could provide a MVP product for them and an enormous cost saving.

In each meeting I learnt a great deal about how these very different investors in ventures manages their deal from sourcing to closing. At a superficial level it sounds very different but at the core the principles are all driven by a need to manage internal communication, information (files and comments) and progressing deals through stages.

Fundacity is looking to make deal flow management easier for the startup investors using Kanban principles and clever UX/UI. We are involving our clients and listening to their pains from the very first line of code. We want to become experts in the process our clients do so we can understand and help solve their problems. I think every startup should do the same.

The message of my experience is that opportunities are everywhere. It pays to keep your eyes open. Never lose your passion to pitch and learn from clients. That is what will make the difference between success and a silent demise. Everyone in the organization needs to understand the target user and be able to see through their eyes and visualize the user stories.

Porto Alegre from the office of CRP

Porto Alegre from the office of CRP