South American Adventures

Taking flying leaps into the unknown


Leave a comment

Brazil’s Big Opportunity Attracts Tech Dreamers

“Brazilians are very welcoming to foreigners, it’s a rich cultural country and it’s easy to feel at home here. In meetings, people are very open…..” see more:

http://www.idgconnect.com/abstract/8654/brazil-big-opportunity-attracts-tech-dreamers

 

brazil-fundacity0639-620x354

Advertisements


Leave a comment

And then I got a visa for life in Brazil…

It is incredible that my last post was 2 months ago. The last 2-3 month were incredibly busy and focused time. As I mentioned in my post Coming to Brazil: 3 weeks from idea to completion we decided to relocate to Brazil. This decision was a response to the very tough time we were going through in Jan/Feb. We had trouble with former employees and an investor walking away last minute from an investment round we were closing. Team moral took a big hit. For the first time since founding Fundacity my vision of the company was destabilized albeit for a brief moment. The move to Brazil was meant to boost team moral and help catapult Fundacity onto the world stage away from off-the radar and somewhat uneventful Chile.

Since that decision things have raced into motion. In fact, 3 weeks after our decision, when I was battling on thinking of a way to finance the move, I received a ton of notifications on Facebook. ‘Congratulations”. Logging into Facebook I realized Fundacity was selected for the SEED Minas program in Brazil. I barely remembered applying. I learned about the application round 5 hours before deadline. It was 7pm. Most of the guys were leaving home. I got a coffee and sat down to fill out the 50+ question form. Diego began editing and cutting videos that were also required . It was the most rushed application I have ever undertaken. In fact i submitted the application 3 minutes past midnight. Thankfully it still went through. Lesson: always go for it even if it seems impossible.

1435 startups applied from 34 countries.  We were one of the selected 40. The offer: USD33,000 and 2 year visas for the program participants in return for NO equity or need to repay. That is right, free money to come and launch our company in Brazil and full-time staff to help guide us in the new market. BOOM. The lucky break we absolutely needed. Our move to Brazil was financially and administratively secured (I was originally planning on moving to Brazil on a student visa).

We relocated to Brazil, launched Fundacity Portfolio Manager, closed a round with Primary Ventures and NXTPlabs Venture Fund and this week the government of Mina Gerais announced that they granted visas for life for all SEED participants! Damn I love Brazil.

 


Leave a comment

Time to pack and move to the next destination

It’s time to pack again. Frankly, sometimes I need to think hard to remember where exactly I am and where I am coming from. Not that it is a bad thing but its strange for me. I am currently in Buenos Aires and was here for roughly 2 weeks to help Taggify in its transition from one CFO to a new one I helped hire. BsAs is a great city with a large startup community and I love being here. This time I even met dad here which was awesome. Last time we saw each other was in San Francisco in Feb..

Since November I have rarely been in one place for more than 2 weeks. The adventure in my life and a series of succeses have kicked off unexpectedly all at once in November but that is another story. I’ve been on 20+ planes, some long-haul buses, numerous countries and continents and countless beds and sofas over the past few months. In fact, I gave up my flat in Chile in March to help conserve money for Fundacity and have been couch surfing since.

The experience is truly exceptional. On the one hand, it is very exciting and liberating to be hussling and on the move. On the other hand, I do notice that being constantly on the move and in temporary circumstances i.e. not know where I will sleep next month and Fundacity not having sufficient revenue run rate to last more than 3 months at any given time…does have its peculiar effect. I am noticing that I am increasingly disconnected from my surroundings. The coming and going is becoming routine. I arrive and plug into my new surroundings and local friends and then unplug and move on. The only thing constant is my involvement and care for Fundacity. I find it increasingly hard to disengage from that and engage with my surroundings which has become increasingly  just…temporary. I am increasingly absorbed in our drive towards the vision of Fundacity that my team and I are realizing one day at a time.

One thing I ought to remember is to enjoy the roller coaster experience and truly enjoy the present because no matter what happens I am learning a huge amount and experiencing spectacular things…I am definitely out of my comfort zone which is a welcome challenge.

Well, time to leave to Terminal de Omnibus and take a 20 hour bus to Porto Alegre, Brasil. A wonderful girlfriend awaits to be surprised by my  surprise early arrival :). Time to put a smile on her face…she hasnt seen her gringo for almost 2 months. 😀

 

**** since then I arrived. Surprise was a success :). I also stumbled into an Asado (LatAm word for barbecue)…score!!!


4 Comments

Great article on Crowd funding developments in the USA

This is a very interesting article and a pleasure to read.

 http://www.wilmerhale.com/uploadedFiles/WilmerHale_Shared_Content/Editorial/Publications/Publication/Wilmer%20Hale%20(DJ%201.15.13).pdf

A few questions and thoughts from me:

It would be great to have more information or insights on what reports fundraising companies need to file with the SEC after they successfully crowd sourced funding.

I think a potential solution for dealing with a large number of “unsophisticated early stage investors” is to elect a committee as is routinely done in restructurings where credit committees are elected?

 


3 Comments

Flying to Santiago – the beginning of a new chapter

I’m sitting abroad a LAN flight between Guarulhos International Airport (Sao Paulo) Santiago de Chile, which is the second leg of my 26 hour journey. Santiago is where my journey will begin.

I took a 6 month career break from PwC where I worked in Restructuring Advisory (Business Recovery Services) and qualified as an ACA with the ICAEW. With the expiry of my trainee contract, no mortgage, no family in London or other significant obligations I reasoned that it’s a suitable time to try something new.

I am flying to Santiago to join the growing population of entrepreneurs in South America, coined as TechnoLatinas. My aim is to find and work with a startup that is working on something exciting and assist in fundraising, cash flow management, business admin, accounting, sales, social media marketing and business strategy. Whilst, I have the necessary education and some experience with various aspects of the areas just listed I never engaged in any of them full time. Thus, the learning curve will be steep. Also, I don’t speak much Spanish. I intend to work on this whilst I’m there. Fortunately, the Statup Chile program operates in english and many of the startups are international thus I hope English will suffice. Am I nervous? YES.

However, I assessed that the worst case scenarios is: I don’t find any startup to work with that is particularly interesting, but I still pick up skills in the process of working with them, I significantly improve my Spanish and I get to travel around the continent in the process. At the end of the 6 months I will then pack my bags and recommence my life in London. Not a bad worst case.