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


4 Comments

Coming to Brazil: 3 weeks from idea to completion

I moved to Brazil. The idea arose whilst doing idea validation for the next phase of Fundacity. I noticed I was speaking all day with prospective clients (angel investors and HNWIs) and they were predominantly from Brazil. From the 200 targets I reached out to 100+ were Brazilian and 10 were from Chile. In addition the 10 Chileans were completely uninterested in speaking with me. Chileans can often be unenthusiastic to the new and unknown. It is easier to reach out to a high powered and successful New Yorker or Silicon Valley angel investor than a Chilean angel investor.

Early morning on 5 Feb whilst Skyping to an angel from the Harvard Business Angels club from Rio it occurred to me that we had move to Brazil to get them using Fundacity. We had absolutely nothing more to benefit from a physical presence in Chile. I was all day on Skype speaking to people abroad. I jumped on my bike and made my daily 6km treck to the office mulling over this sudden idea to relocate the team. Pros and Cons?

Pros

  • Big market where there is almost 10.000 buyers for anything you may want to sell;
  • Several active angel groups and VCs;
  • Exploding startup ecosystem growth;
  • Supportive pro startup government;
  • Global attention and connectivity (further heightened by World Cup and Olympics);
  • Huge financial center;
  • People – Brazilians (in my experience) are open and welcoming to foreigners which is partly due to their own very racially mixed nation;
  • We have several clients there and our user base is increasingly Brazilian; and
  • Will inject new energy and drive into the mainly non-Chilean team that is getting bored of life in Chile.

Cons

  • Expensive to move and live in Brazil and we are running dangerously out of runway;
  • Different language and whilst we speak 6 languages amongst the team none of us speak Portuguese;
  • Brazil is notoriously bureaucratic (not to say that Chile isn’t);
  • we need visas and they are hard to get; and
  • Public safety is an issue.

startup

Arriving in the office for our 10am daily team meeting I shared my thought “ok guys, i’ve been thinking that perhaps to really blow this up we need to move to Brazil for business development, what do you think?”. The uproar was unanimous, but nonetheless we agreed to reflect on the pros and cons and debate it over lunch. The decision was unanimously made.

We were to move to Rio for some months. I began the visa process and  attempted to move  mountains and decipher the bureaucratic hurdles of the Brazilian consulate, Chilean ministries and Brazilian universities.  15 days later I had a 7 month visa in hand. Within 3 weeks of the decision I arrived in Brazil. The guys are to follow shortly.

I think this bore testament to a saying we have in the team about how much we do in a single day and why

“1 day feels like a week, 1 week like a month and 1 month like a year and months….well we can’t even think that far because everything is possible.”

Thus, part 2 of the South American adventures begins: the conquest of Brazil.


Leave a comment

6 months later – How is Fundacity doing?

So what exactly have we been doing these months and how are we?

With Fundacity we are focused on making the fundraising process easier for startups and investors. We realized that there is a lot of pain in the proces when my co-founder, Diego and I started building a social network for startups and investors called Fundacity.com. Since then we applied our thinking and innovation to make startup investing easier. We are now few weeks away from unveiling the Fundacity Deal Flow Tool that helps angel investors, incubators, accelerators and VCs source, screen, do due diligence and close deals. Also, we are  thinking of innovative ways to improve the fundraising experience for startups.

The platform is a web based SAAS platform using Kanban principles and state of the art UX/UI to make the process easier for both sides of the table. 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.

DiegoI started Fundacity with Diego, my co-founder, in late 2012. Diego and I have a perfectly synergetic business relationship. Our skills sets are completely complimentary as we have have our fortes where the other does not. Diego is a full stack developer with 13+ years experience who additionally is a very gifted designer. I on the other hand have global experience in finance and accounting and acted as a financial consultant for 2 startups of VC firm Aurus. Between us we speak 4 languages fluently, believe in transparency and honesty and are complete workaholics :). A good fit that makes even our girlfriends jealous. 😀

 

With Fundacity we won Geek Camp Chile and consequently got incubated by IncubaUC and received CORFO funding (USD120k). IncubaUC took us for a 1 month product testing and idea validation mentorship program to Silicon Valley. We pitched the valley’s best angel groups and incubators and some very talented serial entrepreneurs. The 1 month trip catapulted our development in an incredible manner.

Our team has now grown to 4 fulltime members and several volunteers that love our product and energy. NicolasNicolas joined us fulltime in May adding further exceptional technical skills to the team and many new ways to approach challenges. He is software engineer with expertise in cloud computing and a complete champion of task management such as Kanban and Scrum. He previously worked for LAN and the ministry of education. He is an expert Asado guy so I look forward to regular barbecues :). In some weeks Guim is arriving from Barcelona where he completed a business degree in prestigious ESADE business school. With his previous experience in sales and biz dev I think we will hit the ground running in August when we will be market launching. The team rocks and I am very excited to test what boundaries we can push.

We are weeks away from having our version 1 commercially viable product for which we have signed letter of interest from some of the best startups incubators and VCs in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and USA.

We received great support from our mentors which includes 500 Startups mentor Sam Zebarjadi, venture capitalist Humberto Matsuda partner of Performa Investimentos (Brazil), venture capitalist Hiroshi Wald managing partner of Austral Capital and angel investor and incubator partner Arturo Torres from NXTPlabs, (Argentina). Marcelo Diaz head of IncubaUC has been pivotal in nurturing our business development over the last 6 months. Our angel investor Donatas Dailide not only supports us financially but is helping us win clients in the baltics and the UK.

The next few months will be very exciting for Fundacity. We hope to disrupt the startup investing process in a very profound and meaningful way.


Leave a comment

San Francisco day 3

It is pretty late and the day started bright and early at 730 with Insanity training with Diego. We are sitting in our second pitch and mentoring workshop of the day. I am scheduled to pitch soon. I must admit I am somewhat on edge as the pitch has changed enormously. Overnight we did a business model pivot. The story has changed…a lot… whilst the underlying platform is still the same. This is causing a bit of unease in my brain. Old and new ideas are fighting for dominance. The story needs to be clear and articulated with confidence. I need to present as if we have been doing this for years…I cannot show that ideas are still forming in my brain. The pitch depends on it.

The mentors with us now are Humberto Matsuda partner at Perfoma Investimentos, a Venture Capital firm from Sao Paolo, and best selling author and serial entrepreneur Cristian Barbosa. Humberto is a cool guy. I met him in October at Geek Fantasy Camp where he was a mentor. We have been in touch ever since then. His knowledge of the Brazilian startup scene is amazing and I think one day when Fundacity goes to Brazil he will play a pivotal role.

Humberto shared with us many insights about the VC world including the 7 risks that they look to understanding in any business namely:

Market, people, product, financial projection, regulations,  intellectual property, competition.

………

1 hour later. Pitch delivered. in the middle I had a moment of freezing and funnily everyone thought I was just creating suspense. In reality I lost track of my thoughts….nervousness was taking over. fuk…Luckily I remembered to not take myself and the situation too seriously so I just started smiling and thought to myself how ridiculous the situation was. After all I know my story and I know my business like no one in the room. Soon enough I regained thoughts and resumed the pitch. Feedback was good. Day wrapped up at around 2130. Marcelo and Hiroshi took Diego and I aside and told us they were impressed by the pivot that happened over 20 hours, the quick change to the slides and said they now believe that we have identified our business model. Connecting LatAm talent to the world is a valid value proposition. Fundacity is a business with a future. Diego and I feel euphoric. The hard work and endless discussions about Fundacity and what it is are bearing fruit. We are ready for day 4.

Humberto Matsuda

Humberto Matsuda

Diego

Diego

Marcelo and his Geeks :)

Marcelo Diaz and his Geeks 🙂