How and why did you get started in private investing?
What is the single most important thing you value in an investment opportunity?
We, in DILA Capital, invest in people. We would much rather invest in the A team with the B business model than in the A business model with the B team. Ultimately we’re investing in people that are trying to make a difference so the thing I value most with our investments is the team behind the business. The team has to have passion, they have to have a purpose, and they have to be a diverse group. It is also really important to have a solid team with enough equity so they can maintain a sufficient equity percentage given the dilutions going forward.
What are the best innovation themes that you see in the market today?
We are currently living in unprecedented times where digitalization and adoption of new technologies and e-commerce have hit a very important tipping point in Latin America. We, as venture capital investors, have been waiting for a moment like this for many years. We have seen tech companies in the US and Europe explode in the past decades, and while countries similar to Mexico such as India, China, Israel and Turkey have really taken off, our countries have been lagging. Even Brazil has grown exponentially in the past years, but other Latin American countries had not yet detonated despite having great internet and smart phone penetration. We are certain the time has come.
The adoption of new technologies and the use of digital products and services have now hit the explosion we need as tech investors. Now, and in great part due to the current situation that we’re living in, these critical adoptions have finally become a norm and it’s not going to go away. So now more than ever we are very excited about investing in these companies that are tech enabled and that can scale to the mass market that we’re seeing in Latin America.
Beyond economic return, what kind of impact do you hope to make with your portfolio?
What are the most pressing challenges or pain points in managing your day-to-day private investment activity?
What is the hardest investment lesson you’ve learned and/or the biggest investment mistake you’ve made?
We have learned a lot over these past 10 years. As pioneers in the space, we’ve definitely made a lot of mistakes and I can probably write an entire book on lessons learned, but I guess the message that I would give here is that all of these mistakes and errors have culminated in an ever-advancing understanding of our investment strategy. We are now implementing this knowledge into our new investment principles, which include standards around market sizing, desired founder equity stakes, requiring that founders be dedicating 100% of their time to the companies we are investing in, principles regarding our exit strategies, and so on.
But another really tough lesson that we’ve learned is that we have limited capital and we, therefore, have limited opportunities to invest in. So we are definitely going to let go and say no to many terrific opportunities, and there are many great companies that we’re going to say no to that are going to be very very successful.
What are your favorite industry information sources and/or services?
What’s your favorite non-business interest or hobby?
Running, Tennis, Meditation, Reading
Please leave us a book recommendation (business or otherwise).
The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
What’s your take on the private market overall?