My Reflections on the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Latin America

Having started my nomadic journey in Latin America over a year ago I have now finally moved on to Europe and will begin posting interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, and other players in the startup scene from this new region next week. However, my heart is definitely still back in Latin America and I wanted to share some reflections and thoughts about how I see the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Latin America after having interviewed dozens of people involved in entrepreneurship in the region and explored what’s going on in entrepreneurship in 8 of the region’s top startup cities.

Some of what I say will probably rub some people the wrong way, and I do not claim to have any answers, but these are my honest reflections and suggestions for the growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in Latin America.

Stop putting the U.S. on a pedestal…

One of the very first things that I noticed when exploring the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Latin America was that people there had a tendency to put the U.S. and our startup scene on a pedestal. I can’t count the number of times people said things to me like, “In the U.S. all of the entrepreneurs already know this but here we haven’t learned yet,” or, “Entrepreneurs in the U.S. are more prepared; they know how to do all of the things that entrepreneurs here mess up.” While this idea that people from the U.S. have all of the answers when it comes to entrepreneurship certainly helped open some doors for me as I toured Latin America, it’s incredibly harmful to the ecosystems emerging in the region because it’s simply not true and it holds growth in these regions back.

Yes, there are certainly some ecosystems in the U.S., like Silicon Valley, that are much more mature than the vast majority of the world, that’s undeniable. The issue, however, is that if entrepreneurs and new investors from other parts of the world think that every single entrepreneur in the U.S. has all of the knowledge of the select few entrepreneurs that have managed to get funding from brand-name VC firms, they’ll look down on their own ecosystem. This lack of confidence in themselves and in their home ecosystem was something that came up over and over again in interviews as one of the things holding back the growth of those ecosystems and the success of those entrepreneurs.

The vast majority of entrepreneurs in the United States don’t have any more knowledge than the entrepreneurs in Latin America, and those in Latin America would be better served to realize that. However, U.S. entrepreneurs do seem more willing to go out and find that knowledge, which brings me to my next point:

Google is your friend…

While I don’t think that entrepreneurs in Latin America are far behind the knowledge level of the vast majority of the entrepreneurs in the United States, I do think that they are more reliant on so-called experts to help them build upon and expand that knowledge, and that does hold them back and create a gap. In the United States, we are very independent and not overly attached to hierarchy, which means if we don’t know how to do something, we Google it. In Latin America, I saw many aspiring entrepreneurs waiting for talks, conferences, classes, etc. put on by experts instead of just hunkering down online and getting the information for themselves. Mentorship from experts is absolutely invaluable but, for the nuts and bolts, you can find that information yourself, more quickly with just a little bit of effort online.

More than one of my interviewees mentioned to me that people in Latin America don’t use the internet the way we do in the United States – i.e. to find answers and get information. That needs to change. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and don’t know how to do something, your first stop should be Google.

You have to understand the basics of market size and macro-economic factors to be taken seriously…

Interestingly enough, despite the tendency to put the United States on a pedestal, I found that many people in the Latin American startup scene had a fundamental lack of understanding of the basics of market size and the effects of macro-economic conditions on their startups, which led to some animosity towards investors from the U.S. as entrepreneurs in Latin America felt they couldn’t get fair access to those investors’ money simply because they were Latin American.

Clearly, the funding funnel has a host of issues that I won’t go into detail about here, but the first thing entrepreneurs need to understand when they’re courting investors is that investors are interested in the return on investment, which is tied to the company’s growth potential, which is tied to market size. The United States has just under 314 million people. Excluding Brazil (because I did not visit it) the largest country, by population, in Latin America is Mexico, coming in at just under 121 million. It is distantly followed by Colombia, with fewer than 50 million people. Some of the smaller countries, like Panama and Costa Rica, fall somewhere between 4 and 5 million people. The number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. is greater than the total population in many of these countries. Additionally, major factors like average household income, GDP, and internet and smartphone penetration make the actual market within any of these countries a far smaller percentage of the total population than in the United States.

To emphasize the point, take a look at this map showing the U.S. states compared to the countries they most closely match up to in terms of GDP. You’ll see a number of the Latin American countries fit neatly into the U.S.’s states.

US States Renamed for Countries with Similar GDP

Why am I harping on this point? Because you simply cannot compare valuations of companies attacking the U.S. market to companies attacking the market in a specific country in Latin America; it’s not apples to apples. That is why investors look at the Latin American region and want companies that they’d consider investing in to go after that whole Latin America region. It is not because they are ignorant and don’t recognize or appreciate cultural differences between a Nicaraguan and a Chilean (and there could be an entirely different discussion about whether those differences are smaller or greater than the differences between someone from Massachusetts and someone from Louisiana); it is because not doing so would mean investing lots of time and money into companies that wouldn’t give them an ROI worth their efforts.

So there’s another nice segue into my next point:

You need to work together cooperatively as a region in order to succeed…

As mentioned above, making any one ecosystem within Latin America competitive and successful has a lot to do with making the entire region competitive and successful, so the players need to all work together to make this happen. I met plenty of people that recognize this and are working hard to bring together the entrepreneurial communities across the region, but I also met a number of people that are more focused on competition than cooperation. Remember, for companies to really make a dent and start getting press and attracting the attention of investors, they need to set their sights on the entire regional marketplace. Wouldn’t it be much easier for that to happen if the entrepreneurial communities in all of the different countries and cities were working together and could help facilitate the top companies’ international expansion within the region?


At the end of every single interview I do, I ask the interviewee to share his/her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Since this is a post about my reflections, I will do the same for those committed to creating thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the region: Stop idolizing entrepreneurs in the U.S. and focus on organically building the knowledge base within your own community and do everything possible to cooperate with the other players in the entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the region.

As I noted at the beginning, I’m sure many people will think that I have no basis to have any opinions about the situation in Latin America as I was merely a brief visitor to each city, and they may be right. Whether you agree or disagree with my observations and suggestions, I would love to hear what you think. Please leave a note in the comments section at the bottom of the page and let me know what you see as the positives and negatives in the region. I look forward to a lively debate!

Startup Nomad Interview with Marcella Chamorro

This week’s Startup Nomad interview is with Marcella Chamorro, the Founder of The Perpetual Vacation and Devise. Marcella grew up in the United States but comes from a Nicaraguan family and has since returned to the small, Central American country to live and build her businesses.

Check out her interview and let me know your thoughts below.

Startup Nomad Interview with Marcus Dantus

Startup Nomad Interview with Marcus Dantus

Wrapping up my time in Mexico, I spoke with Marcus Dantus, the CEO of Startup Mexico , former Director of Wayra Mexico and Startup Labs Latin America, and serial entrepreneur. He was very candid about the state of Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and shared some insights that I had not heard from other interviewees.

As Marcus was educated in the U.S., I asked him about the seeming idolization of the U.S.’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and he had an interesting take:

“I think Israel has the best ecosystem in the world, [not the U.S.]” he told me.  “I think that Silicon Valley is the one that started it all and it really remains an inspiration to Latin America. Everyone here aspires to go to Silicon Valley because they assume that there is so much more money there and that everyone becomes millionaires, but they don’t know the odds of that or how hard it is.”

“I believe that Mexico has an even bigger opportunity now than the U.S.,” he continued. “Being in Mexico now, you’re probably going to get money more easily than in the United States. Maybe not all of the way because there are still no exits here,” but at the early stages, yes.

“The main problem in Mexico,” he told me, “is that there is not enough activity in mergers and acquisitions, number 1. It’s a country mainly run by monopolies so they’re not keen on mergers and acquisitions because, why would they, if they have no competition? Another problem is the stock market because in order to reach an initial public offering in Mexico you have to sell millions, hundreds of millions of dollars. There is no alternative market yet….[But], the companies in Mexico that are looking for an exit probably should go to Europe or the U.S. They don’t need to exit in Mexico.”

Part of Marcus’ mission with Startup Mexico is to educate the entrepreneurs that aren’t being served by what’s currently available to them.

“Mexico is one of the most creative countries in the world, in my opinion,” he said. “The problem is that we are not well guided in using that creativity and I think that with a little bit of guidance we can really help come up with some innovative solutions.”

He argued that the key players in the ecosystem were not having the effect that they could have because they were not collaborating in an effective way:

“The problem is that they’re sometimes not on good terms with each other,” he told me.

“If you try to make a national collaborative effort and the main players don’t collaborate with each other, it doesn’t make sense.”

Additionally, he felt that the current model of creating accelerators and incubators was helpful, but only to the standouts and not to the overall ecosystem.

“The companies that don’t make it don’t even get any feedback,” he said. “They just don’t win and that’s it. I think that sucks…[Additionally], they only have one class per year, so if you have a great company but you missed the deadline, you have to wait a whole year.”

That’s not to say he wants to baby the entrepreneurs:

“We really want to make sure that these guys remain hungry because hunger is what drives excellence,” he said.

He feels that more entrepreneurs in Mexico still need to be educated about the process of building a business and raising funds in order for the ecosystem to thrive and he points to this lack of education as one of the reasons that entrepreneurs feel there is a lack of capital.

“That’s a ridiculous statement,” he told me about the idea that there isn’t capital available for entrepreneurs in Mexico. “There’s a lot of money out there, a lot…

…Mexico in 2008 had two funds, two. So in 2008 you could have made that argument. In 2012 we had 14 funds; in 2013 we had 30 funds; and this year, I think, another 30 funds are being created. So there is plenty of money out there…

…The problem is that a lot of the ideas are not ready. Entrepreneurs think that just because they have an idea they should get money.”

He continued on to say that, “the other thing is that the funds used to be larger funds and guys would go to them and ask for seed money. There is a mismatch between the stage of entrepreneurs and investors sometimes…but I think there is enough money.”

That’s why he wants to continue to educate the entrepreneurs that may not make the cut with investors on their first try. “They have to get prepared,” he said, and he believes that they should “at least produce a prototype and prove product market fit and then try for funding.”

Marcus certainly has high hopes for the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in his country, though he does see a bit of a bumpy ride ahead.  When I asked where Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem would be in 5-10 years, he said:

“Well, I think that the first thing that the ecosystem will need to do is to recover from what’s hitting us this year or next year. The ecosystem is two and a half years old and companies usually go bankrupt after two and a half years, so I think that we’re going to see a lot of companies fail and I think that’s going to scare a lot of late entrants that don’t understand what’s happening, but I think it’s normal.”

In fact, he thinks it’s a good thing: “There are a lot of funds being created by a lot of people that don’t know what they’re doing. The ecosystem will flush out the people that don’t understand, that don’t know it, that are only doing it because it’s the current opportunity, and we’ll be left with the people that should be here.”

He continued:

“There will be growth, but a lot depends on who wins the next elections. You have to follow through; it can’t just stop in the next 6 years. I think that Mexico actually has an opportunity to become an efficiency based economy, you know, an innovation based economy, in the next 5  to 10 years. And with that we could jump over 30, 40 countries and become one of the most competitive countries in the world, one of the richest, and I do believe that, but we need to get people to believe that and we need to work towards it.”

His statement that Mexicans must believe in their country’s potential came up a number of times in our conversation, as it had in other interviews I’d conducted. He quoted Andres Oppenheimer saying that,

“The whole world is bullish on Mexico, except Mexicans,” and continued, “I think that that’s a key component. Mexicans, we don’t believe.”

As I always, I will end with Marcus’ advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The first and foremost advice that I would give anybody is to do what you like. To be an entrepreneur, everybody thinks it’s easy but it’s the hardest thing you can do and if on top of it you’re doing something you don’t like, it’s worse. Secondly is to be patient. Money will come, you can’t just do it for the money. The money will come if you’re doing something you like and something you’re good at…..You have to be an optimist. In Mexico you’re going to take hits from every side…You’ve got to be able to improvise, and stay afloat, and be an optimist, and not panic.”

Startup Nomad Interview with Gerardo Sordo

Startup Nomad Interview with Gerardo Sordo

We’re back in action after my radio silence while crossing the Atlantic on a cruise and this week’s interview is with Gerardo Sordo, the Founder and CEO of BrandMe.

A native of Mexico City, Gerardo is currently participating in the Wayra program in Mexico and, while we discuss many of the same topics that come up over and over again with most of my interviewees, he also went a bit deeper and shared some of the personal costs of entrepreneurship.

To start, of course, we had to discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico City, which Gerardo says is just starting out and is lacking in capital, a cooperative community, success stories, and cultural acceptance of entrepreneurship as a respected career choice:


“Here in Mexico the ecosystem is very ‘baby,'”

Gerardo said, “because the investors want to invest in very safe investments. In the USA, for example, the investors want to invest in the next big thing but in Mexico it’s not like that…

… here in Mexico the investors are more old school.”

He continued: “In the United States you have a lot of venture capitalists to maybe become a part of your idea – here in Mexico there are very few…

…opportunities for venture capital are just starting.”


“In Silicon Valley and in the United States, in my opinion,” Gerardo said, “it’s more open to share ideas. Here in Mexico, if you have an idea, the culture is more like oh, no, no, no I don’t want to share my idea because maybe someone will take it.”

He describes the overall culture as more competitive than cooperative and, while he hopes this will change as the ecosystem develops he did say that,

“Here in Mexico, it’s very challenging to change the minds of the people, even the startup people…It’s more competitive.”

“I think we are creating a very strong entrepreneur stream. The problem is that in this entrepreneurial group, in this ecosystem, are people that don’t think about other Mexicans, people that just want money or want to steal.”



Another issue that Gerardo notes is a lack of success stories for entrepreneurs to aspire to. This issue has come up in nearly every interview I have conducted in Latin America. Luckily, Gerardo thinks this will change soon:

“I think that in the next 5 years we will have one [success story] that will be inspiration for Mexicans….one startup that will be a case study,” he told me.



Hopefully, some success stories will also help change the culture to be more accepting of entrepreneurship as a legitimate career choice as Gerardo noted that it’s still not seen as an acceptable path by many Mexicans.

“This world [of entrepreneurship] is very new for the people that think traditionally,” he said. “They think you should go through school and get a job at a big company.” And that disconnect between an entrepreneur’s passion and ambition and what those around them think they should be doing can put great strain on a founder’s relationships:

“The downside to becoming an entrepreneur is the friends that you lose on the road” Gerardo said. “We’re from different worlds now.”

This mentality is changing as the ecosystem in Mexico continues to grow, however:

“In our parents’ day,” he continued, “people were not called entrepreneurs; they were called independent workers, and that was seen as a euphemism for not having a job… [But] the culture is growing up…Now it’s cool to be an entrepreneur in our days.”


So what’s Gerardo’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? He actually had quite a bit:

“My first bit of advice is to become passionate,” Gerardo told me.

“An entrepreneur needs to become very strong for the good times and the bad,” he continued. “If you have passion you can survive [the ups and downs of entrepreneurship].”

 Secondly, “it doesn’t matter the idea…It’s more important the strategies, the partnerships, the investors…For me, the idea, okay, it’s important but the strategy and the implementation is more important,” Gerardo said. 

Finally, Gerardo urges aspiring entrepreneurs to take initiative:

“Nobody is going to just give you money; nobody is just going to give you anything; you have to go and search it out,” he said. “We are one click of distance from everything,” he continues. “We need to make contact with the correct people…

If you are very smart and very motivated, you have a lot of power. If you are proactive you have a lot of power.”


You Know What Happens When You Assume…

We’ve all heard the saying, “When you assume you make an ass out of yoand me.” Well, I didn’t make an ass out of any of you but I definitely did out of myself.

After over a year in Latin America, I was ready for something new and have now settled down in Europe for a bit. To get here, I decided against a boring old flight and opted for an 11 day transatlantic cruise. Now, I have cruised many, many, many times before and so I assumed that would have internet access on the ship, albeit very expensive internet access, and would just continue to work right through. Well, I technically did have internet access, but the cruise line blocked certain sites that I need to use to share the free information I provide you all with to help you grow your businesses. That meant I basically just fell off the face of the earth for all of you for the past 2 weeks with no warning. Yup, my assumption made me a bit of ass 🙁

I’m very sorry to have abandoned you without so much as an FYI in advance. On the bright side, because the lack of internet forced me into an unplanned vacation I had a fabulous time on my ruise and I am now ready to hit the ground running here in Europe. I am on land again now though, so hit me up if you need any assistance and have no fear, New Venture Mentor and Startup Nomad (as well as my newsletter) will be back in action starting this week.

Thanks so much for your understanding and your continued support!

Startup Nomad Interview with Bianca Loew

Startup Nomad Interview with Bianca Loew

We’re winding down my time in Latin America and this week’s interview is with Bianca Loew, Founder of Life of Two, the makers of Twyxt, a messaging app for couples. Bianca is originally from Germany, lived for many years in Mexico, and is now based in San Francisco.

Comparing the ecosystems of Silicon Valley and Mexico City, Bianca said: “How do you compare it: It’s day and night I would say.” She continued on:

“Silicon Valley is so developed. There is an ecosystem there, it’s already developed and it’s huge and here in Mexico it is everything but...

…When I started up with Life of Two there was no ecosystem, it was non-existent in Mexico, which is the reason that we decided to go to San Francisco, because here in Mexico there wasn’t anything or, if there was something, it was only just starting…It’s only starting to get organized, there are lots of funds being created from one moment to the other…

…things are really happening but it’s really, really early stage…

There are people that are doing things right, organizations that are really serious, but there are also those that really aren’t…I think it’s a matter of time before it will get more mature but still, Mexico City, there is not going to be a second Silicon Valley.”

Getting into more detail about what is missing from the Mexican ecosystem she said: “I don’t know if it’s one thing, I think it’s many things together. 1 thing is of course capital, access to capital. [Also], really great talent is still pretty scarce so there are great people but they are not looking around for jobs. When it comes to money, when it comes to talent, when it comes to the whole infrastructure like legal issues – there are very few legal firms that specialize in startups…

…This whole framework has yet to evolve.”

She does see it changing, however:

“It’s very small, it’s not yet very mature, but it’s very exciting and it’s growing a lot,” she said.

“It’s important that Mexico is finally giving more attention to the entrepreneurs, it’s important that there are finally funds available for entrepreneurs…these things are happening now and they’re very important for Mexico, for the country, for the economy…This new wave that is happening right now in Mexico. A lot of things are going to happen in 5 years – I don’t know if [the ecosystem] is going to be mature, but definitely we can expect a lot of things happening here in Mexico…

…I see a lot of progress. Mexico is on a good path. I don’t know what’s going to happen in 5 years but it’s definitely going to look different.”

So what is Bianca’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?:

“Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur,” she told me. She encourages everyone to give it a try if they have a great idea, but warns that it’s not all fun, freedom, and glitz. It is hard work that requires discipline and self-motivation and is not right for everyone. She also said,

“You need to have the right people around you, you need to have the right cofounder. You can have the best idea but if you don’t have someone to help you develop it, if you don’t have a reliable cofounder [you won’t succeed].”

Finally,  “You need to be fast; don’t try to make the perfect product, just test it very fast with something basic and see if that takes you somewhere.”


What do you think of BIanca had to say about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexican? Let me know in the comments section below!

Startup Nomad Interview with Michael Goldberg

My Startup Nomad interview this week is with Michael Goldberg, a visiting assistant professor of design and innovation at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and the co-founder and managing partner of Bridge Investment Fund. He is teaching the upcoming Coursera course, Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies (which I am taking) and was gracious enough to meet up with me on a Google+ Hangout to talk about the differences between mature entrepreneurial ecosystems – like that in Silicon Valley – and those that are still developing or in transition.

Check out the interview below and leave a comment to let me know what you think of what Michael had to say.

If you’d like to sign up for Michael’s Coursera course: Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies, just click the title of the course to see the Coursera page for the course and sign up. Please let me know if you sign up and we can work through the course together!

The book Michael mentioned in his interview is Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed — And What To Do About It by Josh Lerner and you can buy it at Amazon by clicking the title.

The podcast he mentioned is Plant Money podcast and you can check it out by clicking the title


Startup Nomad Interview with Santiago Zavala (Mexico)

This week’s Startup Nomad interview is with Santiago Zavala, a Venture Partner with 500 Startups Mexico – one of the most active funds in the world, especially in emerging markets – and a former Founding/General Partner at Mexican.VC.

Unlike with many of my other interviewees, Santiago and I spent more time speaking about the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout Latin America than just the situation in his native Mexico. He sees many similarities between all of the cities in the region vying for their place in the world’s startup ecosystem, but he also recognizes the distinctiveness of each.

“I think that we all have in common great talent. We’re really hungry, we’re really resourceful, and we’re really hard-working,” he said. But, “I would say every city…has a very specific context that makes them do things in different ways.”

“The economy in Argentina changes the way you target a market. Colombia, has a very specific culture that makes them think more on a city level rather than a country level and makes them more city oriented than continent oriented. Similarly with Mexico: very specific things in different parts of Mexico lead to different entrepreneurs and different startups happening in different places. So there are differences everywhere and I think anyone who is trying to hide that and just saying that they have access to the whole Latin American region because they have offices in one or two places is probably wrong.” 

Because of these differences in cultures and economies, Santiago recognizes that Mexico City may not be the ideal city for every entrepreneur, though it certainly has a lot to offer to many.

“Anyone who is thinking that they can make their city or region or country the go-to place for everyone is probably going to have a really hard time,” he said. “It’s different for every entrepreneur.”

If an entrepreneur is building a company targeting the Spanish-speaking market, however, Mexico City can provide an abundance of opportunities. “We’re in a city of more than 20 million people,” Santiago explained, “so the odds of you being able to find your customer here are pretty big. The odds of you being able to validate with a big corporation here are pretty big, since most of the world’s major corporations have offices in Mexico City.”

If, however, you can acquire your customer online or your target customer is not in Mexico City, there may be other, better options for you for where to base your business.

“If you are building a product that you can acquire your users through the internet,” Santiago said, “and you can tell me that you’ll have a longer runway somewhere else…that’s fine. We don’t have the accelerator here because we think all companies should start here.”

As far as Santiago is concerned, each company has different needs and part of learning to be a good entrepreneur is being able to make the decision that is right for your startup and not necessarily the one that is most popular at the moment.

Despite not claiming that Mexico City is the spot for every new entrepreneur, Santiago is confident that the local ecosystem here will continue to grow and mature over the next few years.

“I’m literally betting everything on it being an awesome ecosystem,” he told me. “We have the same challenges as any other emerging market and we need to face them very clearly,” he continued.

“We are not sophisticated in almost every part of what it takes to build a successful startup because we haven’t seen any success stories…Every city, every entrepreneur needs to start thinking how we’re going to get more sophisticated…The goal is in 3 years to have companies in the Series A/Series B stage…

…I’m sure there will be 1 or 2 cities in Latin America that will have a very vibrant ecosystem in the next few years. I’m not sure if it’s going to be Mexico City. If not, I will have to move.”

Santiago also had an interesting take on the idea that the majority of startups in Latin America are “copy-cat” companies: companies recreating a business that’s already proven successful in another part of the world.  

“Of course we see a lot of people that are trying to solve problems that are already solved in other places,” he said. “That’s the reason that you want to invest in emerging markets: there are still problems to be solved…I see a lot of people trying to solve similar problems but the solutions are so different [so] I don’t think there are copycats at all…

…All entrepreneurs need to be building on the shoulders of giants and there is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel, [but] the reason that the market was not using [the solution that exists in another region] was that it was not possible to use [the other solution] as it is in this geography…Anyone who thinks that you can just copy a great company is going to realize that it’s really, really, really hard…and when you try to do it in a very different place you are going to realize that there are very different challenges.”

Finally, what’s Santiago’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?:

“Try to understand what’s right for you,” he said.

“You need to make sure that you have a very clear compass. One bad decision is not going to lead you to serious problems – you will be able to figure a way out of it – but many bad decisions are going to take you to a place where it’s really hard to solve it and that’s why I think people need to be more sophisticated.” He urges entrepreneurs to really analyze the needs of their startup and not get swept up in the glitzy grant or accelerator programs that abound if they don’t actually add anything to your company.

Try to talk with a lot of other people in your region about what is the right thing for your startup right now,” he said. And then, “work really, really, really, really hard and make sure that you know why you are doing it.” 

Startup Nomad Interview with Matt Wilson

This week’s interview is with Matt Wilson, the co-founder of Under30CEO and the Adventurer in Residence of Under30Experiences. Matt is one of a handful of people that I know who shares my passion for both entrepreneurship and travel and has been able to combine those two loves and live a life even more adventurous than I do.

I chatted with him via a Google+ Hangout while he was in New York and I was in Mexico City to catch up about what’s new with him and what he sees happening in entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world as he brings young adventurers to explore.