Ángel Bañuelos
Founder and CEO
Balero Ventures
/
View from the Top

Networking for a Strong Entrepreneurial Environment

By Alessa Flores | Wed, 04/22/2020 - 12:25

Q: How did the first Balero Day Summit contribute to the company’s growth?

A: Last year, we held the first Balero Day Summit in which 32 startups, friends, investors, mentors and others built a network of more than 400 people. The goal of the Balero Day Summit was to raise awareness of our network and to set up a contact channel between participants. We believe that we all benefit from the skills and experience that each of us has to contribute. The summit was also unusual in that people employed in startups had the rare opportunity to interact with international speakers and discover business innovation networks.

Q: What is your assessment of startup development in the healthcare area?

A: Health startups are rapidly diversifying and innovating. They no longer focus exclusively on the health sector but are looking for increasingly differentiated niches, services and products. For example, Happinss, a company that uses virtual reality to encourage wellness and mental health in at businesses, was ahead of its time. When NOM-053 came out, the company was already on the right track. Happinss is a clear example of how technology is revolutionizing the economy but also of how innovation can change the way you think about well-being.

Q: How did the idea of opening an Innovation Center for Startups and Companies evolve?

A: This is a physical space that acts as a co-working space, and offers prototyping labs and other test areas. This was a partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey and the Mexican Chamber of Communications, Telecommunications and Information Technology (CANIETI). The center bridges the gap between co-workers, as we provide a inexpensive and dynamic space, particularly for startups. We have a capacity of 60 spaces and have filled 30 percent. We are trying to increase the number of new entrepreneurs through activities and events.

Q: What other plans do you have to continue helping your clients grow?

A: One activity is called Investors’ Day, where instead of pursuing a standard pattern, where we assemble entrepreneurs to set up ideas for investors, we run assessments of our startups and investors to find a match according to scale, production, form of operation and other characteristics. This is a process with a number of stages. Soft commitments are set up between entrepreneurs and investors to take advantage of opportunities. We are planning to organize two events, one in the US and one in Canada.

Q: Entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector face regulatory complications to starting their business. How do you help them in this process?

A: One of our partners is an authorized third party that helps us advise startups on the health sector’s regulatory framework. We want our entrepreneurs to operate according to recognized standards but we also want them to keep their projects within the capabilities of a startup of their size. We do not want startups to fail in introducing their innovations to the market because their product or service fell into a highly regulated area. However, the real challenge for startups is that the healthcare environment does not evolve at the same pace as startups. Many hospitals want to address digitalization but few are searching for technology-enhancing allies. The other problem is investment and we believe that because of COVID-19 and the economic conditions of the country, it will be difficult for startups to find potential investors.

Q: What are Balero’s short-term goals?

A: We have three units that we are supporting this year. First is our fund, in which we are investing to push for new rounds of investment. Second is the innovation center. We want to turn it into a bastion of new business and innovative ventures. Finally, we will continue working on our StartupLinks platform where we seek to connect the people in our ecosystem and help startups in Mexico continue to advance. Every year, we bring sponsors or strategic partners to our events to have direct contact with entrepreneurs and continue developing the startup ecosystem. At Balero, we are sure that only through connections between various actors will startups be able to develop and support people with their services and products.

 

 

Balero is a Latin American Venture Capital Fund with a global vision to discover, accelerate, link and invest in early stage technology startups. It provides integral support and corporate governance and aid in the consolidation process up to the series A stage.

Photo by:   MBP
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst