Ricardo Terán: 8 Years of Passion for a Purpose

Ricardo speaking at RetreatDear Friends,

As some of you know, over the last few months I have been transitioning out of my day to day role with Agora Partnerships, an organization I had the privilege of co-founding and managing next to my friend and mentor, Ben Powell. For over eight years, I’ve been blessed to have worked alongside some of the most passionate and intelligent individuals in the world. These young professionals have committed a part of their lives to serve others, using their skills and education to bring knowledge, networks, and capital to help entrepreneurs in the developing world unleash their potential to create massive social and environmental impact.

A few years ago, while doing my fellowship at Yale, I was able to reflect deeply about the future and what I was passionate about. The answers were clear to me: I am an entrepreneur with a passion to serve people by helping them unlock their full potential and fulfill their dreams. I am committed to being a bridge to bring the best of the world to my country, and taking the best of my country to the world.

At the time, I knew that my work with Agora with the most important thing I had ever done, and I was deeply passionate about it. But I also knew a few other things. One, my young family was quickly growing, and my time was becoming more precious. Second, I was once again full of ideas and energy to launch a new project.

But the timing didn’t seem right. I didn’t feel that neither I nor Agora were quite ready for me to move onto my next adventure, particularly because we had neither a complete nor sufficiently experienced management team, nor a fully scalable product, and we did know where the funding was going to come from in a few months. When those three things happened, I said, I would know the time had come.

Now, the time has come. Over the last two years, we have been extremely fortunate to have attracted a world class management team who is taking our organization to new frontiers – literally. We have opened up offices in Mexico and today have staff distributed in the US, China, Germany, Colombia, and Nicaragua. We have built a world-class Accelerator, which has served close to 50 entrepreneurs in over 13 Latin American countries, attracting several million dollars in impact investments, and creating hundred of new jobs. The potential for the accelerator model to continue expanding to new countries, as well as to other market segments in countries we currently operate in, means we can scale our impact significantly in the coming years. We’ve grown our program revenues substantially and we have a stronger core of partners than we’ve ever had.

When I saw these pieces in place, I knew it was time. But making the decision to actually move on was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but with the support of Ben, the Agora staff, and my family, I had the guidance and strength to take the next step in my entrepreneurial career.

I decided to go back to my roots and  bring technology access to BOP markets, particularly focused on the education sector and micro and small enterprises. This is a once In a lifetime kind of project, with the added bonus that I am teaming up with my Dad again to do it. We have partnered with an incredible Indian entrepreneur to develop an ultra-low cost, Android-based tablet called Mochila Digital (Digital Backpack). More importantly, through strategic partnerships with Telco’s in the region, we can provide access to the internet for under US$2 a month. This is the lowest cost internet access anywhere in Latin America, and we feel, is game changing.

On the education front, we have built an extensive ecosystem of preloaded educational apps and digitized content that is part of the mandatory curriculum of the Ministries of Education of the countries where we are working. For micro and small enterprises, we are working with leading software companies to help entrepreneurs more effectively and efficiently manage all the aspects of their businesses that impact cash flow.

I am incredibly thrilled, and slightly terrified, of the next phase of my life. I am very much looking forward to staying in touch with the Agora community through my strategic work as a Senior Advisor and Board member, but also as a lifelong believer in the power of entrepreneurship to create great things in the lives of people and system-change in the lives of countries. I know Agora is on the right path to creating this massive change and I am as excited as ever to see our mission getting accomplished.

As for my new projects, I invite all of you who may be interested in learning more to contact me. I certainly need ALL the help I can get! In the coming weeks we will be launching our website and social media platforms, so stay tuned. You can always reach me to my Agora email or my personal email, ricardoteran@gmail.com. Or you can reach me by phone at +505-8851-4500.

I want to thank all of you for your incredible support and friendship over these last few years. You have been invaluable to me and to all the people we have served. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please keep in touch.

I wish you all happiness, love, and éxitos.

Ricardo

9 thoughts on “Ricardo Terán: 8 Years of Passion for a Purpose”

  1. Ricardo, ricardito… como has crecido en la empresa de la familia desde aquellos años atrás que empezastes con el grupo de jóvenes emprendedores en yahoo.com, y luego se desaprecio y nació agora partnertships. Cómo has estado broder? Pues en aquella ocasión te presenté varios proyectos que dijiste que eran interesante y que me llamarías para reunirnos y ver la posibilidad de llevarlos a cabo, y se noto tu pasión e interés; sin embargo, no se concreto. Bueno, espero que nos hablemos pronto, o al menos me escribes. Saludos y suerte en la empresa.

    Ricardo, ricardito…as the family company has grown since those years ago that you started with a group of young entrepreneurs in yahoo.com, and then it did away and partnertships agora was born. How have you been broder? Well at that time I introduced you several projects that you said was interesting and you would call me to meet each other and see the possibility of carrying them out, and I felt your passion and interest, but nothing was concreted. Well, I hope we talk soon, or at least you write me. Greetings and good luck in the company.

  2. Congrats Ricardo and the Agora team on this fantastic next step. I can’t wait to hear more about Mochila Digital and to stay abreast of all the great work you are and will be doing in the years to come. Felicidades!

    – Rob

  3. Ricardo,

    Quite a journey, since we first met. Congratulations of what you folks have accomplished, and good luck in the next phase of your life. I would be delighted to buy you a drink or a lunch, should you find yourself in New York sometime soon.

    Best,

    Peter

  4. Congratulations, Ricardo. It’s wonderful to know that great folks like you are always looking for more ways to help more people. I’m pretty sure your new endeavour will bring you and yours, a lot of success. Please count of me for any Word of Mouth or Communities requirements you’d have in our continent.
    Fuerte abrazo desde El Salvador!
    @RolandoPeralta

  5. Congratulations and good luck on your new path Ricardo. I consider you a mentor who has taught me a lot about the realities and opportunities of entrepreneurship. The success of Thriive’s partnership in Nicaragua with Agora can be traced directly back to your leadership and continues on a solid growth trajectory that we can both we proud of. When I come back next year I look forward to further brainstorming over a cerveza or two. Salud!

  6. We all owe you a debt of gratitude Ricardo for the time and energy you’ve dedicated to Agora all these years. Anyone who knows you well, knows that you are an extraordinary entrepreneur, as demonstrated by your previous successes in private enterprise, as well as what you’ve helped accomplish with Agora. That at anytime in the past few years you could have stepped away to grow your own successful business–and yet didn’t– just shows how committed you’ve been to helping social impact entrepreneurs grow and triumph.
    For us as angel investors, your dedication to Agora and it’s aims, and your understanding and concern about our needs as investors, definitely increased our enthusiasm and confidence and motivated us to do many “Agora Deals”.
    Un abrazo!
    Mark

  7. Primo – it was an honor to have worked with you at Agora for +2 years. I don’t think I’ve ever learned as much from anybody. You showed me the importance of having a bold vision, putting in the hard work to execute that vision, and do it with a sense of integrity and authenticity. Most importantly, you’ve inspired me to dedicate my life to also making Central America a better place by supporting and investing in the real leaders of our region: entrepreneurs. To me, you are the paragon of leadership in Central America – thank you for setting such an awesome example.

    I know success will follow wherever your future endeavors take you. Just make sure you save me a seat so that I can join you when I’m ready!

    Un abrazo,
    Roger T.

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