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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.