Meet Managing Partner for Widerpool LATAM: Cesar Castro
Tell us about your most recent background… I understand that you’ve had a few different career paths?
I am a reformed corporate executive with an extended record of success in Telecom, Mobility, Internet-led business, Consumer Electronics, and Cloud Services at Microsoft, Nokia and America Movil.
Nowadays I am an entrepreneur and advise leadership teams, boards of directors and founders on trends, innovation and strategies for growth, value creation, and business transformation.
I am particularly focused on exponential organizations, and the application of new business models and accelerating technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things),Blockchain and cryptocurrencies among other leading impacting technologies that are changing the business and consumer dynamics.
What type of business are you running now and how does this overlap with what WiderPool does in the innovation space?
I am the Founder and Managing Partner at Escalate Group; a Consultancy firm specialized in envisioning, accelerating and scaling disruptive innovation and digital transformation for customer organizations and leaders seeking to remain relevant during today’s non-linear market.
In my role as WiderPool Global Advisory Board member, I help corporates succeed by connecting them to the world’s most innovative tech companies.
I believe there’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur; we have unprecedented access to technology, capital, and talent, it is a new reality with the abundance of information and opportunities.
How did you initially get involved with WiderPool?
In 2016, Ignacio Macias, communicated his plans for WiderPool, and I understood that the new venture would help corporations investing and partnering with startups and eventually transform their leadership. This relates nicely to my Massive Transformative Purpose “Unlock Transformational Moonshots” for an abundant World. I believe together we will also inspire new ventures at edges. So, all is well connected.
What is unique about the region that allows innovation to flow freely among corporations and startups in LATAM?
A booming middle class, abundant natural resources, and open trade policies are just some of the reasons Latin America continues to attract significant investment. Conducting business in Latin America continues to be challenging. Stationary economic growth, high inflation, unpredictable state interventionism and sub-standard infrastructure represent just a few of the operating challenges in the region.
“I KNOW THAT INNOVATION DEPENDS MORE ON PEOPLE THAT IN IDEAS AND LATAM HAS A LARGE YOUNG SOCIAL NETWORKED POPULATION WITH PROBLEM-SOLVING FOCUS, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WITH FIRE IN THEIR BELLY TO LEARN AND BE BETTER”
What industries on the corporate or government sectors do you see as being particularly open in LATAM as possibilities for the WiderPool’s innovation model?
The areas of opportunities in the region are their problems: Innovation and Education for the new world; Inequality, Financial Inclusion, and Digital Banks; Utilities Coverage and new energy models; Access to market, Freight Forwarders, and Carriers; Mobility, Air pollution and Sensors; and open innovation among many others.
What are some of the biggest stories on the tech startup side for disruptive innovation originating from LATAM?
Technology in Latin America is a startup movement of “TechnoLatinas,” an ecosystem that is creating new connections for the economies of Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Panama with Miami and the rest of the world. There is not a single center: there are dozens!
The primary regional cluster in Brazil is Sao Paulo/Campinas; this is where comparison shopping website BuscaPé was founded in 1999. Other thriving hubs are Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Porto Alegre.
A program called “Start-Up Chile” made Santiago be called “Chilecon Valley.” Medellin, Colombia is home to “Ruta N,” innovation and business center that supports new tech-related businesses in Colombia. Argentina’s startup cultureis more business-oriented and mature, with early success cases such as auction site MercadoLibre; the central hub for local entrepreneurs there is Palermo Valley.
Mexico hosts a Silicon Valley’s seed stage fund for Mexican startups called Mexican.vc
Miami dynamic tech environment hosts among other Rock3rLabs, ExO RockerFuel and Fastrack Institute, a not-for-profit organization that accelerate technology into society creating ExO startups across the region.
- Tell us about some of the first new steps you’ll be leading to launch WiderPool LATAM Region?
We are currently pursuing some relevant leads within the utilities, telecom, food and freight sectors in the region. We are planning for the first half of next year a couple of Innovation Seminars with the CIONET chapters in Sao Pauloand Bogota.
- How broadly will WP LATAM cover the region? Will you be able to showcase tech companies from all the countries and open up conversations with companies looking to innovate from throughout the region?
We will continue inviting startups to WiderPool challenges from the dozens of technologies ecosystem in the region. We will focus our conversation with customer in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia without missing the opportunities in the other countries in the region.