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Successful, Tenacious: The Most Outstanding Serial Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Successful, Tenacious: The Most Outstanding Serial Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Posted by Juan Gavasa on May 30, 2015

They have achieved what many people want: being recognized because of the creation of a series of successful companies that have gone beyond borders and conquered local and regional markets.

Enterprising flows in their blood, but they specifically have an extraordinary ability to reinvent themselves from the very beginning. Even when they founded profitable and prestigious companies, they decided that it was about time to leave them behind and make a new bet, a characteristic that makes them stand out.

Tenacious and passionate, they share their enterprising know how with other people, whether by speaking in lectures or incubating and funding other companies. They are “serial entrepreneurs”, which means that their next big project could be just around the corner:

Vicente Fenoll

In Mexico he is considered one of the pioneers in the country’s micro-financial sector, since he turned a social concern or matter into a successful enterprising career. In 1994 he launched FinComún, in order to provide financial services (loans and savings accounts) to people with low socioeconomic level.

Mr. Fenoll was awarded as Endeavor entrepreneur in Mexico and he won the Professional Merit Career Prize given by ITAM in 2008. He founded the acclaimed Kubo Financiero platform, which establishes links between people needing loans and potential financiers. Kubo Financiero is included in “Entrepreneurs: The New Face of Mexico 6th”, the sixth edition of a series of Endeavor books in that country. Mr. Fenoll is also the founder of other companies that combine technology and microfinances, such as Aggregatium Consultores and Péek-Tech. The entrepreneur has been a member of the council of several entities, like the Bureau of Credit, Bank of National Savings and Financial Services (Bansefi), Juan Diego Foundation, ProDevelopment Finances and Microenterprise and the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi), and he’s presently included in Unreasonable Mexico’s team of mentors.

Gabriel Roizner

This is the youngest name on the list. Although he is in his 30s, this Uruguayan entrepreneur has developed an interesting career. He left his homeland back in 2002 (Mr. Roizner is a Systems Engineer specialized in Artificial Intelligence). This enterprising career kicked off with KienVe, a successful second-screen app that created micro social networks for people watching the same TV shows and advertisements. He had previously been the co-founder and Business Intelligence of Zolbi Company. It’s important to highlight that KienVe was very famous throughout the region and it was chosen –among other distinctions- as 'Hot Company of the Year' at 2012 Festival of Media LatAm (Miami).

As a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Roizner took a new challenge and founded Tizzka, along with Nathan Schorr. It’s an app that gives users the possibility to receive pieces of advice from expert fashion and image stylists and share them with other users. In 2014, both businessmen moved to San Pablo so as to launch the app there. Roupologia –as it was named at the very beginning – broke records on Apple’s App Store in that country. Subsequently, the Spanish version was rolled out - named Tizzka - and they are present in nearly 30 countries, with over 21 million views. They are now in New York so as to launch the app in that market.

Gary Urteaga

You cannot speak of entrepreneurship in Peru without mentioning the special chapter dedicated to Gary Urteaga, a serial entrepreneur that has played a leading role in the emerging ecosystem of startups in that country. He is the creator of Holosens, an enterprise in charge of building up such companies as KaraokeSmart, Hoope, Joinnus, Reclutec, Empresabio, Veronica, KunFood, among others; which have received funds for research and development like FINCyT-FIDECOM, seed money from accelerators like Grupo Telefonica’s Wayra, 500 Startups from Silicon Valley, Startup Chile, Startup Peru and angel investors.

One of the milestones in his life in the fact that he is the cofounder of Cinepapaya –also financed by Holosens- a mobile app that gives access to the publicity board of movie theaters and users can buy tickets. CinePapaya was the first Andean startup to receive investment from accelerator 500 Startups, which gave it USS 150 K in seed money; and in 2014 it was given 2 million dollars to consolidate its growth. Gary was awarded the 2010 President of the Republic of Peru Prize because of his influence in such areas as social responsibility, innovation and business models; and he was appointed Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship Week and Singularity University in Peru, as well as delegate of Startup Nations.

Alec Oxenford

He is one of the Argentinean entrepreneurs with highest international scope. “A citizen of the world, but very Latin American and characterized by the spirit of Buenos Aires”, that how one of the pioneers of the web in the region defines himself, whose first company DeRemate, founded in 1999, was bought by its competitor, MercadoLibre.

Mr. Oxenford also founded DineroMail (2002), but his recent successful project, OLX, was born in 2006. His idea wasn’t original as such. It’s a platform with classified advertisements, but the merit refers to its market. OLX targets such emerging markets as India, Kenya and Brazil, and it aims at segments of the pyramid’s base that are interested in monetizing their properties, their banking level is low and the access to the Internet is basic. After having received funding from the most important funds of the world, like The Founders Fund (which also funded Facebook) and the South African investing group Naspers, the exponential growth of OLX has positioned it as “one of the biggest international brands on the Internet developed out of Silicon Valley”. But Mr. Oxenford also devotes time to his other passion: art. The entrepreneur is the president of arteBA Foundation.

Alex Torrenegra

A true enterprising whirl, that’s how Alex Torrenegra could be defined, this Colombian serial entrepreneur that, according to his bio, launched his first company in Bogota at the age of 14 so as to buy a computer. That was the first step in an enterprising career that has never stopped ever since.

He moved to the US and, along with his wife Tania Zapata, he founded Bunny Inc., the so-called “voices supermarket” that has had an unstoppable success with its sub-products. He also launched Torrenegra Labs, an incubator that was ranked among the most important foreign startups in the US according to Forbes magazine, and it has supported such startups as WeHostels, VivaReal and Dashbell. Among other things, Mr. Torrenegra has also cofounded HubBOG, BogoDev and BogoTech,

With such a curriculum, he has been given several distinctions. Among multiple awards, in 2012 he received the MIT’s Technology Review with the TR35 Top Colombian Innovator of the Year award, in 2013 High-Impact Entrepreneur by Endeavor, and in 2015 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Moreover, he takes part of his time to give lectures on innovation, entrepreneurship, crowdsourcing, among other topics.

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