They say it takes a village. Normally this saying is used in the context of raising a child. And if launching a new business is like welcoming a new baby into your life, perhaps it could be said that scaling a business is like raising one, supporting and guiding it in its journey from newborn to toddler to child into adulthood.
So if it takes a village to raise a child — or in this case, scale a business — it seems that this village has done damn good job! Thank you!
In April of this year, Finnovista in a joint venture with Startupbootcamp launched a new program designed for Fintechs looking to scale in Mexico and Latin America. Given the unique challenges of being a Fintech in a market where the financial sector is still very oligopolistic, in addition to the innate difficulties of scaling a business, Startupbootcamp, a global organization based in Europe, chose Mexico City to launch the very first edition of Startupbootcamp Scale, to be managed by Finnovista. Just six months of working with high-potential entrepreneurs uncovered real results in terms of unlocking exponential, scalable growth.
How did we do it and what did we learn? To repeat the adage, it really takes a village. There is no silver bullet that paves the way to exponential, scalable growth. As a first-time program director for Startupbootcamp Scale Fintech in México City, and given that the program is designed to be tailor-made for each startup, it really came down to drawing upon our greater community to bring together vast amounts of knowledge, advice, successes, failures, methodologies to share with the entrepreneurs.
To me, how a startup hits its stride in starting to scale is really a mixture of things, an alchemy of product-market fit, having a pipeline full of leads, prioritizing speed over (most) everything else, having an eye for the right opportunities and working from a truly collaborative, growth-centric mindset.
To help us achieve this magical mix, each onsite week, we invited a variety of experts and mentors to give masterclasses, workshops, talk about their experiences (good and bad) and challenge each entrepreneur in every aspect. The startups worked with our corporate partners –Visa, Fiinlab powered by Gentera, Banregio, HSBC México, EY MéxicoIGNIA, Latinia, and White & Case. – to explore opportunities for commercial collaborations. They heard from the top VCs to understand how to get investment-ready, and met with leading consultancies, financial institutions, and other Fintechs and related startups to explore business development opportunities.
Over the course of the program all of this became the fodder for new ideas, giving the entrepreneurs permission to think big, pushing them to be brutally honest in challenging each other, developing accountability and the discipline to kill things that were not working, and essentially doing a Rubik’s cube analysis of the businesses on a monthly basis.
In this same way, we constantly pushed the founders to challenge all assumptions. Despite some initial resistance, every two weeks, the entrepreneurs were asked to design a new experiment to validate potential sources or blockers to growth, e.g. how might startup-x shorten its sales cycle to close deals within two weeks?
Some of the key realizations that the entrepreneurs came to via these experiments include learning not to wait for perfection. Keep it stupidly simple. Come up with a couple of ideas or theories, throw it against the wall, see what sticks; come back and iterate. In other words, an extreme bias for action.
Keep in mind, this is not for the faint of heart! Maintaining this pace and pushing to try new things continually requires fortitude. For this, we relied on five-minute meditations, sessions with a high-performance coach and peer-to-peer learning circles.
On the other hand, it’s pretty cool to see how much things evolve in just one to two weeks when you are open to experimenting and learning in order to move barreling forward to your desired result. To borrow a quote from Mark Zuckerberg, “move fast and break things”.
What’s next? I am super excited to see what we will achieve in the upcoming generations of Startupbootcamp Scale Fintech in Mexico City. I am convinced of our own product-market fit — and the numbers prove it! There is such a deep need for a program like this and I am personally grateful for the opportunity to work with high-growth startups who have “nailed it” and now want to “scale it”.
We, too, have learned so much from the first cohort and look forward to leveraging this to take the incoming batches to the next level. For startups looking for a strong network in Latin America, including the best mentors, partners and experts, and to get hands-on support in fundraising, scaling operations, repeatable sales and building a culture designed for growth, get in touch! We would love to talk to you about the challenges you are facing and how we might be able to help.
Applications for the second batch are currently open now through December 10th for the second batch of Startupbootcamp Scale Fintech in Mexico City. We are looking for the top five startups from LatAm and beyond who are looking to jump on this rocket ship and uncover exponential, scalable growth. Are you one of them? Apply today and tell us more!
Christine is Finnovista’s program director for our Startupbootcamp Scale program in Mexico City, working with growth-stage FinTech start-ups looking to expand into Mexico. Driven by a continual desire to learn, evolve and build things, she moved to Mexico in 2015 convinced that Latin America and emerging markets are the breeding grounds for authentic, impactful innovation that comes out of organic need and great ambitions. Christine has worked on a variety of projects related to transformation, growth and strategy execution over 15 years and across three continents within various oneworld airlines, a Swiss bank, Big 4 consulting firm and early-stage HR Tech and Consumer Tech companies. She has been recognized for her commercial expertise as well as the talent for preparing gluten-free desserts and Thanksgiving turkeys. Christine has a B.S. in International Business from Pepperdine University, an MBA from IE Business School and is currently working on her yoga handstand and Python skills.