It’s been a few months since I left my last job at500 Startups, since then I’ve kept myself busy on stealth mode. Now It’s finally time, and I am very proud to pull the curtain of what I have been working on.
Spoiler Alert: I am working on two main things, startup immigration into the United States and mentorship in developing ecosystems. I know these are two very different concepts, but I truly believe they come down to the same objective; How can I increase access to opportunities, enabling more people to unleash their full potential?
No more sweaty hands at the border – StartupVisa.co
Immigration was the first thing I had to overcome moving to Miami. I’ve been standing in that line way too many times with sweaty hands and absolutely nothing to hide. That’s how (through the great Agu De Marco from Wideo) I met Josh, my lawyer and current partner. Josh has been doing immigration for nearly 20 years. He is awesome, I not only had a great experience with him, but also came to understand the underlying issues with the current immigration system.
That’s how startupvisa.co came about. It is an immigration product aimed at solving a huge problem. We are using existing legislation to workaround the biggest hurdle for international entrepreneurs coming to the United States.
We acknowledge the need for an immigration reform but we are working with what is there already and know it is the most innovative and effective way around this. We are enabling qualifying founders to go from 0 to green card in as little as 3 months. One of those gaps that needed someone to mind about.
It’s extremely exciting to be working on this.
What about mentorship? – Mentorday.co
It should come as no surprise to most people that the vast majority of the world does not look like Silicon Valley, but most importantly -and contrary to many people’s belief,- it doesn’t need to. Trying to replicate the ‘Startup Mecca’ is pointless; what we can do is learn from it. Mentorship is one of those things that need to transcend the Valley, but as simple of a concept as it is, it is a rare practice worldwide.
And you might argue that it does happen. We at 500 Startups in Mexico used to bring many mentors and so does Wayra or NXTP, or even Endeavor has a great mentor network.
But how do we really level up the game for people outside those structures, or for people who are in places where those structures don’t even exist? Or even, how do we prepare people to meet the standard of those structures?
I wanted to do something about it, that’s why today I am launching to the new concept platform: MentorDay.co. A movement geared towards 1-on-1 mentorship sessions within the community, happening once a month, pairing mentors and mentees around very specific problem that needs solving. No seeking investment, sales or biz dev, just 100% honest help. After 45 minutes I expect mentees to have one less problem (or at least an action plan,) and mentors to feel great about contributing to their own ecosystems.
The first one will take place on April 15th in Miami. I’m hoping there’s enough interest, and looking forward to what we can learn from it. So far I’m impressed with the level of acceptance we’ve received, and it makes me very happy to be able to work on something like this. If this goes well, I certainly believe we can take this to a global level. Only time will tell.
Present, Future and Past
I’d like to finish this by tapping on a confession. I remember how I felt before leaving 500 and the pressure I felt about what had to come next. I felt that somehow there were big expectations on what I was supposed to do after the tremendous run we had with the most amazing team I’ve known.
I’ll tell you this – the pressure is now gone. I am the luckiest man on Earth. I realized that I no longer have the pressure of over 100 companies, 200+ founders, many investors and friends. Rather the contrary, I have as many allies for my next adventures, and I’m now learning from them even more than I did before. I am a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants.