Yesterday, at the Buenos Aires Convention Center, an oasis was opened. For nine hours, 4,000 people with an average age of less than 25 years met, summoned by their hunger to create and transform. The protagonists were young people with ideas, dreams, ambition and daring. At the event, organized by Endeavor, there were talks with the CEOs of Argentine unicorns, investors, entrepreneurs and influencers. None of them was the star of the day. They were the ones – eager to follow their own path of progress – who dared to ask, approach the “consecrated”, make a pitch express to some capitalist, ask for emails and telephones.
After each speech, the speakers encountered crowds and queues of young people waiting for them at the foot of the stage stairs. Most of them raised a query or asked for a minute of attention for Pierpaolo Barbieri, founder of Ualá; Patricio Jutard, from MURAL; Santiago Sosa, CEO of TiendaNube, Guillermo Rauch, from Vercel; Borja Martel Seward, co-founder of Lemon, Daniel Rabinovich, COO of Mercado Libre, or Santiago Maratea, among others, will give their opinions on their projects.
The day to day news in Argentina hides radically different realities. On the day, an air of hope was breathed, innovation was embodied in the first person, in different stages of development, in different projects and undertakings. The first to speak was Borja Martel Seward. At just 25 years old, he is in charge of Lemon, a fintech focused on its virtual wallet, which gives users 2% of cash-back in bitcoins on purchases made with your card. He recounted how his experience climbing Kilimanjaro awakened dozens of teachings in him to persevere in an innovative idea that, in his case, has already cultivated 1,000,000 users.
“Let’s keep the energy for the toughest moments. If we can go for an easy one, let’s make life easy. At some point, the only possible path is going to be the hard one. On Kilimanjaro you have to go slower”, he transmitted to the public. The room was packed with listeners sitting, standing, or positioned on the floor in active listening positions.
All the speakers They conveyed the same idea: if you don’t try, failure is guaranteed. This somewhat hackneyed concept might bore some but did nothing but motivate others. Two young women, Martina Tridulci (20) and Fiorella Taraborelli (19), university students with whom he spoke THE NATION, They said: “Here we came up with an idea. We don’t want to tell you about it because I don’t want it to be copied, but it has to do with football and NFT.”
Martel Seward was followed Daniel Rabinovich44 years old and current COO of Free market. His speech was focused on product development. “Sometimes you don’t have to listen to what the customer wants. You have to watch it.” For him, the fundamental thing is to create capacities as pillars on which any new idea can stand. “There is a temptation to solve problems quickly with solutions that are useless for the future. The immediate reward is stronger,” he commented. He assures that the best path is always to generate solutions that last over time.
Throughout the day, amid chatter on the main stage, dozens of hotspots were generated throughout the Convention Center, fueled by mentorship sessions, investor meetings and workshops. Some of the discussions revolved around how to be an “investable” entrepreneur (Newtopia), how to define an e-commerce strategy (Nubimetrics), and how to grow without external capital (Flexibility).
At 2:30 p.m. one of the most anticipated panels of the day arrived. Its title sums it all up: “Land of Unicorns”. In a series of micro-interviews conducted by matthew salvattofrom Asteroid Technologies, the audience heard from the founders of three of the 11 Argentine companies valued at US$1 billion. They are the beacon of every entrepreneur, although all speakers they made a point of not starting a project simply because they wanted to turn it into a large company. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” Rabinovich said in his speech.
The first to be interviewed was Patrick Jutardco-founder of Mural, the platform that seeks to replicate the experience of a meeting room, but in the digital world. “All the funds in the world are looking at Latin America. She is full of talent.” This was a recurring theme throughout the event: the comparative advantage that Argentines have for growing up in adversity and having to permanently overcome obstacles and difficulties. Resilience, some call it. Jutard is a partner in Newtopia, a firm of venture capital which focuses on early rounds (pre-seed and seedas they are called).
Not all the young people present brought with them a definite idea. Some just ambition. “I realize that I have to do something. This gave me a broader vision of where I have to go”, admits Franco Murina, a 20-year-old digital business student. Francisco Seidman, of the same age, feels the same. They both see a horizon but not yet the road. “I like to think I have no limits,” he said.
Next on stage was William RauchCEO of vercel, a company that focuses on simplifying the development of websites and applications and has a valuation of US$2.5 billion. “Country lines do not exist in the cloud. If you made a good product, it reaches everyone. For Argentina it is an enormous benefit. The playing field was leveled”, he pointed out as another of the opportunities that arise in the country for entrepreneurs.
By last, Santiago Sosaco-founder of storecloud, recalled that the first and only job in his entire life was in the company. He founded it and grew up in it. However, he believes that the best thing for an entrepreneur is to have previous work experience before starting to build their own company. “The most important thing is the purpose. For us, it is to give our users tools to be successful. The impact is something that fills us a lot. When you add up the averages, that’s 400,000 jobs leveraged on our technology,” he said.
This reality, of expansion and creation of value against all odds, will be reflected in the book “Hackear la Argentina”, by Carolina Amoroso and Juan Meiriño. During the event, the authors presented it and said that it contains interviews with the main entrepreneurs in the country.
The purpose, a why behind the idea, is a hugely important factor, particularly for younger entrepreneurs. Some put it in terms of a problem. You have to fall in love with the knot that the business seeks to solve, they say. The talk focused on this topic. Luz Borchardtco-founder of Henry, a platform for the study of data science and development full stack. Students are financed until they get a job. “Only 14% of the Latin American population has access to higher education. We have eight of the 10 most unequal countries in the world. I want to contribute my grain of sand”, she said, as one of the reasons that push her to build her company day by day.
Pierpaolo Barbierifounder of wala, pointed to the problems faced by entrepreneurs: “It is not easy to feel optimistic in a place where we have not grown in the last 10 years. Argentina is today much less rich per capita than 100 years ago”. However, he sees it as an opportunity. The country is fertile ground for the development of new businesses. Believe in the proliferation of proposals. “Competition elevates us,” he often says.
the influencer Santiago Marathea closed the event. He is working on founding an NGO that will change the prevailing view of helping others. “Why does the charitable always have to be poor?” she questions. He wants his foundation to be “bigger than Google”, driven by communities behind it, who have deposited their trust and money in him through multiple donation campaigns.