There is always light.

Only if we are brave enough to see it.

There is always light.

Only if we are brave enough to be it.

@TheAmandaGorman


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Sun Setting Over a Lake, J. M. W. Turner, 1840

To be honest, I wanted to skip this post. This year took the joy off this recurrent somewhat superfluous reflection. Maybe it is for the better.

Facing a world with unbearable inequalities, can I really talk about the acceleration of technology adoption in Latin America?

When access to a digital world makes people unhappy or unemployed or oppressed, should I discuss the trends in early-stage startup valuations?

When the most celebrated entrepreneur can only dream of escaping our planet rather than saving it from technology, may I discuss my boldest fintech prediction?

When leadership can produce a vaccine in months but cannot convince us to distribute it more equitably around the world, can I cheerfully count the region’s unicorns minted in 2020? …


A first date playbook for founders

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Interior of a Restaurant, 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

Originally published on Antonico

I sucked at dating.

Here’s how it went almost every time. After a strong opening full of storytelling and chivalry at a carefully chosen venue, I stumbled sooner or later. Like a clock. I inevitably turned off my new friend with an awfully arrogant comment, a distasteful joke punctuated by a loud laugh or an intense monologue that delved too deeply too early.

If by any chance I went through the first encounter without a screw-up, I was so surprised that I froze, unable to make the next move. I made other bad choices too. My exceptionally handsome cousin was my wingman of choice. …


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The Bus, 1929 by Frida Kahlo

I could hardly see the screen. The vapor coming from my light blue face mask inundated my transparent glasses. Tears clung stubbornly to my eyes.

The empty sanitized cafeteria had been retooled to limit human social interaction. I typed my code to access my portable digital life on a laptop that had forgotten my face months ago. What can I do to take my head of an excruciating five-hour wait? To start, I needed to force myself to concentrate on the simplest task I could think of. Tweet something, I quickly decided.

I got into the Whastapp web app, found the Canva link I’ve been using to make Clubhouse graphics, and opened Google. …


“Customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great.” — Jeff Bezos.


Ways to invest venture capital

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Le Prêteur et sa femme, Quentin Metsys, 1514

With time, you have probably become skeptical about the value-added promised by venture capitalists. You know, the whole how-can-I-be-helpful jabberwocky. It’s not surprising. Not because investors do not genuinely help, their value is just overblown, oversold, and over-promised.

Once in the bank, cash is indeed hard to differentiate. To stand out and get access to your companies, investors add the promise of future work to their checks. So, we promise. We tell you the stories.

And some added value is just that, stories. If you look at the investors crammed in a unicorn’s cap table, it’s impossible to believe that every institutional stockholder made a significant contribution to the founder’s journey. …


Black lives matter

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Emy, Glacier Grey, Patagonia

It’s impossible to be the voice that brings new light to the urgent conversation about racism around the world. However, my brilliant friend, Emy, sent her allies an email to help us do our part. With her blessing, I am reproducing a note that touched me deeply.

If you want to learn more about Emy before you continue, I wrote about her last year: One-way ticket, what matters most to Emy

I really think we needed this disruption. A global kick in the arse. We can do better as a collective unit once we see ourselves as a unit with different beautiful parts. …


About the players and the game of raising venture capital

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Les joueurs de cartes — Theodor Rombouts

Nadie quiere invertir en Cornershop, weon — lamented its founder, Oskar, almost as a premonition before every successful closing. A version of these words popped up on my phone screen a few times in the past 5 years, as predictable as the beginning of a new season. Of course, I disagreed passionately every time, even with rejections piling up. I was trying to convince myself more than him. He wasn’t wrong. Everybody investing in the region consistently turned down one of the best Latin American tech companies of its generation.

Those working in tech long enough understand that VC money is not deployed efficiently. After all, our VC business relies more on finding a few outliers than consistently purchasing the right asset at the right price. And for entrepreneurs, this is puzzling. Investors don’t always back the best product, the top execution, or the right team. Indeed, money moves in herds, lives in fear of missing out, and trepidation of screwing up. …


Ad astra per aspera

*through hardships to the stars

About

Federico Antoni

I’m a father, investor @all_vp, lecturer @StanfordBiz & marketer. I write sometimes.

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