Last August 4th, at the Globant office located in the city of Cordoba, the third edition of Foro Argentino de Capital Emprendedor was held, the Newtopia team was there, along with more than 20 pacesetters of the Latin American industry and important stakeholders of the venture ecosystem.
The event was organized by Agencia Cordoba Innovar y Emprender along with the Asociación Argentina de Capital Privado, Emprendedor y Semilla (ARCAP) and for more than 4 hours there were talks, exhibits and discussion panels.
The speakers were able to generate spaces with a strong outlook to the future, highlighted the importance of the investment capital and contributed with useful tools for the development of the venture industry at a local, Regional and Global level. The whole event was recorded in the official YouTube channel of the organizers for any interested party to watch.
At the end of the day a panel took place denominated “Team Investments” led by Mariano Mayer, Newtopia VC General Partner and Co-founder, moderated by the journalist Martina Rua, newscaster and columnist of the media outlet La Nacion. The main protagonists were Julian Montoya, athlete of the British rugby team Leicester Tigers and current captain of the Argentinian rugby team Los Pumas, Santiago “Rete” Gonzalez Iglesias and Joaquin Tuculet, both former players of Los Pumas, entrepreneurs, and Newtopia LPs.
Mariano presented the panel, commemorating Newtopia’s first year and presenting briefly and generally what it is all about: “Newtopia is a very early stage fund that, looks to invest in entrepreneurs of Latin America that want to change the reality by combining talent and technology, to support with funding, but specially with mentoring in the starting stages of exploration and experimentation”. Also highlighted the community put together by Newtopia: “We have a community of investors and advisors that is very powerful that, for different reasons, wants to collaborate, reach out to entrepreneurs and help them, conveying their experience and what they have gone through”.
Mayer also spent some minutes explaining how the evolution of Newtopia took place during its first year, bringing up the main accomplishments achieved: “We started on August 2nd last year and have already invested in 52 projects of 10 Latin American countries, with a community of entrepreneurs composed of almost 100 founders”.
For a little bit over an hour, Mariano and Martina spoke to the main protagonists of the panel, diving into different matters, to demonstrate the parallelism and the similarities among common and daily experiences of investors, entrepreneurs and Elite athletes, like Julian, Joaquin and Santiago, in leadership, teamwork and decision-making.
What was it that hooked you into the entrepreneurial world?
-Santiago “Rete” Gonzalez Iglesias: “After being a professional, a lot of free time came about to spend in other things and to see what is it that I would like to do in the future. I believe that the entrepreneurial world is fascinating and with “Tucu” (Joaquin Tuculet) we started getting into it little by little, with some talks or forums. And that’s how we found out about Newtopia, where we started out of curiosity and later, obviously, we got hooked”.
-Joaquin Tuculet: “When I started to discover the entrepreneurial world, I found a great deal of similarities between athletes and entrepreneurs, such as teamwork and during those first moments, where the athlete has to make decisions about taking a normal path or taking on risks, trying out and trying to fulfill a dream or an objective. I believe that that connects us with the entrepreneur”. Also, highlighted the importance of the community: “We have gone through failures and success, but always in a group, in a team”.
“Those were some of the small things that brought me close to the entrepreneurial world, we met newtopia and decided to be part of a community of entrepreneurs”, concluded.
-Julian Montoya: “What am I going to do tomorrow, is something that spins around my head quite a bit. I discovered Newtopia through a friend who is an entrepreneur and out of curiosity I started to dive into it a little bit more”. Stated that “What caught my attention the most, is being able to learn and contribute whatever I can out of my experience in sports to help others, I also seek to learn and become better because tomorrow sports will also come to an end, and I want to look for something that I’m passionate about”.
A specific matter that brings us together or that brings high performance athletes close to entrepreneurs, is everything related to leadership. What was your experience like with the leadership within a team? How are the roles respected and carried out?
-Santiago “Rete” Gonzalez Iglesias: “In the entrepreneurial world as well as in a team competing at a high performance level, is necessary to have a noticeable and well defined leadership. The great teams that we have put together was with great leaders, all of them leaving their egos aside, with lots of humbleness and trying to explore the best out of everyone. That has to be keen in the entrepreneurial world, being able to put together a team and trying to make the best out of all and that the competition is outside, not inside”.
-Joaquien Tuculet: “For us at the start of the year, we set objectives, had a mission and clear goals, which organized us quite a bit for what was coming in terms of competition”. I also highlight the importance of the role that each one has to respect within a team and the horizontal leadership: “the leadership of having everybody be a part, most definitely allows that each one ends up performing much better and delivering more to the team”.
-Julian Montoya: “What’s fundamental in terms of leadership and the team, is to set egos aside. I believe that everyone in a team has a common objective, a goal, and each one plays a fundamental role for that to happen. If a culture where people want to be is generated and we all fight for the same, makes us want to give our best for the team to the well”. In terms of his experience as current captain of Los Pumas, he added: “I try to be exactly the same as I was when I started, when I had greater people above me, and where I learned quite a bit from them and I tried to delegate and trust a lot the people besides me”.
Stress is in the mind, also known as burnout, affects many athletes and is also very latent in the world of entrepreneurs. How is this experienced by high performance athletes?
-Santiago “Rete” Gonzalez Iglesias: “There’s a lot of stress in high performance and the main support that we find, is within the group, in the team. We feel the same things and we can talk about what’s going on with us, about how to overcome the situations of stress and pressure. We know each other by heart and I believe that we can help each other quite a bit and that always happens, talking and realizing that we were all going through the same”.
-Joaquin Tuculet: “Every athlete gets nervous in certain situations, has fears and it’s normal. We go through a great deal of stressful situations, but the thing is being able to enjoy what we do, having a good time and chasing a dream. For moments we had to make great sacrifices, we didn’t do well or we suffered, but what matters is that the team is always united. We had each other’s back, tried to change if we weren’t doing well and, if we needed to double the effort, we doubled it”.
-Julian Montoya: “I am a very demanding person with myself and, personally in 2018, that level of demand did not allow me to enjoy what I was doing and I did not realize how privileged I was doing what I loved. I started seeing a sports psychologist and started working and setting forth goals that I could reach. When I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own and I started to trust another person, I got quite empowered, I started playing better, enjoying more and being aware of where I was”.
Mariano took advantage of a moment when Julian’s connection was interrupted, to reflect about the last letter that Jeff Bezos sent his shareholders, in which, the founder of Amazon, defines the tolerable errors, that “are part of innovation”, the errors that are not tolerable “because have been practiced thousands and thousands of times”.
And highlighted that “sometimes during training and entrepreneurs themselves, have done the same thing over and over again, preparing to be able to make decisions on the spot, but having already practiced and in a way, that is also being prepared for fortune. Given this introduction, invited Rete to tell his experience in a decisive match against South Africa.
Santiago «Rete» Gonzalez Iglesias
Santiago “Rete” Gonzalez Iglesias, told an anecdote about the South Africa match, the first one that Argentina was able to beat them. “I was on the bench and I was the third kicker of the team, we had Nicolas Sanchez and Juani Hernandez as starters. Game time, both took a hit and could not continue, at that moment I had to go in and play and 3 minutes till the end of the game, kick a penalty when we were down by two points”, started the story and added: “I scored and we won by an inch”.
Reminiscing his experience, “Rete” analyzed how was it to play a secondary role during some time in his career: “ I started my career playing a secondary role, even the former Los Pumas coach called me “the spare tire”, that at times covered certain positions, but was not the main card and had beasts above me”.
And spoke about a great learning that those times provided: “The starter has more likelihood and a whole match to shine, can make a mistake and solver it, on the other hand, when you have to go in for a little bit or be a “spare tire” it is few the opportunities to shine and these need to be leveraged at their fullest, concentration has to be at its max and the role needs to be known to perfection”.
At Newtopia, we always highlight our community as a value and a fundamental basis, that’s why we’re convinced that these spaces are key to share experiences with other highlighted members of the ecosystem, acquire new tools, drive the entrepreneurial world and generate an even greater expansion with local, regional and global impact.
Foro Argentino de Capital Emprendedor & Newtopia