107: Laura González-Estéfani (TheVentureCity)

Laura González-Estéfani on Innovation City

“There are a lot of people that try to build things, so that at the end they find the problem. But, it should be the other way around … it’s “we have this problem, how are we going to fix it?”” — Laura González-Estéfani

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Laura González-Estéfani, Founder & CEO of TheVentureCity. TheVentureCity is a new venture and acceleration model that helps diverse founders achieve global impact. Laura joins the team to discuss the momentum of innovation hubs around the world, the importance of working with diverse founders of diverse companies, what makes a good founder and business, her recurring reasons why she would not invest in a company, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Working in tech for over 20 years
  • The ups and downs of her entrepreneurial journey
  • The momentum of innovation hubs around the world
  • What is TheVentureCity?
    • Invests in companies
    • Accelerator program
  • Having investments with companies all over the world
  • Miami is unique in that it can mix Hispanic and American culture so well
  • Miami is a city built by entrepreneurs and immigrants
  • Having an office in Miami is strategic because they have people traveling from the west coast and Europe to them all the time
  • Investing in companies like Cabify, one of the most popular Latin American rideshare companies
  • TheVentureCity is made up of 33 people from 17 different nationalities with over 50% of leadership positions being filled by women
  • Her term “Iguanacorns”
    • Founders who have built amazing businesses that are making an impact
    • Typically a part of the Hispanic world
    • Hustlers who build empires using a third the resources that many other companies get
  • What makes a good idea?
    • She doesn’t believe in ideas, instead, she believes in execution
    • She invests in companies that have traction and infrastructure
  • What makes a good founder?
    • Being a good person, being willing to listen, being willing to share, & having a clear vision/focus to meet your numbers
    • Doing your homework before launching the business
  • What makes a good business?
    • Is the founder trying to create a problem or are they trying to solve a problem?
    • Thorough research and piloting to ensure there is a legitimate market-fit
  • A great founder does not always make a great business
  • The 2 types of founders:
    • Type 1: well educated with amazing ideas, but not able to problem solve and do the nitty-gritty work
    • Type 2: amazing ideas and understands what the market needs, but doesn’t have the education and/or resources
  • The most successful tech companies are the ones who understand their customer the best
  • Hosting workshops to help educate small businesses on embracing change, data, engineering, etc
  • TheVenutreCity is always looking for new businesses to invest in
  • Avoiding empty no’s
    • It’s important to explain why and provide feedback for the future
  • Her recurring reasons why she is not going to invest:
    • Not enough traction with no product-market-fit
    • The team is tiered too early with the wrong people
    • The founder is not being authentic and just telling them what they “want to hear”
    • The business is changing lives and is unique
  • Reach out to TheVentureCity on their website or on social media @TheVentureCity