A decade supporting and investing in Latin American entrepreneurs with Nathan Lustig, Managing Partner at Magma Partners, Ep 32


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A witness to Latin America’s startup ecosystem transformation

In this episode of How to be the Difference, Johanna and Paul sit down with Nathan Lustig, Managing Partner at Magma Partners. Founded in 2014, Magma is an early-stage venture capital fund based in Latin America, the USA, and China.

Originally from Wisconsin, USA, Nathan started his entrepreneurial journey by buying a startup while studying Political Science. He purchased ExchangeHut, a local tickets and textbooks trading site, and transformed it into a national business with over 125,000 users. In 2008, he co-founded Entrustet, a company that allows people to get their digital assets transferred or deleted when they die.

Nathan then moved to Chile and participated in the Startup Chile pilot program. In 2012, he began teaching a class at a Chilean university titled “How To Build a Startup”. At this moment, he started giving students advice and support on creating their businesses. 

The path led him to create Magma Partners in 2014, and to this date, the VC firm has invested in over 110 startups from Latin America. Since 2014, the startup ecosystem in Latin America changed dramatically, and Nathan witnessed all of it. 

In conversation with Johanna and Paul, Nathan explains what Magma looks for in startups. He also shares what he thinks are the trends that companies and professionals should hop on to be aligned with the future of work: remote work, flexibility, asynchronous work, and more. Nathan also gives his insights into why tech companies are currently going through serious trouble. 

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Outline of this episode:

  • [03:10] – Introduction to the guest
  • [04:40] – Nathan’s background
  • [05:43] – How and why did Nathan create a VC fund in Latin America
  • [07:40] – What changed in Latin America since Magma’s first investment?
  • [10:15] – What Magma looks for in startups
  • [12:10] – Skills Magma looks for in a startup’s team
  • [15:16] – Nathan’s opinion on the future of work
  • [19:58] – How to attract and retain talent
  • [23:54] – What should professionals focus on to be part of the future of work?
  • [26:33] – The importance of learning within frameworks
  • [28:30] – How is repricing affecting Latin American startups
  • [30:26] – Why did startup investments go crazy?
  • [37:20] – Why should startups focus on creating content? 
  • [40:53] – What is next for Magma Partners

Resources and people mentioned:

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