Over a decade ago, Brian Requarth bought a one-way ticket to Colombia and never looked back. Since then, he’s become a seasoned entrepreneur and investor, having founded, scaled, merged, and exited VivaReal, a leading proptech startup in Brazil.
Well acquainted with the challenges that are unique to Latin America, Brian is now focusing on helping early-stage founders build the next generation of world-class tech companies through his newest project, Latitud.
In his second time around on the podcast, I sat down with Brian to talk about the growing pains of merging operations with Grupo Zap and why acquiring is one of the most underutilized strategies of large tech companies in the region. We also discuss how the ecosystem has evolved since 2009 and what inspired him to write his book Viva the Entrepreneur: Founding, Scaling and Raising Venture Capital in Latin America.
Merging with a competitor
Brian explains that the VivaReal merger was particularly complicated because the DNAs of the companies were very different. While VivaReal was a relatively small company, Grupo Zap was much larger – so much so that telenovelas would organically mention them in their shows. This difference in size resulted in unbalanced power dynamics between the companies which became an obstacle for swift decision making.
Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about Brian’s major takeaways from merging with Grupo Zap.
Viva the Entrepreneur
Inspired by how The Hard Thing About Hard Things made him feel at a low point in his life, Brian decided to write a book of his own. He had been named Entrepreneur of the Year in Brazil and had just raised money, but was really struggling as a founder. Ben Horowitz’s book provided him with the comfort he needed in what is often a lonely journey as an entrepreneur. Through Viva the Entrepreneur, Brian hopes to pass on his lessons learned and help other entrepreneurs in Latin America get through the tough times.
Learn more about Brian’s new book and his journey as an entrepreneur in Latin America in this episode of Crossing Borders.
The Breakfast Club
Brian knows how important it is to build a community when starting a company. Being able to connect with like-minded people over breakfast when building VivaReal was his way of creating his own community in Latin America when the ecosystem was still nascent. This experience inspired Brian to give back to the ecosystem through Latitud, where he is helping entrepreneurs build the next leading tech companies in the region.
Find out how Brian is empowering the next generation of Latin American entrepreneurs in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Brian’s mission is to help cultivate a healthy ecosystem for Latin American tech startups, where talented entrepreneurs can thrive and build value through iconic companies. Through Latitud, Brian aims to make mentorships and investment opportunities more accessible in Latin America’s ecosystem.
Outline of this episode:
- [1:40] – About Brian
- [3:58] – From merge to exit
- [7:45] – Merging with a competitor
- [12:11] – Advice for companies looking to buy instead of build
- [14:58] – How the ecosystem has evolved since 2009
- [17:00] – Brian’s latest book
- [21:22] – Angel investing in Latam with Latitud
- [27:00] – Do’s and don’ts of investing in tech
- [34:00] – Where do you see the market going?
- [36:43] – Advice to Brian’s younger self
- [39:25] – Next steps for Brian
Resources & people mentioned:
- Brian Requarth
- Book: Viva the Entrepreneur: Founding, Scaling and Raising Venture Capital in Latin America
- Ep 15 Brian Requarth, Building THE Online Portal for Real Estate in Brazil
- Grupo Zap
- OLX Brasil
- Gina Gotthilf
- Yuri Danilchenko
- Kaszek Ventures
- Marcos Galperin
- Mercado Libre
- Gabriel Braga
- David Velez
- Thomaz Srougi
- Dr. Consulta
- Daniel Hatkoff