The construction industry is known for being slow to adopt new technologies. However, Gonzalo Galindo seeks to break that barrier and bring innovation to an industry that is commonly considered to be monolithic and outdated.
Currently, Gonzalo is the Head of Cemex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Cemex, a Mexican company and a global leader in the building materials industry. Through this initiative, Gonzalo is helping Cemex prepare for the future by investing in startups that are developing disruptive technologies related to the construction industry.
I sat down with Gonzalo to talk about his transition from a more traditional business background to working in a disruptive industry like venture capital. He also gives advice to younger entrepreneurs on how to approach investment opportunities with corporations, and shares lessons he’s learned from working with startups. We also discuss Cemex Ventures’ vision and what Gonzalo thinks the future holds for the construction and heavy materials industry.
A change of pace
Before transitioning into Cemex’s venture capital arm, Gonzalo had over 15 years of experience working at Cemex in business development and operations. However, he admits that there was a certain level of naiveness at the beginning of Cemex Ventures. This approach in part helped him embrace the uncertainty in the venture capital world, which contrasted with the stability he was used to in the construction industry.
Learn more about Gonzalo’s journey into the venture capital world and the differences he encountered in this episode of Crossing Borders.
The meaning of a strategic investor
Gonzalo emphasizes the importance of taking the time to understand the strategy behind closing an investment with a corporation. He warns that the very nature of a startup compared to that of a corporate company makes connecting the two very difficult. Together, they can achieve tremendous growth, but it will require patience.
Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about Gonzalo’s advice on approaching corporations for investment opportunities.
Cemex Ventures’ vision
When the world was hit with the 2008 financial crisis, many construction companies went into survival mode or became very conservative according to Gonzalo. As the market started to recover, some of these companies started to invest in digital technologies in order to stay relevant. Cemex hopped on this tendency, realizing that they needed to create new digital capabilities in order to evolve, and Cemex Ventures was born.
Find out how Cemex Ventures thinks about investing in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Gonzalo Galindo and his team have become the innovation eyes of Cemex, always on the lookout for the latest tech trends in the construction industry. Cemex Ventures’ strategic efforts in the global startup ecosystem will be key to helping a traditional industry keep up with the digital transformation.
Outline of this episode:
- [1:32] – About Cemex Ventures
- [3:30] – Gonzalo’s tech trajectory
- [5:10] – From tradition to disruption
- [7:00] – Advice for working with corporations
- [9:45] – Lessons learned from working with startups
- [11:26] – Cemex Ventures vision
- [16:05] – The importance of investing
- [17:31] – Cemex Ventures investments
- [19:48] – On stages and check sizes
- [21:01] – Next trends in construction
- [23:11] – Advice to Gonzalo’s younger self
- [24:40] – What’s next for Cemex Ventures?
Resources & people mentioned: