Izabel Gallera, Canary: Leveraging the power of connections to help early-stage Latin American startups, Ep 171

Izabel Gallera is a Partner at Canary, a venture capital firm born in Brazil that invests in early-stage Latin American startups. She describes Canary’s core business as leveraging its network to create connections and help founders fundraise for their startups. 

Izabel is from Brazil, and as an engineer, only discovered the startup world after graduating and entering the job market. Working at Endeavor, she met the Canary partners which would pull her into the VC world. 

In this episode, Izabel shares Canary’s thesis and explains why the firm chooses to work with very early-stage startups. She also describes how the startup ecosystem evolved since Canary’s beginnings and talks about why founders shouldn’t underestimate the power of connections.

Betting on  early-stage startup founders 

Canary does not focus on business models or industry sectors because they aim to get involved early with startups and accompany them through their journey. The firm wants to be the first institutional investor of startups that can disrupt markets and whose founders want to build massive businesses. 

Listen to this episode to know why Canary invests in startups that are just starting to get off the ground to help them achieve great impact. 

The importance of connections in the VC world

Izabel explains that Canary helps founders raise funds and connects them to networks of experienced people where they can exchange value. The advice she would give to her younger self is to reinforce her network, which is also her advice to founders of early-stage startups. 

In this episode, Izabel explains why it is important to find the right fund at the right stage. For example, Canary is a top fund for early-stage ventures because its specialty is to leverage connections and relationships. 

The evolution of the startup ecosystem in Latin America

Canary got into the VC game in Latin America before Latam startups took off: since then there was a wave of tech talent, while the market size was huge in countries like Brazil, and capital was flowing in from other continents. 

Izabel has witnessed the ecosystem’s evolution and helped support some of Latin America’s top companies. Izabel shares that the number of startups they interview per month in Canary rose from 30 when they started to 500 or more now. Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to understand how Izabel thinks about Latin America’s startup ecosystem.

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:20] – About Canary
  • [03:20] – Early-stage startup thesis
  • [07:01] – Izabel’s background
  • [09:21] – Evolution of the startup ecosystem
  • [13:48] – Expanding to other countries in LatAm
  • [16:04] – Lessons learned as an investor and advice for founders
  • [20:27] – Why did Canary choose to invest in early-stage startups?
  • [24:17] – Advice to founders that want to partner with Canary
  • [25:51] – Biggest leverage points for founders and lessons learned helping entrepreneurs on their journey. 
  • [27:57] – Advice to younger self
  • [29:20] – Podcast recommendations

People & Resources mentioned: 

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