Rodrigo Sanchez Rios’ childhood dream was to be like Bruce Wayne. He grew up in Tijuana, Mexico surrounded by great role models in his family who instilled in him a strong sense of ambition and hunger for knowledge. After obtaining an engineering degree at MIT, working on Wall Street, and completing a Master’s in business at Stanford, Rodrigo decided his next step was to become an entrepreneur.
A trip to Colombia with his Stanford classmates Tomas and Jeronimo Uribe opened his eyes to the amazing business opportunities the Colombian market has to offer. Together, they founded Jaguar Capital, a real estate development and investment fund that currently has $350M in assets under management. As Rodrigo learned more about Colombia’s challenging real estate industry, he realized that there was an opportunity to disrupt the market and decided to start La Haus, a proptech that is helping Latin Americans find their ideal home.
I sat down with Rodrigo to learn more about his decision to go into finance and his experience working at Lehman Brothers until right before the firm declared bankruptcy in 2008. We also talk about Colombia’s broken real estate industry, how he first bootstrapped La Haus with Jaguar Capital before raising outside funding, and the importance of mentorship and role models.
From boom to bust
When Rodrigo landed a banking internship on Wall Street in 2006, he recalls feeling like a kid in a candy store. However –as we all know– that financial boom turned into a bust two years later. Rodrigo had left Lehman Brothers right before the crash when his colleagues saw their world collapse before them. That experience taught Rodrigo valuable life lessons about risk.
Learn more about Rodrigo’s experience being in the “eye of the hurricane” during the 2008 financial crisis in this episode of Crossing Borders.
“In Colombia, selling and purchasing a house can take up to 14 months”
It was through Jaguar Capital that Rodrigo and his co-founders were able to identify the market opportunity that would lay the foundation for launching La Haus. Three factors had aligned that made the timing for a solution like La Haus’ perfect. For instance, real estate developers in Colombia were making decisions based on instinct in terms of what and when to develop, presenting an enormous opportunity to optimize that process.
Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about the two other factors that make La Haus such a timely solution for the Latin American market.
Finding true believers of La Haus’ solution
Rodrigo explains that when you find someone who already believes in the market opportunity, the pressure to obtain the sponsorship lies in convincing the person that you are the right vessel for that vision. For La Haus, that true believer was Pete Flint, founder of Trulia and current managing partner at NFX. With Pete’s backing, La Haus was able to make the jump from Medellin to Bogota and eventually attract the attention of Kaszek Ventures.
Dive deeper into La Haus’ zero-to-one story in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Rodrigo is revolutionizing the real estate industry in Latin America, leveraging technology and data to help Latin Americans purchase their dream homes. La Haus’ success has already been replicated in Mexico City and Bogotá.
Outline of this episode:
- [2:47] – About La Haus
- [3:21] – Growing up in Tijuana, Mexico
- [4:07] – Studying in the US
- [6:43] – From computer nerd to finance
- [8:51] – Leaving Lehman Brothers
- [10:45] – Choosing Stanford over Harvard
- [12:30] – A life-changing trip to Colombia
- [15:00] – Building blocks for La Haus
- [16:37] – Latin America’s broken real estate industry
- [20:35] – From idea to solution
- [23:29] – Raising money in Colombia
- [25:57] – Bootstrapping La Haus
- [28:23] – Advice to Rodrigo’s younger self
- [30:29] – Books, blogs, & podcast recommendations
Resources & people mentioned: