If there’s a key to success in entrepreneurship, it could be peer-to-peer networks. Alex Robbio learned this firsthand.
With his brother, Federico, and father, Luis, Alex co-founded Belatrix Software, a company that provides digital solutions and IT outsourcing services from Latin America mostly to clients in the U.S.
Together they bootstrapped from zero to over 700 employees, with delivery centers in and operations in five different countries - including Spain, Peru, and Colombia, as well as sales offices in Silicon Valley, New York, and Florida.
In 2019, with the help of 7MA, the trio sold the company to Globant. In January 2021, Alex realized that entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily ideal employees, so he left and has since been working closely with Endeavor, which seeks to uplift handpicked entrepreneurs through investment and peer networks — a community Alex credits with helping Belatrix reach its potential.
At first, Alex wasn’t interested in Endeavor’s services, but his father was. After Alex attended one of their selection events — only 2%-3% of those who start the process to work with Endeavor get selected — he was sold.
“It was an incredible environment, and so I came back from that and told my brother and father, ‘we have to do it, no matter what it takes, how much effort it takes, let’s do it,’” Alex says.
Now, on the other side of Endeavor, Alex is a mentor to others. He says peer-to-peer mentorship can really enter the playing field in an impactful way.
“Endeavor itself maybe doesn’t have a practice or a solution, but the people within the network are resources that entrepreneurs can tap into and learn best practices and so on,” he says.
On this episode of Deal Talk with 7MA, learn more about entrepreneurship and opportunities in LATAM, as well as how peer networks can benefit entrepreneurs globally.
Name: Alex Robbio
What he does: As an Endeavor Entrepreneur and Mentor, Alex mentors fellow entrepreneurs about industry best practices. Additionally, Alex is a Venture Partner at MatterScale Ventures, a fund that invests in early stage “Latin startups with a global mindset.”
Words of wisdom: “The plan is: pay it forward. So it’s select, support, scale up, maybe exit if not growing, get successful, get profitable. Invest in your peers, help your peers, mentor them, be an inspiration, go and talk to young people, talk about your experience, inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Top takeaways from this episode
★ Personal relationships help foster business relationships. Working remotely forces creativity … especially when it comes to fostering business relationships. Traveling for work — or having potential clients visit you — can lead to out-of-office experiences, such as visiting wineries or restaurants, that build relationships on a personal level first. Alex looks at such experiences and relationships as an advantage in the sector.
★ Peer-to-peer success lies not in the taking, but giving back as well. There’s value in taking advice from mentors and peers, that leads to being successful. But that’s only one part of the plan — the other, says Alex, is to give back by sharing your expertise and wisdom to motivate those who are just entering the business space.
★ Political and economic challenges in LATAM breed innovation. Entrepreneurs in Latin America face a number of daily challenges that impact the business environment — from inflation to unfavorable legislation. But weathering the ups and downs can make the entrepreneurs who operate and scale under these conditions almost bulletproof.
[4:40] Launching an IT services company: Alex studied psychology but always worked in the Software space and became a developer. Because of his connections in the IT sector, he knew there was untapped potential in Latin America.
[6:41] Growing a remote Latin American IT company: Alex describes how Belatrix convinced American clients to visit offices in Argentina, wowing them first with the location and then the IT services and team.
[8:51] Exploring Endeavor: Alex explains how he became involved with the entrepreneurship organization, as well as its origins and processes.
[14:30] VC fund: Alex describes the company’s unique VC fund, Endeavor Catalyst.
[16:28] Mentorship can have a big impact: From Paragon to Globant, Alex shares examples of success from Endeavor’s mentorship. He says that Globant now has a market cap of over $10 billion and 14,000 employees.
[20:26] The peer-to-peer networking solution: Through organizations like Endeavor, entrepreneurs obtain access to a large network of peers to help work through obstacles, find solutions, and more. Alex says once Belatrix joined, answers to questions with real-life examples were readily available through the peer network.
[22:25] Challenges in LATAM: Alex explores some of the difficulties entrepreneurs in Latin America are facing, such as inflation and the government passing legislation over weekends. But the challenges might make Latin American entrepreneurs even stronger, says Alex.
[25:31] Opportunity in Latin America: Alex explains why he thinks there is a fear of missing out in the Latin American market. Traditional banks have been very profitable in Argentina, he says, so it was only a matter of time until more of the financial ecosystem took its chances and found opportunities.
[27:44] Don’t forget the importance of values: Alex highlights the importance of finding employees whose values align with the organization. On the Endeavor selection panel, its entrepreneurs are vetting other entrepreneurs, and that panel wants to keep the sector financially and ethically clean and filled with members who reflect similar values.
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Deal Talk with 7MA, a bi-weekly podcast by 7 Mile Advisors that aims to give listeners a look behind the curtain of the middle-market Mergers & Acquisitions world. 7 Mile Advisors is a middle-market M&A firm based out of Charlotte, NC, that provides investment banking services and advice on mergers, acquisitions, and private capital transactions around the globe.