ANY STARTUP PROBLEM CAN BE FIXED BY SELLING MORE, INTERVIEW WITH FREDDY VEGA, CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF PLATZI (YC W 15)
How to raise a successful series A?
Very long answer to that question. The most important thing is to understand if you have a company that fits the Series A requirements. The main one being that you will at least attempt to grow to an IPO. If that’s true and you have a solid traction, growth rate, unit economics understanding and a huge dream supported by metrics, then create a process where you get intros to as many funds as you can talk to who are aligned to your industry.
How different is raising a series A from a series seed?
Very different. Seed rounds tend to be party rounds where you raise really fast thanks to convertible notes or SAFEs. A Series A requires a delicate process, like a corporate sales process. It also brings a lot of legal paperwork and more structure to your company. It tends to be the time you create a board and restructure the company’s bylaws.
Any recommendation for foreign founders raising in SV or in LatAm?
If your market is the US, the process is the same as any other company. If your market is in Latam, definitely check which funds are willing to invest internationally and if they have a track record. Most of the funds in SV will never invest with a company in a developing market and the ones who do have strict rules on the verticals they’re interested in.
How has YC helped Platzi?
YC has been key to Platzi’s growth and early success. There’s no other network of advice, mentorship and like-minded people like YC. They just get it. Specially for early stage. It’s like Silicon Valley’s user manual.
You are scaling across LatAm any challenges and opportunities?
Every country is different from a legal perspective. It’s the opposite to the European Union. It requires a lot of specialized legal and financial knowledge that we had to acquire the hard way,
Is SV opening up to Latam startups and founders?
Definitely. There’s a gold rush to invest first in fintech and then in many more diversified business models in a young, eager market.
Who are you disrupting as Platzi?
Only 12% of people in Latam have access to tertiary education. Platzi increases 2X to 10X our students income after 12 to 18 months. So, maybe we’re disrupting poverty?
Can you talk about how you created a market for quality education in LatAm? Has any of your students made a big splash based on the courses they took.
17% of our students create companies. 15 of those companies have raised more than $1M of venture capital. 6 have gone through YC. 72% of our students after 12 months are hired in the tech industry. I think we have a shot to power Latam’s economy transition towards tech.
How do you measure the success of your students and your company? Is getting a financing round a measure of success?
Financing isn’t success, it’s a promise and a debt to pay. We measure our success by our students outcomes.
What is your big dream as a founder?
That Latin America becomes a tech talent super power. It’s 100% possible.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while building your company?
Any problem at a startup, any problem at all, can be fixed by selling more. While in doubt, focus all your energy in selling more. I know it sounds obvious or not helpful but it’s surprising how many founders focus on useless “strategic” things instead of just doing the basic thing that makes everything better.
You are friends with a lot of amazing founders from SV and LatAm. Who inspires you the most and why?
I love the work that Sytse does at Gitlab, Patrick at Stripe, Tiffany at Remix, Anisa at Giveffect, Iba at Tara, Pamela at Beek, Simon at Rappi and Michael Seibel at YC.
How do you deal with disappointments as a founder? Did you have any disappointments so far?
Many and daily. I think founders need to understand that all the blame is on us and external empathy on our issues is a luxury. As long as you have a mission worth accomplishing, all of the pain becomes more bearable.