9 places founders go for tech talent in Lima

Lima tech talent was a key issue mentioned in the Techstars Lima Startup Community Assessment, which recommended that we “greatly expand the entrepreneur funnel” by holding informal events, formal workshops and broadening the media coverage of the startup community.

Here is a list of places founders are looking for tech talent:
  1. GetOnBoard: Fernando Langschwager of Aprendiendo.la used GetOnBoard to find a CTO and two other people on his team. BlazingDB and AmigoCloud, two startups based outside of Lima, have also looked to find candidates in Lima on this platform.
  2. PagePersonnel: Ximena Caballero entered Page Group to lead a talent acquisition role for startups. She has helped Culqi look for experts in database administration, Java developers, and frontend developers. PagePersonnel also helps startups with other functions outside of technology. Ximena helped find a head of finance for Karaoke Smart. Here is a link to the PagePersonnel corporate presentation.
  3. Social Media: There are many groups on social media for developers, often divided by functional expertise and programming language.
  4. Accelerator programs: A great way to mix with other teams, compare notes on talent and build a team is at an accelerator programs. Especially programs like UTEC Ventures or EmprendeUP that are part of universities
  5. Teach: Teaching is a great way to share ideas and identify talented students that may want to work for you as interns or full-time professionals. Jaime Chiarella, a founder at Riqra, teaches at Kurios, a startup founded by Carlos Lau.
  6. Tech Founders: Tech-savvy founders like Ragi Burham, Eddie Wong, Rodrigo López are great at identifying talent. Reaching out to people like them to ask for ideas and vet potential candidates can help point you in the right direction.
  7. CTOs: Good CTOs know how to identify and cultivate talent. Julio Canares of Riqra, recently held a CTO Meetup event to share best practices and foster a community among his peers.
  8. Arequipa: There are great universities in Arequipa. Get on a plane and go see for yourself! Kenny Lazo is a great resource there who is part of a local group of tech-savvy people in the city
  9. Co-working, co-living spaces: Comunal and WeWork are top co-working destinations in Lima. Tap into these coworking communities to find people. Tekton Labs, led by Kenneth Lopez, and Endeavor Entrepreneur, works out of WeWork and has an entire team of top tech talent. Selina, a destination for digital nomads, is coming to Lima and will add an extra boost to our ecosystem. Pretty exciting!

Founders who have success finding talent try more than one of the above channels to build their teams. I hope the above list is a good start to broaden your search and find the right people. How to hire and retain them is a subject for another post!

It’s not Capital, it’s Culture

One of the more thought-provoking findings of the Techstars Lima Startup Community Assessment is that culture is something we need to work on more than capital. This may be surprising to founders who have tried to raise money in Lima (it’s hard), but it highlights that a larger, more grassroots effort, is necessary for our startup community to really take off. Continue reading “It’s not Capital, it’s Culture”

Tax 101 for startups in Peru

Tax implications are low on the list of investment criteria for angel and seed stage investors in Peru (as they should be). However, as the probability of a successful exit increases, tax considerations come to the forefront. Venture capital investors will seek to optimize returns and avoid startups that have inefficient tax structures. Continue reading “Tax 101 for startups in Peru”

3 key moments to examine your cap table

A cap table is the list of owners (equity holders) and how their ownership percentage is distributed. In high-growth startups, proper distribution of equity is key for keeping founders and investors aligned over time. Here are some points to consider: Accelerator programs often take equity in startups Startups typically share 10%-20% of equity in each … Continue reading “3 key moments to examine your cap table”

A cap table is the list of owners (equity holders) and how their ownership percentage is distributed. In high-growth startups, proper distribution of equity is key for keeping founders and investors aligned over time.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Accelerator programs often take equity in startups
  • Startups typically share 10%-20% of equity in each financing round
  • Founding teams in Latin America often seek to reach a Series A round with at least 50% of the company

Below is a graph of how a cap table can change over time.  

Cap tables are re-organized at financing rounds so these are the moments to make sure you are set up for optimization.

Three key moments to review your cap table:

1. Founding: This is the most important part of the cap table and founders are benefited from having tough conversations up front. It often seems fair to divide ownership equally between three or four people, but it may not be optimal for the startup. The more founders a startup has, the less equity each individual will have and equal amounts spread across many people can make decision-making slower. I believe one or two founders should have significant share of the equity of a startup.

Founder vesting is a tool that can help align and incentivize founders as well as avoid “dead equity” left by members of the team who decide to leave, but retain equity stakes. Many future investors will require this term.

2. Angel, Acceleration, Seed Rounds: According to PECAP the median seed round in Peru is for 15% of the startup. Often, this 15% is split among more than one accelerator program or angel investor, leaving a cap table atomized without one investor or investor group having a significant share of the startup. This can make it hard for investors to dedicate time to add value and improve corporate governance. Founders want pick accelerator programs and investors that can add the most value by helping the startup achieve operating milestones and raise the Series A round.

3. Series A: Preparing for Series A can put a startup in a position to succeed long term. Series A investors will be keen to make sure that a founding team has enough incentives following the round – a good goal is 50% of the company going into the round. Investors should be aware that Series A investors may require a 10% Employee Stock Option Pool (ESOP) and ask that it is included in the pre-money valuation.

  • Ragi Burhum of AmigoCloud recommends that founders should up an employee pool much earlier that prior to a Series A round
  •  Facundo Turconi of Solven, pointed out to me that for single founder startup it may make sense to consider a larger ESOP, of perhaps 15%. 

Takeaway and Cap Table Example:

Founders and investors should seek to maintain a cap table that leaves enough incentives for founders and flexibility to add the right investors at the right time. You can find a template example for a cap table in Excel here.

Techstars – Recommendations for Lima’s startup community

Chris Heivly of Techstars recently conducted an assessment of the Lima Startup Community. This is an excellent resource – an objective and highly credible measure of where we stand and how we can do a better job of building our startup community. Continue reading “Techstars – Recommendations for Lima’s startup community”