El Padrino

His Linkedin bio says “Economista”. That is a major understatement and seems much too theoretical for Gonzalo Villarán Córdova.

Over ten years ago, before most of us knew what a startup was or that they could one day exist in Peru, Gonzalo got to work. He became startup evangelist, or padrino, for the local ecosystem. Since then, he has methodically helped build an ecosystem, piece by piece, with leadership roles in both the private and public sectors.

Gonzalo started Peru Capital Network, the first angel investor network in Peru.  He was then Gerente de Negocios at Wayra Peru for two years where he invested in many great startups including, Culqi, Joinnus, and Crehana.

Gonzalo was the first Director of UTEC Ventures during its launch phase and hired Andres Benavides, who led the Peru Ventures Capital Conference and manages Ruta Startup. Gonzalo is also a Director of the investor group The Board.

Most recently, Gonzalo worked at Ministerio de la Producción, first as Director General de Innovación, Tecnologia, Digitalización y Formalización and then as Executive Director of Instituto Tecnólogico de la Producción. In these roles, he worked with the StartUp Peru program, which has provided a foundational support for the entire ecosystem. During that time he was also team champion for MIT REAP https://reap.mit.edu, a global consulting program.

The list of the people that have worked for Gonzalo, or the founders he has supported, encompasses almost the entire startup community. Maybe the title “economista” is apt after all, given that backing high tech entrepreneurs is a proven way to achieve economic growth.

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