E12: Building Diversity Into the VC Ecosystem with Bobby Amiri

How do you connect with people beyond talking about business? One of the ways you can do that is to understand their culture or learn their language, and take an interest in some of the things that they're interested in."

- Bobby Amiri

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, I speak with Bobby Amiri, a Silicon Valley native whose advice and investment have accelerated more than 156 startups. Join me as we learn from this emerging market-focused entrepreneur and investor with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry.

Bobby co-founded the Pioneer Accelerator with Google Developers Launchpad while with Global Silicon Valley Labs (GSV), one of the largest innovation hubs in Silicon Valley. He is the co-founder and Head of Business Development for iLab Collective, an innovation agency and Venture Studio serving corporations in the US, SE Asia, and Latin America. Bobby is also an investor and Limited Partner at Balero Ventures, a Guadalajara, Mexico-based VC.

Tune in to hear about Bobby’s work to support the startup ecosystem, specifically with FinTech, Education Technology, and Logistics clients. Learn how FinTech can offer necessary support to unbanked and underbanked countries, and get introduced to StreetCode Academy.

We also dive into the power of authenticity and talk about understanding culture as a tool to connect with people beyond business. Bobby also shares his thoughts on why being understood is more important than perfect execution when learning a new language.

I truly enjoyed my conversation with Bobby and invite you to hear from this inspiring player in the startup and tech space today!

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [05:24] How Bobby works with all the key players to support the startup ecosystem
  • [07:30] Why FinTech is especially hot in countries like Mexico and Brazil 
  • [08:17] How FinTech can support unbanked and underbanked countries
  • [09:37] Bobby’ involvement with StreetCode Academy and why he loves it
  • [10:16] How changing people’s mindset in underserved communities is a tool for success
  • [11:30] How the accelerator program started and what it aims to do
  • [13:13] The pre-accelerator ideation workshop
  • [16:01] The process of finding funding as an entrepreneur without generational wealth
  • [20:24] The importance of solutions coming from within the community that needs them
  • [24:27] Why it is essential to be yourself to be authentic
  • [25:12] Which languages Bobby is fluent in: English, Spanish, and Portuguese
  • [29:36] How music helped Bobby to learn Portuguese and his tips for learning languages
  • [30:59] Understanding culture as a tool to better connect with people in business
  • [33:44] Why it’s more important to be understood than speak a new language perfectly
  • [34:45] How accelerators, community, authenticity, and going with the flow are key points
  • [35:27] Bobby’s additional key point: keep in touch early and often
 

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