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Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig


Hello and welcome to Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig, where I interview entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the investors who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin America.

Nov 25, 2020

Javier García, Femsa: Collaborating with the most disruptive startups in Latin America, Ep 128

 

Javier García knew that there were at least 50 ways of doing corporate venture capital the wrong way, which is why he took a couple of years to figure out how to do it right with FEMSA. Today, Javier is the Director of Corporate Venturing and Growth Capital at FEMSA’s corporate venture capital fund. FEMSA is a publicly-traded conglomerate company that started out as a brewery and has produced popular brands like Dos Equis and Tecate. 

 

Founded in 1890, FEMSA has since branched out into other business verticals such as drugstores, gas stations, and restaurants, including OXXO, the  largest chain of small-format stores in Mexico.

 

I sat down with Javier to talk about his transition from consulting to working at FEMSA and getting involved with Latin America’s venture capital ecosystem. We discuss innovation in corporations and Javier shares tips on how to collaborate with startups and large corporations.

Getting a slice of the innovation pie

According to Javier, FEMSA’s venture capital arm started as a mission to collaborate with the most disruptive external sources of innovation. He started to learn about the different ways to approach this collaboration by investigating and conducting over 30 interviews with people involved in the corporate venture capital world. Choosing the right way was another challenge.

 

Learn more about how Javier built an operational design for FEMSA to collaborate with the best startups on their business platform in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Engaging with the ecosystem from a perspective of learning

 

After studying mechanical engineering at university, Javier considered working in the aerospace industry as one of his potential paths. However, his first experience working for a consulting firm made him realize he liked problem-solving and that he wanted to be in a space where he would be closer to the execution of solutions and be continuously faced with learning opportunities. He explains that he found the ideal formula working with FEMSA and learning about Latam’s venture capital ecosystem.

 

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about how Javier got involved in Latam’s venture capital ecosystem. 

A misalignment of incentives

 

Collaborating with a corporate venture capital fund can be very different from working with a traditional VC. Javier explains that there tends to be a misalignment of expectations between big corporations and entrepreneurs with regard to what actually happens at the startup. He sees this confusion during startup pitches where the entrepreneur prioritizes an investment over the actual collaboration.

 

Find out more about Javier’s recommendations for working with big corporations in this episode of the Crossing Borders podcast.

 

Javier García is making amazing collaborations happen between startups and corporations through FEMSA’s venture capital arm. His thirst for knowledge and his passion for problem-solving and execution are key to positioning corporate venture capital funds as attractive business partners.

 

Outline of this episode:

  • [1:41] - About FEMSA
  • [7:30] - Mechanical engineering in Monterrey
  • [11:55] - FEMSA’s investment strategy
  • [23:52] - Recommendations for working with big companies
  • [29:38] - Lessons learned from collaborating with startups
  • [36:24] - Advice to Javier’s younger self
  • [38:16] - Books, blogs, & podcast recommendations
  • [42:11] - What’s next for Javier and FEMSA ventures?

 

Resources & people mentioned: