Arturo Vélez got his start in advertising, co-founded Grupo Naranya, and is now the Discovery Manager of Naranya LABS. This week, we got in contact with Vélez for an interview prior to his PulsoConf presentation to talk about his work and what accelerators are looking for in the projects they select.
More than a job, Vélez considers his work a continuous process in which he has to remain on the forefront of new technologies, business models and trends:
I’m responsible for identifying and attracting investment opportunities for Naranya LABS. I seek out people with good ideas, outstanding techniques and talented teams. I approach entrepreneurs to get to know their projects, their status and what they need.
His position is also related to public relations in universities, co-working spaces, networking events (like Hackers&Founders) and contests (such as Startup Weekend). He helps to develop the ecosystem through community ties. “What I enjoy most in all of this is the opportunity I get to meet people and coach teams who allow it, thus contributing to the development of new and up-and-coming big companies,” he explained.
Startups in the Spotlight
Naranya LABS is a Monterrey-based accelerator in which mentors and the Naranya team itself help entrepreneurs to reach their maximum potential. We asked Vélez what types of startups pique their interest:
We seek those that are made up of great teams of people. We look for small teams with balanced profiles that cover essential competencies in business, product development and design. We want partners who are 100% dedicated to their projects and to staying focused.
Regarding the business itself, Vélez explained that he’s attracted to projects “with technological profiles, internet-based business models, leaning towards services and mobile applications.” He added, “The best is when they’re automated systems that can scale rapidly and make an impact on a big market.”
Another important issue is knowing where the biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs are. Vélez’s viewpoint is one shared by many:
The opportunity is clearly in mobile technology.
We’re just coming into the third generation of computational platforms, which now use as support mobile devices and the cloud.
“The arrival of these platforms generates waves of innovation that are translated into great business opportunities,” Vélez elaborated. “With the arrival of mobile devices, entry barriers are reduced, and it’s possible to reach a highly ample market that is willing to try new solutions that break the traditional models for doing business, in turn generating value. More specifically, these are applications oriented towards commerce and mobile payments and those that generate high amounts of traffic for analysis.”
Vélez concluded with advice for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital:
You’ve got to earn the confidence of the investor by demonstrating security and credibility. This may be demonstrated through a capable team that generates and executes ideas – nothing can stop them. You also have to know the ins and outs of everything related to your project.
Outwards, it’s important to prove that you know your market, know what the competition is doing and what makes you different. You also have to know what’s on the inside, dominating your business metrics, identifying where you’re hurting. It’s essential to have focus and a clear vision for the businesses, demonstrating where you want to go and how.
Catch Arturo Vélez at PulsoConf, where he’ll give a chat entitled Scrum for Entrepreneurs.