Bayonet Wins Gold At MassChallange Mexico Awards
I traveled to Mexico City in late November 2016 to visit with one of my portfolio companies Bayonet and to network with other aspiring entrepreneurs from Latin America at the MassChallange Mexico Awards on Dec. 1, 2016. Bayonet was a finalist amongst 40+ companies that participated in the MassChallange Mexico startup accelerator that originated with more than 400+ applicants.
Upon arrival I was met with a warm welcome from Bayonet CEO Victor Rico and COO Jose Andres Chavez. I new the team had a solid week of meetings and strategic operational objectives planned but nothing could have prepared me for the excitement that would become legendary for myself, Bayonet and Roadster Capital.
Our first meeting was only two hours after I landed and I was under the impression that it was a simple mentoring event at an office space dedicated to hacking innovation. I quickly checked in to my hotel, changed shirts as fast as Clark Kent, threw on my Joe's jeans, hailed an UBER with the Bayonet Team and we were off. One hour later, rush hour traffic is crazy in this city, we entered a neighborhood with high walls and security cameras. It was a posh neck of the woods for Greater Mexico City's 21.2 million person population. The driver stopped in front of a walled gate with brass crowns on either side and we exited the vehicle. As the gates opened we were met by security guards who looked for our names on a list of no more than 30 people. We were then walked up the driveway past a large white grouping of decorative artistic letters that spelled Great Britain.
Where are we was the general question amongst everyone in our group. Well, as it turns out we were at the home of the British Ambassador to Mexico, Duncan Taylor @duncanjrtaylor and his wife Beatrice (Bebe). Victor had his meeting invitations mixed up and had no idea we would be going to the Ambassador's home LMAO. To put things in perspective you should know that a few months prior to joining MassChallange the Bayonet team was awarded the opportunity to incubate their company with Labora.io, an incubator that is a collaborative initiative amongst the National Digital Strategy Office of the President of Mexico, The Open Data Network, and The British Embassy of Mexico. As a part of the Labora program one member from each company was sent to England for a larger networking event. The event we attended was in recognition of the select group of companies that participated in the Labora.io program and to promote innovation as part of the GREAT Britain Campaign. In short it was a memorable evening full of exciting conversations. I look forward to heading back to town and catching a Rolling Stones Concert with the Ambassador and his wife.
As the week progressed we worked long hours and networked like pros. Mexico City is a well connected town. Without fail we would come across someone that was familiar with Bayonet. At lunch one afternoon we came across an Investment Associate and an Investment Analyst from Dalus Capital who I strongly encouraged to keep a close eye on the progress of Bayonet and to consider a future investment. On another day while meeting with American Express Mexico we came across people that the team had worked with in the past who were also having meetings at the same time as us. Our meetings went well and I am optimistic that Bayonet will have the opportunity to provided a value added service to AMEX in 2017.
On the last day of my visit I met with a wide variety of people who like myself are amped with excitement as it relates to innovation in Mexico and Latin America. Amongst those I had the opportunity to speak with were John Harthorne, Founder & CEO of MassChallange, Charles Adler, Co-Founder of KickStarter, Melina Cruz who Co-founded a company called JelpMi, The entire team from Bitso (Mexico's leading Bitcoin exchange), The excitable team from Gaszen (IoT), Rene Lomeli from 500 Start-Ups, Diego Serebrisky Managing Partner at Dalus Capital and many others.
The awards ceremony was wonderful and attended by 530+ people who all believe in the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. Our portfolio company Bayonet took home the Gold Prize and was in good company. The other Gold Prize winner was Bitso and the Diamond Award was given to Gaszen and Hola Gus.