Fintech Mentor Brings New Perspectives to Peruvian Founders
Chris Wehbe, CEO of Lendable, supported 7 Fintech Companies from UTEC Ventures' Acceleration Program, establishing a longer-term relationship with one of the founders.
Good mentoring is two-sided. Founders grow from experience-based knowledge given by mentors and mentors get to take a backseat ride to the daring and impactful work done by startups.
Fintech in Latin America is booming; the industry has seen an investment growth from USD 0.3B to 2B in the last six years. Considering this opportunity UTEC Ventures included fintech as one of the main verticals of their 9th acceleration program in late 2020. Seven fintech startups joined, offering innovative solutions for problems in the financial sector such as low financial literacy and limited access to loans for SMEs. Fintech expert and Swiss EP EIR, Chris Wehbe, joined the program as extra support.
“I run the leading provider of debt capital to fintechs in Africa and South-East Asia. We are currently focused on expansion into other geographies and acutely aware that each market brings its own needs and nuances. The Swiss EP EIR program provided the perfect path to gain both a practical perspective of the ecosystem and to develop relationships with entrepreneurs in the region.”
Chris’s background includes being a founding partner and portfolio manager of a multi-strategy hedge fund business. He played an instrumental role in growing the fund from inception to over USD 6B in assets and the team from a handful of employees to over 120 full-time staff. After this incredible success, he sold his stake in the company and turned his focus to the impact space, looking mostly at the financial sector in Europe, Asia, and Africa. His most recent role as Chairman and now CEO of the global fintech Lendable, allows him to mix his finance expertise and impact focus.
In November 2020, the startups met with Chris. They pitched their company, explaining the problem, solution, and business model. In the following four weeks, they participated in a “Fundraising Strategy” workshop and several group mentoring sessions.
The entrepreneurs found Chris’s perspective very valuable. They discussed two main aspects: the importance of deeply understanding the problem they plan to solve and of being concise in identifying their market in a way that makes sense both for their solution and potential investors.
After the program, Chris maintained contact with some of the entrepreneurs. He took a more active role with one of the companies, becoming a board member of AgenteBTC in early 2021.
“AgenteBTC found immediate product-market fit as an agent for individuals looking to access cryptocurrency. This has allowed the firm to achieve a steady revenue stream from early on and therefore to build out a solid backbone of infrastructure. I look forward to helping Victor and the team build out a broader payments and remittances solution around this platform. ”
“Having Chris as an advisor gives me confidence as we navigate our first round of funding, which is crucial for AgenteBTC. His experience and our mentor-like relationship have helped me shorten the learning curve of being a better founder.”
Victor Egoavil, founder @ AgenteBTC on having Chris on his Board
Victor and Chris will continue working together through the entrepreneurship journey which is full of twists and turns.
“The mentoring process is at least as valuable for the mentor as it is the mentee.” says Chris “Having the ability to learn about different business models, to see different approaches to solving a problem and building a network amongst the next generation of business leaders is a priceless experience.”
The give-back culture is embodied in mentors who understand the value exchange of mentorship. In this mutual opportunity for learning everyone leaves the better for it.