One day, during her academic journey at Harvard, our CEO and Founder Wenyi Cai had an epiphany; leveraging entrepreneurship in Latin America as a tool to encourage social and economic development and generate growth opportunities for the middle-class. The biggest challenge was to transform an underdeveloped market into a healthy entrepreneurial environment able to develop impactful solutions designed to improve the quality of life of the middle-class.
These questionings took her to develop the concept of venture builder, which imitates a functional entrepreneurial environment with the ultimate goal of discovering the most pressing needs of the segment and build companies that are able to provide scalable and impactful solutions to those needs. At the same time, she realized that Latin America showed an attractive mix of attributes for this type of model; a growing middle-class (50% in the last 10 years), high spending power, stagnant progress, an entrepreneurial landscape with great potential and great talent to lead and scale startups.
The sum of these factors led her to drop her MPA and MBA studies at Harvard and Stanford University in 2012 and relocate to Bogota, Colombia to launch Polymath Ventures, the first company builder in Latin America. Since then the company has built a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurs driven to generate an enormous impact on society through six ventures; Aflore, Táximo, AutoLab, VincuVentas, Elenas, and Nido (Check our ventures models below).
So, what do we do at Polymath Ventures? We create companies from scratch and go along with them through the whole journey, giving them advice, capital, talent, and safeguarding the maintenance of the culture of Polymath, so all our ventures turn around the same consonance.
Inside Polymath Ventures, we focus all of our processes in Human-Centered Design, experiments and iteration to find the perfect combination of factors and attributes to develop the different ventures in the market and keep supporting their growth and evolution. We meticulously measure the impact of our ideas dividing the process into the following steps:
- Design of the company: Our talented team of Business Designers uncovers large opportunities through months of intensive research, business thinking, and iteration, by going to the streets to find out what the needs are, connecting with people, running interviews through the different places where they feel that something’s missing.
- Recruit the founders: During the process of design, we start to assemble founding teams of the best regional talent to lead the launch and growth of the business. We always look for passionate people, committed with Polymath´s values, with a huge growth mindset and an entrepreneurial soul ready to put their hands on to lift their venture.
- Accelerate the business: We work full time alongside the founders in the first crucial year, utilizing lean processes to build the venture. For Polymath, it is essential not to abandon the ventures, but give them the resources and knowledge they need to achieve their goals. We have inside the company, a group with expertise in entrepreneurship that accompanies the ventures and assesses them in order to accelerate the metrics and succeed in a not too long term.
- Assemble the capital: We provide funding to design and launch the business and we support the venture in subsequent financing rounds. One of the most difficult parts of building a company from scratch is finding the capital to make it happen. For this reason, we have structured and launched TopCo, a “corporate entity” structure that provides capital to our ventures during their lifecycles, from Series Pre-Seed to Series C. This structure will play a very important role in what is coming for the company. You can find more information about this later in this blog post.
- Support the venture: We supply the venture with continued hands-on support in tech, finance, marketing, talent, fundraising, strategy & biz development. Our core is to develop technological solutions, not only to cover the people’s needs but to make it in an easier way that eases development and growth. Our proficient team will always be available to start new projects that add value to our ventures.
The secret sauce
Our company builder model relies on a robust structure powered by 3 strategic attributes: powerful teams, rigorous methodology and an agile core, that allows securing sustainable growth throughout time:
- The recruitment of unique and valuable talent, that come from different places around the globe, with international and fresh scope, so they can be able to identify those needs and find ways to discover solutions, inspired by their experiences, culture and will to make a change in the world by understanding the problems before arriving at the solutions.
- Our company design process, Seed, combines human-centered design (HCD) with other powerful businesses and lean methodologies to unlock market insights, develop concepts, test desirability with the segment and iterate biz models to find innovation.
- The core provides the backbone of venture building and delivers agile support throughout the venture’s lifecycle. Our group dynamic enables cross-collaboration, resource sharing and allocation at critical junctures.
How do we get financed?
Our investment model provides value to both entrepreneurs and investors. We support our entrepreneurs with capital during the ideation (Series Pre-Seed), launch (Series Seed) and growth (Series A-C) phases. To solve for the capital constraints in the region, we are able to lead follow-on funding rounds, allowing entrepreneurs to catalyze significant capital around Polymath’s commitments. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, this significantly de-risks their business and helps them to grow at a faster pace. For investors, we have built a “corporate entity” that provides upside potential but with risk reduction coming from both a diversified portfolio and the advantages of having a group structure in terms of knowledge and capabilities sharing, talent, data and resilience during hard times.