After leading several businesses through to successful exits Gastón Irigoyen has already raised $60M for a new company, in less than two years.
During his appearance on the Dealmakers Show Irigoyen talked about the process of selling your business, startup fundraising, business ideas, and how his new venture is building the infrastructure to enable others to expand and scale their businesses.
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Gastón Irigoyen started out in life like many super successful entrepreneurs. Meaning a lot of travel and experiencing exploring and living in new places often.
After being born in Argentina, his father who was in the pharma industry led them to Switzerland, Peru, and more.
After graduating with a degree in International Relations, he initially applied at the go-to type companies in the consulting and CPG space. None of those panned out.
It was Google, which had just recently been through their IPO that saw the value of his experiences. They liked his international background, travel, and pastimes like skiing.
They made him one of their first employees in Latin America, launching him into a career in technology.
After three years of building 17 Spanish speaking markets, Google moved him to Dublin, Ireland to work on YouTube. Specifically, working to monetize YouTube by going out to make the first YouTubers rich and famous. Which triggered the idea for his first business.
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Selling Your Company
Gastón and his cofounder saw that the world was headed toward going mobile. Even before Google Play launched they began working on it.
Their mobile app quickly hit the top five on the App Store. They sold that app, and kept going with their first startup Guidecentral. A kind of mobile only blend of Pinterest and YouTube, that focused on helping tier two content creators. They worked as a rev share model, using product placements to generate revenues.
It was a tough time to raise money, especially from Europe, and in much earlier days of the venture capital ecosystem. After raising around $2M, they saw the ceiling of the business coming, and ended up selling the company.
Although they ultimately secured an exit, it took four rounds of going through the acquisition process before they completed the deal.
After a several week trip to Silicon Valley, and a follow up meeting with one CEO, he was invited to fly back from Dublin to New York again. He anticipated they would be hashing out the final terms of the deal. On arrival he was told they wouldn’t be moving forward due to a shake up in that company’s executive leadership.
Their second process was with a publicly listed company out of LA. Gastón says that he flew out, he worked through the night on his slides and presentation. Before their morning meeting the acquiring company saw their own stock tank 30% on poor data they had released. It was the end of that deal.
A third process was cut short when the acquirer couldn’t communicate well with their CTO.
They got lucky on the fourth round.
Gastón says that his biggest takeaway from that trial was not to get distracted by trying to optimize your company for a specific buyer. You never know if the deal is going to complete. Instead, he recommends focusing on your own business. Build the best business you can. The right buyer will come along.
Next he went on to help two other companies grow and work through their own exits. One he had joined as CMO ended up selling to Tripadvisor. The other hired him as CEO. For which he ended up building a neobank in Latin America. Over the next two years he built that up with licensing, a team of more than 300 people, and merged it with another company.
Building The Next Generation Of Financial Infrastructure In Latin America
Pomelo is Gastón Irigoyen’s latest startup.
Pomelo is a Latin American technology company that develops financial services infrastructure. Founded in 2021, Pomelo generates card and banking solutions that enable any company to launch, scale and accelerate financial services thanks to its modern and innovative technology, in an agile and simple way.
Alongside Gastón, Hernán Corral and Juan Fantoni, three renowned fintech executives in Latin America, founded Pomelo.
After launching less than two years ago, they’ve already raised $60M in funding. Armed with just a pitch deck, and even before writing a single line of code they raised a $10M seed round. Within five months they raised a Series A with $ 35M round. Then, just months later added another Series A extension, with $15M .
Storytelling is everything which is something that Gaston was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
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Their first step into the space has been cards. Of which they’ve already helped issue one billion of all across Latin America.
Listen in to he full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- The process of selling your startup
- The vision of Pomelo
- Gaston’s top advice when starting a business