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Startup Grind Peru Told to "Think Big" at Year End Meeting

Startup Grind Peru members met for their Christmas celebration in Lima on December 20. The standing room only meeting at COFIDE was a growing showcase of the interest and growth of the startup ecosystem in Peru.

Members enjoyed hearing the keynote from Paul Ahlstrom, founder of Alta Ventures, the Alta Innovation Institute and Alta Experiental Learning (AltaXL), the newest entrepreneurship events corporation in Lima.

Ahlstrom announced the launch of AltaXL as a way that entrpreneurs can learn through practical, hands-on steps. At the meeting, Ahlstrom said “The best entrepreneurs learn by doing. With AltaXL, they will be given the opportunity to meet their peers in meetups like StartupGrind, use tools to move their ideas forward, participate in contests such as the IBMC and attend educational conferences like our upcoming venture capital and fintech conferences.”

The announcement of the AltaXL launch included a bonus for attendees: free access for 24 hours to the Alta Startup Suite of products:

  • The Big Idea Canvas

  • Nail It Then Scale It book in English or Spanish

  • The Big Idea Online Course

  • 6 month free trial of Mural.ly, an online white board design thinking tool

Ahlstrom stressed the idea about thinking big. He described his early years running small businesses until a mentor pointed out that he could spend the same amount of time solving bigger problems. That led him to start his own software company, subsequent venture funds that have invested into over 125 companies, the develoment of new entrepreneur markets and a suite of tools for entrepreneurs.

Ahlstrom joked that if you didn’t want to use the free tools, then he had three ways to ensure your failure:

  1. Launch your business without a defined customer – using Homer Simpson as an example

  2. Compete head-to-head with an established market leader without being 10x better

  3. Scale prematurely – hire and spend before you have your business model locked down

In the Q&A session, one question summarized the experience for attendees: “What are the most important problems we can solve in Peru?” Ahlstrom gave the example of David and Golaith and noted that countries who are smaller in size can have a competitive advantage because of their size, not in spite of it. He asked the group if they could help cure cancer or other diseases by aggregating patient data into a single medical record – something that hasn’t yet been done anywhere in the world. Or if they could limit corruption and alleviate poverty using new fintech tools. He said that entrepreneurs should be going after big problems that will not only help Peruvians, but all people in Latin America or the world.

“Think big, test locally but execute globally,” said Ahlstrom.

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