Featured founder: Michael Puscar, pioneering VC in South America
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Photo of Michael Puscar. Photo Credit: Courtesy

Before launching a venture capital firm in Colombia, he founded and sold his 100+ person company, Yuxi Pacific, to a private equity firm. Here, he shares advice for budding entrepreneurs

Michael Puscar is the founder and President of GITP Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Colombia with sights on innovation all over South America. Before launching GITP, he founded and sold his 100+ person company, Yuxi Pacific, to a private equity firm.

In an interview we conducted with him recently, he shared insights on his biggest mistakes, greatest mentors, and advice for any one starting out as an entrepreneur.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received and why?

“Hire well and put your employees in a position to succeed. When bootstrapping a business, your first few hires are key to your success. Know the strengths of your employees and ensure that they are serving a role in your enterprise that plays to those strengths. Keep the environment exciting and fun, and when the time comes, reward those who were a part of your success.”

Who do you look up to?

“My heroes are all of the foreign-born immigrants to the United States who started enterprises and became American success stories. From dry cleaners to supermarkets to high tech entrepreneurs like Jerry Yang (Taiwan), Sergey Brin (Russia), Elon Musk (South Africa) and Peter Thiel (Germany), my heroes are those who arrived on foreign soil with very little and made the country a better place.”

What’s the biggest mistake you made, and how can others learn from this?

“The fastest way to innovate is to collaborate with other entrepreneurs who share enthusiasm for your project. Too often in my career I have felt that with enough time, energy and investment I could will a business concept to success alone. Failed ventures are not necessarily mistakes, but mistakes can result in failed ventures, and one key mistake is trying to do it alone.

“My advice to entrepreneurs is to pitch everyone you know on your business concept. Listen and embrace the criticism that they present. And share the load – bootstrapping a business is hard work and will burn you out quickly without a partner, or partners, to help you drive it to success.”

What do you when you start the day and why?

“Though it may seem cliché, I wake up every day excited for what lies ahead. I keep an active list of priority items and calendar events and use the first 10 minutes of the business day to analyze the discrete list of goals that needs to be accomplished. Items that fall outside of that sphere do not get my attention for the day.”

What’s your best advice in regards to cash-flow for people just starting out?

“Providing stock option incentives to your most critical employees is paramount to the success of your enterprise. Stock options can be used as a lever both to reduce salaries when cash is difficult and to provide the cornerstones of your company with a feeling of ownership in the enterprise’s successful outcome.”

What’s one piece of advice you recommend all startups begin doing?

“Understand your client. Create a client profile. To whom are you selling your product? Who is your ideal and most profitable client? In understanding your market and ideal clients, you can focus on what makes your company successful. Fire bad clients and tailor your business model to what generates the most capital for your company.”

How do you define success?

“Success is independence. A successful company is able to sustain a healthy profit without debts, growing organically quarter over quarter. A successful person is financially independent and free to pursue the dreams that inspire them to be a better person. Life is too short to build someone else’s dream. Successful people, and their successful enterprises, fulfill the dreams of entrepreneurs and offer them independence to turn their own concepts into reality.”

The views expressed are of the author.

Geektime invites global tech and startup professionals to share their opinions and expertise with our readers. If you would like to share your point of view, please contact us at [email protected]

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Conrad Egusa

About Conrad Egusa

Conrad Egusa is a Global Mentor at 500 Startups and is the CEO of Publicize. Earlier he was a writer at VentureBeat and founded an angel-backed startup in Silicon Valley.

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