I cut my teeth in the investment banking world in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, without initially knowing much of anything about finance at all.
At that time, I had no idea that it would lead me into a world of personal investment, entrepreneurship and trading. I’m very fortunate to have found something that I love and happen to be good at. Sometimes you just have to feel your way forward to find out what makes sense.
Similarly, it was the real estate market that initially compelled me to visit Colombia last year. As with so many things in life, what we set out thinking is not what we land up doing.
I’m a believer in the rise of (some) emerging markets, in particular those with sound (read young) demographics, increasing economic freedoms, and relatively low asset prices.
Colombia seemed to make sense in this regard. But, like a shapely girl, coated in makeup in a gloomy bar, it required a bit of light to be shone to see what and where the opportunities really lie.
Real estate – not particularly cheap – had, and still has, a significant Achilles heel: the currency, which I soon determined was at risk of falling significantly against the dollar. We’ve since seen a 20% decline, which incidentally would have wiped out a decent amount of equity value in a real estate purchase, and I don’t believe we’re finished yet.
All that aside, what I’ve not spoken much to you about is the massive opportunity that DOES exist, not only for investors but also for entrepreneurs.
Today’s podcast deals with this opportunity. I talk with Erik Stettler, director and co-founder of SocialAtom and Atom House, a startup incubator in Medellin, Colombia, and co-founder of Firstrock Capital.