28 November 2013
Gonzalo del Río, entrepreneur and alum of IE Business School’s International MBA, shares with us his experience of the launch de KITE Invest, a platform designed to serve private and public institutions and business organizations which seek to attract foreign investment to leverage their growth potential.
You studied finance, and then you worked for several years in an investment firm. Why did you decide to do our International MBA?
The thing is that although I was working in an investment firm, I have always been really interested in international relations, especially in economies where there are business opportunities with plenty of development potential. I knew that rounding off my management education with an MBA would be key if I wanted to understand how a company works, from both a global and practical perspective. Moreover I had the opportunity to include in my MBA a 5-month stay at Fudan University of Shanghai, thanks to the exchange program that IE had with them.
Why did you decide to make a career shift to become an entrepreneur?
After completing my MBA, I started to work in a multinational which carried out socio- economic communication campaigns in countries around the world. I had the opportunity to travel to over 35 countries in the four years I was working for the company. The first two years, I led projects in the countries I was assigned to, and the following two years I worked as a manager, supervising sales strategy and coordinating objectives with the CEO of the company. This opportunity made me aware of the need in a large number of countries to attract foreign investment for the sectors that made up their economies. Hence I have built a network of contacts in different countries to whom I present business plans with proven added value, aimed at fostering economic growth in their markets.
What is Kite Invest?
Kite Invest is a platform which serves as a channel for all public and private institutions in countries with growth potential, and which want to strengthen their business units by receiving foreign capital flows. This is made possible by the agreements that KITE Invest has with specific prestigious international financial and banking entities. Kite has strategic alliances with investment promotion agencies, international economic organizations, investment banks, chambers of commerce, and institutional investors. Our core business is based on understanding the needs of our clients in the markets in which we operate, and offering them customized services through the three units that make up our organization - KITE Communications, KITE Partners & KITE Networking.
Kite Invest is already up and running in the US. What other countries will you be moving into over the next few months?
We have just set up our New York office where our team works to maintain relations with the financial entities with whom we are signing collaboration agreements. We are also operating in Madrid, and in a few months we will be opening a third office in London. Right now we are carrying out market surveys to identify the first countries where we will be centering our activities. Although we have not taken a definitive decision yet, it is highly probable that we will be focusing on countries in Latin America and Africa.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about launching a start-up?
I think you need to bring a mixture of excitement, positive attitude, and hard work to a start-up. You have to surround yourself with a good team and then go for it, because in the end it’s a case of no risk no gain.