How to Build a Stellar Startup Team in Bogota from SF
You built a stellar team of engineers and business leaders for VOIQ in Bogota, can you help guide X, CEO of one of our portfolio companies, who is looking to do the same?”
I have been getting this question a lot from investors of ours, so here it is....
VOIQ has a great office in the 30 square block radius where most of the tech companies are based in Bogota (yes, including Google and Uber). In our office we have a team of 14 leaders; engineering and business.
Our successful model is comprised of two elements:
1. We developed a stellar team by hiring great talent with high collaboration EQ.
2. We then hired top experts from the US in specific domains to lay the foundations of VOIQ and work with our team for 12 months to prepare them for the next 5 years.
One word: LinkedIN.
Most people think you need to have incredible local knowledge on the tech scene in Bogota. You don’t. You just need a LinkedIn recruiter account for Colombia. This applies to recruiting engineers and business teams. Like in the US; engineers you poach, bilingual business members, you recruit.
Everything is carried out by Video Conference. We use Zoom. In our team we count on the support of our internal HR manager, which is incredibly helpful.
Every member of VOIQ is an equity holder. Offering stock options is always a best practice. However, you will have to explain what that entails because it is not practiced by local companies.
You need to hire a very bright bilingual Ops person who will be an extension of you in the ground. He/She will be able to manage the local law firm and accounting firm (sometimes you can find a firm that does both) who will take care of all the back-office related stuff like forming the entity in Bogota, the bank account and all the HR related contracts and documents.
How do you hire your Ops person? Linkedin & Zoom.
Our office is located on 97st. Location: Basically anything between 82st & 110st is ideal. Your Ops person will know the best area. Cost: Beautiful Modern Office for 15 team members $7M pesos ($2,500K/month)
Safety Most cities have good and bad areas. The north of the city is pretty safe. You obviously still have to act prudently and responsibly.
Visiting and Transportation
AirBnB/Hotel and Uber. Uber makes it really easy and very safe to navigate the city. Uber black is 3 times cheaper than UberX in the US.
It obviously helps to speak Spanish to navigate the city. But for example, at VOIQ, we conduct all our business in English. And I don’t really navigate the city much. I take an Uber from Airbnb to office to Airbnb and to restaurants or hot spots when taking the team out.
Most tourist greatly enjoy the experience of Bogota. They enjoy even more the other warm climate cities: Cartagena, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla.
Junior engineer $3M pesos ($1K/month) Senior Engineer $6-$9M pesos ($2,500/month) Highly Specialized Engineer $9M and up Great Bilingual Ops person $4-$6M ($2K/month)
This is an ongoing blog. Feel free to shoot me more questions to add answers here.