Helping founders find Product-Market Fit faster with Andres Barreto Managing Director at Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan

Mar 28, 2022

Andres Barreto is Managing Director of Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan. Previously Andres served as Managing Director of Techstars Boulder, and prior to Techstars, Andres invested as a first-check investor through his own investment firm Socialatom Group, co-founded Grooveshark, Onswipe (Techstars New York 2011), and non-profit 

01. What are you looking for in startups for the Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan program?

I am looking for founders that want to grow their companies faster at any stage and in any vertical.

The founders we select will be the founders that:

  1. Have a deep understanding of their customer's pain, and

  2. Have demonstrated a spectacular ability at executing incredibly fast

Having a deep understanding of customers' pain and an extraordinary ability to execute quickly are the criteria that weigh the heaviest when we evaluate the quality of a team. Founders obsessed with their customers' pain are more likely to succeed at finding it and solving it.

In terms of geography, I am looking for companies whose primary market is anywhere in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina and everything in between, independent of where founders may live.

Miami has the geographic advantage, network, and track record as a hub to serve the U.S. and LATAM; our program leverages that edge to help entrepreneurs scale their companies.

When it comes to the stage of a company, we have supported startups as late as having millions of dollars in yearly revenue, closed millions of funding, or as early as validating the problem with no product in the market.

Techstars will accelerate entrepreneurs’ progress no matter their starting point.

02. What can founders expect from the program once selected?

In Techstars Miami, we focus on getting founders to product-market-fit faster, and we custom tailor the program to entrepreneurs’ most immediate obstacles to that end.

The three most common areas where we have helped founders are:

  • Running an efficient fundraising process to close funding rounds in less time

  • Coaching founders on sourcing and closing top engineering talent across the Americas

  • Helping founders tackle growth problems to reach or expand product-market fit

Any time founders spend with mentors and program staff will be to help them accomplish two years worth of work in three months. We bias towards timely advice over timeless workshops.

We will be in person in Miami for the first and final weeks of the program. We have designed the middle part of the program for an optimal remote experience so that founders can choose to work wherever it is best for themselves and their business.

03. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars Managing Director?

I started my first company in 2005 and, since then, I have co-founded venture-backed startups, bootstrapped companies, raised micro funds, created non-profits, sold a couple of companies, acquired some, and failed even more. I have also invested in 100+ companies as a first check investor since 2013. Throughout these experiences, I have had three main learnings that can help startups thrive.

  1. The fundamental building block of any startup is the founding team and the strength of their relationship. Resilient co-founders who trust, respect, and admire each other can be unstoppable.

  2. The key to product-market-fit starts with customer discovery focused on understanding past behavior to identify a segment of potential customers that have a problem, know they have a problem, have quantified the problem, and are doing something about it, with or without you.

  3. Capital is growing faster and more abundant than technical talent. For many startups today, closing $1M in funding is quicker and easier than closing an experienced Software Engineer. When founders place the same attention and energy on recruiting as they do fundraising and sales, they will be able to recruit better talent faster.

There are many more learnings, but these three are the most common and impactful in the early days of the entrepreneurial journey.

04. What is your favorite thing about the Miami startup ecosystem?

The city's diversity yields an entrepreneurial talent pool not generally seen on the broader tech and venture capital ecosystem. There is a massive opportunity in funding and scaling companies led by founders from diverse backgrounds.

The talent has always been here, but opportunity and capital are finally catching up.

Already well established as the unofficial capital of Latin America, Miami is quickly establishing itself as the “Capital of capital,” becoming even more attractive to investors and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. and Latin America who have chosen to relocate here. Miami is now also the destination for Web3 and blockchain innovation.

Its geographic location has also become strategic for U.S. founders building remote engineering teams across the U.S. and LATAM. For founders targeting Latin America as a market, Miami is an essential stop for fundraising and a convenient location for setting up a HQ that covers the whole region.

05. What does our partner J.P. Morgan bring to the accelerator?

Startups face challenges at every stage. However, financial challenges can abruptly end a startup’s vision for their product, team, or growth. J.P. Morgan has the expertise, financial solutions, and network to support the disruptors of today and leaders of tomorrow. This program represents Techstars and J.P. Morgan’s belief that diversity and inclusion are the catalysts of innovation and growth. In supporting early-stage startups, J.P. Morgan believes it can help build a future with stronger companies led by underrepresented, diverse founders.

For J.P. Morgan, it’s about changing the entire ecosystem because while talent is distributed equally, opportunity is not. Backing diverse founders leads to a reinvestment in their communities and expanding access for others. J.P. Morgan has made longstanding, large-scale investments in cities to support local initiatives, entrepreneurs, and the environment with over $30 billion committed to advancing racial equity in 2020 and $2.5 trillion towards green initiatives by 2030.

J.P. Morgan’s partnership with Techstars shows their commitment to supporting inclusive accelerators that create opportunities for diverse, early-stage founders. As a part of this partnership, J.P. Morgan will offer an integrated suite of services to founders in this accelerator that extend beyond the 13-week program. This includes, but is not limited to, access to banking, wealth management, and advisory solutions accessible through their local and commercial banking specialists.

If you are interested in applying to Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan, submit your application by May 11.

Learn more about Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan