On Life Experiences, Core Values, and a New Path

Fernando Lelo Larrea
6 min readJul 8, 2023

A Personal Reflection on What Matters Most to Me, and Rumbo’s Mission

As I reflect upon my 25-year (!) journey in the investing world, I realize that true fulfillment lies in aligning personal values with professional endeavors. Throughout my career, I have witnessed the profound impact that visionary entrepreneurs can have on shaping a better world, and the role of their moral compasses. Now, with a deep sense of maturity, lessons learned and humility, I embark on a new chapter with Rumbo Ventures. Guided by a set of values that resonate with my own, I am determined to make a meaningful difference by supporting and empowering those who believe in a change for the planet. Together, we can foster prosperity, create lasting impact, and ignite a sustainable future for generations to come.

A few weeks ago the Rumbo team gathered to conduct a dynamic aimed at writing down our mission, vision, and values, as we embark on this adventure. Jimena, Laura, Ana, and I, joined remotely by Eli and Alicia, spent two days following IDEO’s methodology and our friend Elizabeth's guide, to state an organization’s Purpose. We centered our attention, when asking why we exist, on the Enable Potential and Foster Prosperity types of impact, and filled my living room with hundreds of colorful post-its encompassing the team’s motivations, desires, goals, and boundaries.

Personally, it was a deeply moving experience. It was evident that Rumbo’s initial team has a deep alignment. We have the right people on the bus, before deciding where to go, as Jim Collins states in Good to Great. We are building something for the right reasons, without wanting to prove anything to anyone, but to give meaning to our efforts and path (our rumbo — I love our name!). I had in mind a narrative of connecting the dots backward, of having my educational years, my five years in energy project finance, eight years in real estate, twelve years in venture capital, my twenty years of teaching, my flops and hits, my scars and blessings, all bringing me to this point, where my mission in life aligns with the organization I’m leading, and where I’ll devote all my energy.

Our Mission is to forge a transformative path towards a thriving planet by championing visionary entrepreneurs in Latin America and Spain.

Drawing upon my years of experience and the lessons I have learned, I am more committed than ever to creating an organization devoted to identifying high-potential individuals who share our passion for sustainable change. By providing them with the necessary resources, guidance, and support, we can empower them to turn their visions into reality and create a lasting impact that transcends generations.

The Transition to Net Zero, the battle against climate change, is the most transcendental challenge we face. Assuring humanity reaches its objectives through our impulse in a geographic zone that represents close to 10% of the world population, GDP, and emissions, yet holds close to 60% of global biodiversity, is a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG), and so crucial — truly life-dependent — that gives us the strength to overcome all resistance, frictions, stumbling blocks, prejudices or setbacks the journey presents us with.

Vision: Rumbo Ventures aspires to become the go-to partner for innovators developing climate initiatives in Latin America and Spain.

Beyond financial support, we recognize the need to be a catalyst for change. By providing catalytic resources that foster meaningful impact and ignite systemic change, we can shape a future where sustainability is at the core of every endeavor. Through collaboration, innovation, and strategic partnerships, we can transform the landscape and create a world where sustainable practices are not just an option, but the norm.

Not all innovators require the same solutions. According to the United Nations, US$30 Trillion in financial resources will need to be allocated to fighting climate change by 2030. This is a massive amount, and Latin America will be transformed by its share of this foreign direct investment — if we are prepared for it. Becoming the go-to partner for those seeking these resources implies developing capabilities beyond early-stage venture capital allocation. It implies creating a powerhouse for climate financing, starting with venture capital and evolving into expertise in all aspects of funding the needs of these innovators, from project finance structures, debt, and growth equity, to corporate structuring, M&A, and even public policy crafting.

This is the ambition. Our Rumbo. The path ahead is long and challenging. The payback, immense. So is the determination.

The concluding part of our internal retreat was the most heart-moving. An open exercise that ended up describing both the values of the organization we are devoting our life towards building and reflects my own personal values, the ones that reflect who I am, after 48 years of learning, experiences, role models, my upbringing and my family. They are the product of making the right decisions, reflecting on errors, and contrasting lives well lived with those empty of inspiration or purpose. These values distilled by our team perfectly align with mine. On deciding to embark on this new endeavor, I allowed myself a pause for a deep soul-searching period, enriching conversations with friends and mentors, while taking distance from the noise and the abandonment of detractors.

Our values explain who I am, how I act, and what I stand for. Our values, my values, serve as the foundation for our journey at Rumbo Ventures:

🕊️ Honesty

We embrace authenticity, valuing genuine, candid, and sincere connections in all our interactions and relationships. We prioritize congruence and are transparent with the impact we foster.

👌 Excellence

We strive for excellence, pursuing the highest standards of quality, performance, and impact. We constantly push our own boundaries and refine our expertise and skills to become true masters of our craft.

🧠 Growth Mindset

We have a relentless thirst for knowledge, embracing curiosity and nurturing a sense of wonder and exploration. We expand this to our network by being both teachers, mentors, and students. To be truly open to learning, we foster freedom of expression and are welcoming of other opinions.

🫀 Passion

We are driven by passion, wholeheartedly committed to our purpose, and fueling the fire to create systemic change within ourselves and others.

🤝 Responsibility

We understand responsibility as the Ability to Respond, by taking ownership of our actions and their impact on entrepreneurs, society, and the environment. We are stewards of our planet and our investors, actively working towards a system that operates sustainably within its boundaries.

🌱 Generosity

We practice generosity, offering our support, resources, and expertise to uplift entrepreneurs and nurture their success and climate impact. We empower others, recognizing their unique strengths and capabilities. We promote co-creation, fostering collaborative partnerships and collective intelligence to achieve shared goals.

👁️ Long-Term View

We adopt a long-term view, making strategic decisions that create lasting value and sustainable impact.

💪 Grit

We embody grit & ambition, pushing boundaries and striving for audacious goals that drive meaningful change while being resilient and relentless in our pursuit of impact despite challenges or setbacks.

🙏 Humility

We embrace humility, embodying a discrete, hard-working approach that puts the success of entrepreneurs and the team above personal egos.

💡 Ingenuity

We celebrate ingenuity, seeking to enjoy the journey by fostering a culture of clever, original, and inventive people. We encourage cutting-edge innovation, challenging conventional thinking and driving transformative change.

My journey in investing has taught me that true fulfillment lies in aligning personal values with professional endeavors. My journey in life has taught me that having a purpose makes you overcome all adversities. With Rumbo Ventures, I am dedicated to creating a lasting impact by supporting and empowering visionary entrepreneurs who believe in a change for the planet. The journey has started with an initial group of 18 amazing startups with 39 founders who share these values, inspire us, and reinforce our commitment towards our mission.

Together, we can embrace a sustainable future, foster prosperity, and shape a thriving planet where innovation flourishes and our collective impact is felt. Let us ignite change, drive meaningful impact, and pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable world.

--

--

Fernando Lelo Larrea

Venture Capital Investor. Entrepreneurship. Economics. Seeking Innovation & Impact.