Ten years ago, as I was preparing to take over as CEO of Cisneros we started working on an idea to launch a new division in the digital space. Our company, which has been around for almost 100 years, has never been afraid of venturing into uncharted territory. With the support of our Board I started travelling to Latin-America, meeting entrepreneurs, making small investments in tech funds like 21212, NXTP Labs and Kaszek Ventures and also directly in a few startups to get a feeling for what was happening in the region. Over the course of the next two years, together with Victor Kong, we developed a thesis and launched Cisneros Interactive. Informed by the fact that no one at the time was monetizing, we ventured into the digital advertising business and, not just in the US Hispanic market but also in Latin America.
Over the course of the following 7 years, we became the largest digital advertising network in the region. Our strategy was to be a pan regional player from the get-go. It’s in the DNA of Cisneros to always think beyond one market. Today we have 17 offices across Latin America and the Carribbean.
Our big break came back in 2016 when we received a very last minute invitation to pitch Facebook as they launched a pilot program for resellers. A deluge of rain came down as Victor and I got out of the car to enter the building and ended up sopping wet for our presentation. A few weeks later we learned that we had won and a few months after that, we had opened offices in Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador to represent Facebook and its family of products. This was definitely a story of betting on the underdog. I am so grateful to Diego Dzodan, the former head of Facebook Latam, for giving us a chance.
At the beginning of 2020, we also started working with Spotify and LinkedIn. I could not be prouder to represent such great brands in the region.
The pandemic has had its challenges; nonetheless, we managed to not only keep the business going, but to significantly exceed our goal. The shut down in all our markets resulted in most of our client’s finally going fully digital (with a bit of handholding). The results have been spectacular and I am certain that behavior will not revert when things go back to normal.
Yesterday we announced a major milestone. Entravision bought a significant stake in our business. In them, we have found the perfect partners to continue growing in our region and beyond. We have known Walter Ulloa, the Chairman and CEO of Entravision from the time when we were owners of Univision. It has been great to reconnect with someone we share so much history with and who is aligned with our vision in terms of the potential of the digital economy in the region.
Stay tuned ….