Q&A with Ricardo Latournerie, senior investment analyst, AC Ventures

Héctor Shibata, director of investments and portfolio of AC Ventures, Mexico-based beverage distributor Arca Continental’s corporate venture capital (CVC) unit, said of Ricardo Latournerie: “Ricardo has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and high dedication since the beginning.

“He has proved as a valuable asset as a VC investor to the team by bringing to the table relevant opportunities, assist leading the investment process diligently, executing investment transactions and linking the portfolio companies in order to bring value to the corporation.

“He is driven, self-motivated and always eager to improve himself. Ricardo has a well-rounded background being previously an entrepreneur and having worked in a fintech.”

1.First, just give us a quick overview of who you work for, what you do, and how long you have been doing it.

AC Ventures is the global CVC arm of Arca Continental. Arca is the third largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world with operations across Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and the US. AC Ventures aim is to invest directly in startups in pre-series A and series A stage; and also, to invest as a limited partner in other VC funds.

At AC Ventures, I have been involved in the whole investment process, from deal origination, due diligence, valuation to portfolio management. I joined AC Ventures since the inception of the fund. Currently, I lead the retail and fintech opportunities and oversee the portfolio investments in geographies like India, Brazil, the US and Mexico.

2.What attracted you to CVC?

The dynamics of the challenge to find opportunities that may create synergies and value to both the portfolio companies and the corporation. I believe that the merge between smart money from the corporations and brand-new innovation from the startups will set a precedent for the future innovation ecosystem, and it is really exciting to take part in this developing industry.

3.What have been your greatest successes at your unit?

I took an active part in the structuring of all the investment processes, objectives and best practices in order to give structure to the vehicle. This represented a great challenge considering that the first investment was closed within the first month of the establishment of the fund.

Also, I have been an active participant in the development of the regional ecosystem by drafting and publishing more than 50 publications related to the VC ecosystem, entrepreneurship and investment guides, among others.

I have hosted several international webinars and participated in multiple global events and initiatives as mentor and judge including South Summit, Google for Startups, MIT Solve and Masschallenge, among many others.

4.What have been your biggest challenges?

First, to create the trust needed by the corporation in order to engage with these early-stage companies even when they are still not cash-flow positive. Sometimes corporations have a strict policy when engaging with new customers, providers and partners which may lead to mistrust of companies without much track record. On the other hand, educating some entrepreneurs on the value-added a big corporation can bring to the table and building the same trust needed in order for them to understand that the corporation can be a very valuable ally to their operations.

5.What is your main professional ambition for the future?

I am eager to continue my development in the industry while helping the CVC ecosystem to grow. My main ambition is to become a leader in the Fintech industry either as a founder or as an experienced investor.

6.What do you think all CVCs could do better to make it a stronger industry?

No matter what you are doing, one key to success is the strength of your network. The CVC industry is no exception to this, I believe that the reinforcement of a global network between all CVCs can boost the whole industry by getting all this corporate muscle to work together.

7.What are some of your corporate parent’s technology needs and corporate strategy amid the pandemic, as well as your CVC unit’s pain points?

As our parent company is a CPG corporation, the technologies boosted amid the pandemic were already part of our investment mandate (logistics, retail tech, fintech), this reinforced our purpose and the value that the investments brought to the corporation. Also, the pandemic brought the need to reinvent ourselves as a CVC by forcing our operations to become mostly digital during the peak of the pandemic.

8.And, finally, for colour, what did you do prior to CVC or in your spare time?

I started my career as an entrepreneur, I founded a craft beer brand six years ago and after operating the company for two years we sold it. After that, I joined a Fintech company where I performed as a financial analyst while raising and structuring a PE Fintech fund. Later on, I joined another fintech as an advisor where I helped them in their capital raising process, valuation and financial structure. I hold a bachelor’s degree in finance with a concentration in financial analysis and investment management.