Augusto Ruiz-Tagle, cofounder of the Chilean-based alternative credit scoring startup Destácame, speaking at Solve MIT.
My name is... Augusto Ruiz-Tagle.
My company is… Destácame, a platform that uses alternative data gathered from credit-like services such as utilities, telecoms, and suppliers to help individuals and enterprises prove they are deserving of credit.
It launched in... June 2015 in Chile (where I'm from) and April 2017 in Mexico.
My career in a past life was… working in finance, sales, and management consulting, both in the U.S. and Latin America. I started out in banking and trading at BBVA Chile before moving into sales at one of the largest forestry companies in the world. I went to business school at M.I.T. and worked as a consultant at Virtus Partners, a firm founded by two former McKinsey managing directors.
My first career aspiration was… to build something cool enough and large enough to improve many lives.
I made my very first dollar… picking fruit during summers at the farm my father managed.
My ideal day is… spent on a road trip with my wife and two daughters, traveling through amazing landscapes. It ends with us watching the sunset at a beach paradise.
My typical day is… trying to find ways in which Destácame could have a greater impact on our clients by changing the way the financial system works today,
Right when I wake up... I greet my older daughter (who is probably standing by my bed before the alarm goes off), prepare her bottle, clean her, dress her, and take her to preschool. Then I read the news.
Right before I go to bed… I check Destácame's stats and metrics from the day. I also sometimes watch a show on Netflix.
It brings out my best... when I collaborate with my cofounders, am able to lead complex projects that require planning and problem-solving, and have the support of my wife.
I’m motivated by… the knowledge that we are solving a huge social problem and, so far, have significantly impacted thousands of people.
My career heroes are... Elon Musk because of his consistency and belief in pursuing game-changing ideas that look impossible to many people. And my father who, by working his ass off, was able to ensure quality educations for all seven of his children. Despite not having a college degree himself, he got us into the best universities without ever missing an important moment in our lives.
I’m worst at... giving speeches. And asking for favors.
I’m currently excited about... Destácame's next steps in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. We plan to double the userbase before end of year, create a relationship with the two main banking systems that hold ~40 percent market share, and launch a past-due debt repayment service.
My biggest entrepreneurial leap of faith was... starting Destácame with one daughter, another on the way, and considerable post-MBA outstanding debt at half the salary I was making as a management consultant.
My rock bottom moment was... when I was 12 and doing very badly in school. I ran away from home, leaving behind an apology note for my parents. Luckily, they found the note and, very shortly after, found me. That showed me that love is what really matters and that support is what makes you stronger.
My biggest triumph was... being accepted to M.I.T. for business school. Now that you know my rock bottom moment was a result of my grades, you can understand why this felt so monumental. I still have no idea how it was possible.
The biggest question I haven’t yet answered is... what kind of public policies would ensure that people succeed on merit rather than because of their connections or where they are born?
I define success as… growth and balance. Growth in the sense that we are called to develop all of our strengths and talents in order to improve not just our lives but also those of the people surrounding us. Balance in the sense that those talents are spread across multiple areas, such as work, family, social lives, etc., and we need to grow in all of those areas in order to make our mission sustainable. When you focus only on one area of growth, the boat could tip and potentially flip.
I dare you to remember… that it is better to solve a real problem, a true pain. Be sure that your company is addressing a significant issue.
I dare you to forget… that you have messed up in the past. Life is full of second chances. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t be anchored to them. Plan again, execute, and repeat.
My best advice is… to never stop looking for what you love. And once you find it, go for it. Just do it.
Images courtesy of Augusto Ruiz-Tagle / SOLVE MIT