Startup Spotlight #161: Vinco
Vinco helps companies empower their workforce via education opportunities.
Giacoman is the CEO of Vinco, an edtech startup that helps companies in LatAm pay for the education of frontline workers as a tool to increase retention and productivity. Seeing the impact Covid has, particularly on the operational base or those with lower levels of education, and on the other hand, the boom in online learning. She started Vinco to make education much more accessible to those who need it most while making companies more profitable.
Having worked at BCG, Giacoman is an experienced consultant skilled in strategy, big data, and analytics. She was also a professor of two strategy courses at the Tec de Monterrey (MIT of Mexico). She did her MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and her undergrad in Economics at Yale.
Giacoman is an avid soccer player (forward!) and on the soccer field in elementary school is where she first met her co-founders.
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Startup Spotlight: Vinco
Problem: War for talent is accelerating faster than ever. In Mexico, 75% of companies in 2021 said they struggled to attract and retain talent.
Market: As the region with the largest skills gap, Latin America has more than 150 million employees without higher education, of which more than 50 million work at top corporations.
Solution: Vinco makes it easy for companies to pay for the education of their employees by connecting them to accessible programs (like High School, College, and Language Courses) and in turn, improve employee retention by at least 2x.
Team: Three female co-founders (Lissy Giacoman, Sofia Sada and Miriam Fernandez) from Monterrey, Mexico, grateful for the academic opportunities that they’ve had at top institutions like Yale, MIT and Georgetown. Although we primarily have experience in consulting and tech, have all taken a teaching job after college either part-time or full-time.
Giacoman: I’m really proud of the team and how we’ve built really strong relationships with companies and educational institutions over the last few months. Especially at an early stage, it has been very valuable to build rapport with clients since they’re more open to test new things with us as well as provide more honest feedback. It’s also a huge plus to have them recommend us to future clients. These will be partnerships for decades and it’s great to see the team build a strong foundation on how to best interact, so that permeates our ways of working as we continue to grow both with new partnerships and new team members.
Giacoman: Starting a company during a pandemic and fully remote had its challenges especially for a startup. We had brought together team members from very different professional backgrounds who were just starting to get to know each other. Although we had our daily standups and created all sorts of virtual activities, it was harder for all of us to get to know each other better and break any communication barriers so the team would feel confident asking any questions and calling each other to push things forward faster. We decided to gradually come back to the office - and the team loved it! We probably laughed more and had more internal jokes in one day at the office than we had in the last month. Now it’s been interesting to find that balance between being in person and working remotely.
Giacoman: I grew up hearing so many stories about others following their passion and I always thought of the idea of “following your passion” as a cliché. That those who had made a professional career out of their passion were a select, lucky few. The tables have turned and now I’m that cliché! When you’re solving a problem that you’re really passionate about, it’s so much easier to stay motivated. There are times when a meeting or something doesn’t go as planned, but it really helps me put things in perspective. For me, particularly what helps, is reading a couple of testimonials and stories from students who are so excited about going back to school and getting their degree. Do find that passion, and when you’re absorbed in the operations and/or feeling a little low, remind yourself of the bigger picture.
Three Cool Founders You Should Know About:
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