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How two Hi founders came full circle
May 4, 2023

Come full circle: return to a past place or situation, especially in a way considered to be inevitable.                                                        

This is the story of how shared vision, passion and a unique chemistry can outlast a decade of transformation, personal development and professional growth. It has been truly exciting to witness the reunion of Jimena and Federico as they continue to build the venture that they started together more than 10 years ago. The prospect of their future success, as re-united founders, is even more exciting. Their values, commitment and trust in each other will surely make the next decade for Hi an even more impactful and transformative one.                            

Jimena and Federico met in early 2012. She was working as a product manager at HP. He had just changed gears from CEO of a public retail company to founder of a VC firm. If you’ve met them, you’d be surprised to know that the shared passion for marketing and technology they share today, was exactly what made them click back then.

Meetings at Sierra Mojada in Lomas became frequent. As Federico learned about Jimena’s interest in mobility, he pitched Jimena the startup idea one of his students was working on: Zipcar for Latin America. He was in search of a co-founder. As an engineer, she had a passion for making complex systems work. Jimena loved the idea of using technology to make Mexico City, her city, a better place for chilangos. Carsharing was no brainer.

With a strong operative background and two startups founded on the side, Federico had the vision of becoming the best partner for entrepreneurs on a mission to change the region. He had experienced the early days of the Internet while helping scale a Brazilian E-Commerce in Mexico and had the deep conviction that a new wave of digital adoption would unlock amazing opportunities for formidable founders. He believed Jimena had unparalleled potential.

The idea of starting a company was appealing to Jimena, yet the timing made the decision a tricky one as she had just received an acceptance letter from LSE to study urbanism in London.

‘When you graduate from your masters and get your diploma, nothing will really change for you. You’ll know a little more about cities and will have enjoyed life in London, sure. But Mexico will be the same, the world will be the same. If you join Carrot, you might change how people drive and live in their city. You might change the world. Doesn’t that sound like a better plan?’, her future investor inquired.

Weeks later, Jimena started meeting regularly with Diego, her future co-CEO. Soon after, Carrot parked the first car equipped with Car Sharing technology in Latin America, acquired with capital provided by Federico. It was the first investment of a fund that did not exist yet. It did not even have a name! That first check not only helped start Carrot, it started Hi.

DALL-E: Two people, man and woman, looking at the moon ready to start a new adventure, Moonrise Kingdom feel.
“Jimena was the first entrepreneur to trust me with her vision. In many ways, we started Hi together and I now see her as my co-founder.” Federico remembers.

Hi invested three more times in Carrot in the next few years. Federico joined the board as chairman and supported Jimena and Diego from inception until 2018. It was a wild ride with great successes and big challenges, an entrepreneurial adventure that would turn into a lasting friendship. By 2018, in need of a founder rehab, Jimena joined Facebook to lead product growth for Latin America.

In parallel, Federico continued scaling hi. During one of his trips to teach at Stanford, Federico met a highly experienced team working on an app from San Francisco. Oskar, Dani and Juan Pablo were preparing to launch Cornershop in Mexico and Chile to disrupt grocery shopping, the largest retail vertical in the region. They ended up building one the most successful tech startups in the region with Federico and Hi at their side from pre-seed to exit. The firm delivered in 2021 the best performance results in a decade by an early stage fund in Spanish speaking Latin America.

During her time at a big tech and her traveling the region, Jimena stayed involved with the community she had started with Federico. Jimena was a mentor and an angel investor in Hi portfolio companies, by then some of the best startups in the region. 

In 2022, ten years after first challenging each other to build and dream big, Jimena returned home to continue her work helping change the region for the better. She joined forces again with Federico, her investor and friend.

Since she joined, Jimena has brought the strongest empathetic sense of what it takes, means and feels like to build and scale tech companies in Latin America. Her passion for product has added value to the Hi portfolio since day one, and has been the perfect match to Federico’s devotion for marketing. Her strengths are complemented by Federico’s operations management expertise, business sense and ability to visualize and design strategies aligned with market trends.

DALL-E: People looking to the horizon with binoculars seen from the back, stars in the sky, Moonrise Kingdom feel.

Their conviction on the potential that lies in Latin America is contagious, their laser focus on being the best allies to Latin American founders is inspiring and their strong belief of doing what is right is deeply uplifting.

Today, you can find Federico, Jimena and the rest of the Hi team in the same office where they both launched the Firm, working passionately to help the formidable founders who are solving Latin America’s hardest problems.

We are ready for the next decade.

We are all in.

How two Hi founders came full circle