The wins of Vibranium.VC portfolio companies always mean a lot to us — especially when it’s a huge milestone for an early-stage startup. We invested in Otis AI back in August of this year, and today we are celebrating its founder Miguel Guerrero making it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 North America list.
We chatted with Miguel about the achievement and its contribution to the startup’s development, as well as about future goals and ambitions.
What does it mean to you personally to be included in Forbes 30 Under 30 list?
Being recognized by Forbes is a great honor. I started out on the entrepreneurial journey when I was 14 years old by building the world’s largest Minecraft server with over 5M users. I later co-founded TABu, a mobile payment processing app that was integrated into over 60% of the POS market share. This is how I was introduced to the world of products that help small businesses and empower them with the tools they need to succeed. I am humbled to be included on the list along with such talented and accomplished young entrepreneurs who share a drive to build and create value– and I attribute our success to my amazing team at Otis.
How will this contribute to your startup development?
I hope that the Forbes feature will help increase awareness of how Otis is the best solution out there for startups and small businesses who want to grow. Our customers have a secret weapon to help them scale up, regardless of competitor size or market dynamics. We want to welcome more clients to join the ranks of successful businesses using Otis to reach their goals.
What defines a successful founder in your opinion?
I think it comes down to two main qualities. The first one is resilience coupled with the ability to take calculated risks to grow their startups. The second one is the desire to prioritize the development of the team as a whole to collectively strive toward hitting the target on business goals.
A leader and a boss — what is the difference?
A boss delegates tasks and makes decisions without considering the needs or input of others. A leader, on the other hand, unites the team by way of a single collaborative vision, all while empowering the people behind the project to improve on that vision, contribute to strategic planning and drive outcomes.
A leader also takes the time to understand the perspectives and needs of their team members. By showing empathy, a leader helps to build trust and strengthen connections within the team to work together more effectively toward the collective mission.
Speaking of your personal goals, do you prefer setting long-term or short-term planning?
Long-term goals define the overall vision, while short-term goals break that vision down into achievable steps and provide a sense of progress along the way. Ticking a box on a to-do list can definitely be a feel-good moment. I find that setting both types of goals keeps us motivated and focused on the things that create the most value for the business.
When it comes to learning something new — are you always ready?
As a founder, I learn something new every day. Founders should always be looking for opportunities to learn more and be open to other ideas and perspectives. I am never afraid to change my mind in light of new compelling information.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
When you are a founder, you are the gatekeeper of your own success. You are responsible for all of your outcomes, good or bad. This was important to me from an early age: young people, unfortunately, are often overlooked because of a presumed lack of ability. Over time I gained a non-traditional range of impactful business experiences. On top of that, I genuinely enjoy strategy work and harnessing strategic advantages to achieve great outcomes.
What advice would you give founders that are just starting out as team leaders?
I’d say the key to success here is to very clearly communicate the vision and ensure everyone on the team is aligned on mission-to-metrics from the get-go. It’s important for everyone to fully understand what they’re doing and how that impacts progress toward our collective goals. If you nail this, you have the spirit and unity that is the cornerstone to making it in a cut-throat startup environment.
You unlocked a Forbes achievement this year, what’s in the plans for next year?
While I am honored to be recognized by Forbes, I like to think that we are only getting started. We are always striving to improve and innovate to help small businesses grow — all I can say now is to stay tuned!