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College dropout/drop in, Economist and wanderluster; Luis Montalván is the founder of Vynil, a mobile app that dares you to trip and matches you with the most amazing experiences in Latin America because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to travel to sick places?
Nice meeting you Luis, I love connecting with other Latino entrepreneurs. Let’s get the basics covered:
City where you’re from: Managua, Nicaragua
Hobbies: Music, books, movies and art… anything that breaks the illusion of separation with the world.
When asked how he beat the British, French and US forces in Vietnam:
“I was a professor of the jungle.” —General Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnam.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
As Tupac Shakur said “ I didn’t chose the thug life, the thug life chose me.”
I really hate to use the third world country narrative but being raised in Nicaragua does provide character and value. I believe the biggest entrepreneurs know how to make the best of what they have to get what they want. This is me.
Was there a defining moment in your life?
Dropping out of college I had the opportunity to do the things that only people with a lot of time and depression can do. I read a lot of books, plays, view Operas in youtube… I even watched all Luis Bunuel’s films. Working during the day and devouring art by night I discovered a sense of wonder towards the world and the emotions that tie us together.
What are you working on?
Vynil, a mobile application made by tourist for tourists.
Give me the 60-sec pitch about Vynil
In simple words, Vynil is your local friend everywhere you go in Latin America. With Vynil you can find your favorite spots, meet other people, activities while keeping a budget and earning discounts. That is one heck of a friend!
Everything in Vynil is based on experience, we want to be the channel for authentic tourist experiences for both users and small and medium businesses that provide (which are key part of a cultural economy).
What triggered you to make such an app?
While living in Barcelona I noticed many of my European friends organized yearly trips to either Latin America or Asia. I noticed they wanted to find authentic experiences instead of just paying for a specific “trip”, a service that modern tour operators provide that ends up killing the serendipity vibe. Meet other tourist, do activities together and contribute and learn from the local culture and economy are key factors to a fulfilling extended vacation. Vynil does that.
Who are your customers? How do you find them?
Our customers are Small and Medium tourist businesses in Latin America that provide unique experiences. Jungle Hostels, craft beer bars, vegan cafes… small businesses full of personality and amazing service most of them have a hard time connecting digitally with their niche customers and miss the digital infrastructure to connect with them, and provide them with benefits.
Our users are the millions of young tourist that visit Latin America every year seeking to experience the moments they will remember once they have their kids. Soul changing, eye opening moments that we all deserve to go through.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Focus on the most important task at hand that will get you to the next level. There is always a next level, be sure to be either ready or willing to work your butt off.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Connecting with his team, customer, vision and actions. Sounds simple.
What are some of your favorite books?
Siddharta by Herman Hesse, Napoleon by Emil Ludwig and new addition is Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
I see myself either working in Vynil or living in a jungle with a shotgun at hand. I see Vynil as a wearable gadget combined with VR providing a mixture of real life gaming and TV to other fellow travellers and adventurers.