What is your background and did it help you get where you are today?
Prior to discovering my purpose to transform health and lives at Vitruvia, I began my entrepreneurial journey in Colombia and Ecuador building the world’s first certification system for responsible energy production. Leveraging my learnings (read mistakes!) from being an entrepreneur I cut my investing teeth angel investing and then working with Howard Schultz’ VC fund Maveron and being an early member of NextGen Venture Partners.
Three distinct and avoidable events catalyzed my desire to devote my life to transforming healthcare. First, my grandmother passed away due to a misdiagnosis of ovarian cancer. Second, my dad lost sight in one eye after a transcription error post cataract surgery wrongly sent him home without solving the infection. Third, I received a $17,300 bill after an ER visit in NYC for a dislocated pinky which was a stark contrast to the $53 bill I received in Barranquilla, Colombia for a 24 ER stay.
How did the idea for your current business come about?
Prior to Vitruvia, I spent my time searching for the best entrepreneurs who were transforming our healthcare system. My vision when I started in 2015 was that Miami represented such an amazing petri dish to test and build healthcare products and services for what the US will look like in 2050. I’m grateful to have invested in over thirty healthtech businesses and to have met my co-founder and dear friend, Dr. Abhinav Gautam, in Vitruvia during the process.
He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Miami. We quickly bonded over being born on the same day, we did some business together and one day he told me about this treatment he had developed to repair tissue from the inside out.
I had recently sprained my wrist falling off a trampoline, so I went to see a doctor and they immobilized my wrist. I was extremely frustrated because I’m an active guy and I couldn’t even do a pushup.
Then I met up with Dr. Abhinav Gautam to tell him about my pain, and I have to admit I was nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Long story short, he healed my wrist by remodeling my scar tissue and two days later I could do push ups. That’s when we both had this ‘aha’ moment that led to our RELIEF® treatment.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
During my sophomore and junior year at college I interned at Goldman Sachs. I quickly learned I was a terrible employee. I also learned I truly love the process of creating something from nothing. My dad is a business owner and my mom had her own personal training practice so perhaps subconsciously this was already ingrained in me.
My operating principle has always been to leave the world a better place than I came into it. With entrepreneurship I feel a deep passion for solving unmet needs and helping others live better.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
My morning starts with meditation and priming. I spend time journaling by mainly focusing on gratitude and listing ten things I am grateful for that day. I regularly tell myself: “things are always working out for me,” especially if that avocado pit of stress seems to come up.
I do my best to keep my phone on airplane mode throughout the morning to get deep work done before responding to text messages or emails. This helps me take control of my day vs. reacting to it. I’ll sweat, whether that’s through a workout or in the sauna, and once the phone is off airplane mode I respond to whatever the business needs may be that day.
I love taking my in-person meetings or phone calls while walking – something about movement gets my ideas generating more.
Everyday, I try to watch the sunset – it reminds me how magnificent our existence is. I typically work late, even though I am striving to find more balance and step away from work.
What motivates you?
With Vitruvia we restore our clients’ quality of life so they can get back to doing the things that truly light them up — play golf, dance or simply pick up their kids or grandkids without pain.
On a macro level, I would like Vitruvia to help drive a transition towards promoting wellbeing, improved quality of life and prevention over sickness across our healthcare ecosystem. In my opinion, too much of our human capital, monetary resources and overall mindshare is focused on treating sickness vs. promoting well-being.
On a micro level, we would like Vitruvia to be a positive force for change in the lives of our clients and their families: transforming negative energy that may be coming from pain, lack of mobility or other issues into positive energy and helping them live their lives to the fullest.
How do you generate new ideas?
I listen to my initial instinct and jot that to paper. After I can articulate at least part of an idea outside of my mind I know I can begin to prime my idea into actualization. It’s all about turning inner feelings into concise steps and trusting your instincts. Even my loftier ideas have turned into elaborate plans after I’ve sat with it for a minute, trusted my process and slowly pieced together actionable steps. Then I share the vision and rally the people around it.
Do you believe there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
It’s hard for me to sum it up to one pattern as it’s more of an equation for me. There’s a couple of practices that influence my productivity, the first being my morning ritual made up of meditation, gratitude and journaling sequences. In addition to starting off the day on a high note, I use priming which is the practice of altering your subconscious into a positive state of being. It’s really important to take your practices to heart and incorporate them into your daily routine. I’ve seen that although I may not consider myself a creature of habit, that these practices have really helped me level up as an entrepreneur.
Are there any books you suggest other entrepreneurs add to their “must read” list?
Ask and It’s Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. No matter who you are or what your goals are, this book serves as a roadmap to achieve your goals. There are countless processes from this reading that have stuck with me and have served me well during my personal and professional endeavors.
What is a favorite quote from an entrepreneur that has inspired you?
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions. This quote derives from the practice of positive psychology which is intertwined with the idea that we are the masters of our own destiny. The questions we ask ourselves especially in a time of need or darkness really influence our lives and if you’re taking the time to spin curiosity into positivity then you’ll be filling up your cup with pure goodness.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Passion breeds purpose. Passions enable you to take action from a place of inspiration. Passion helps you go the extra mile. Passion helps you discover who you truly are. There are many late nights, failures, incessant repeat of “no’s” where doubt creeps in. Passion helps you breakthrough those moments and reorient you to your north star, your higher purpose.