News & Highlights

  • SEPTEMBER 2021

A Q+A with Qanlex Co-Founder Yago Zavalia Gahan (MBA 2021)

Yago Zavalia Gahan (MBA 2021) had just begun his career in litigation finance when he noticed that the industry had not yet flourished in Latin America. Litigation finance—an industry that has been present in the US, UK, and Australia since the 90s —provides funding to lawsuit plaintiffs who lack economic resources in exchange for a small share of their proceeds. By providing these funds, litigation finance can help plaintiffs move forward with their case without having to worry about capital, especially when they are up against parties who have access to higher financial assets. Zavalia Gahan co-founded Qanlex, a litigation finance firm that, although based in the US, is helping level the playing field across Latin America and other parts of the world. In this interview, Zavalia Gahan discusses Qanlex, his HBS entrepreneurial journey, and his goals for his company.
  • JUNE 2021

Women in Leadership: A conversation with leaders in the field

In an event co-hosted by LARC and the HBS Club of Mexico, Christine Kenna (MBA ’06) Managing Director of VC firm IGNIA, moderated a conversation with Susana Garcia-Robles, Senior Partner at Capria Ventures, along with Marta Cruz, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at NXTP Ventures. Susana and Marta are mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs who are committed to supporting women’s investment in Latin America. They engaged in a discussion about the difference between impact and purpose, the importance of networks, and the development of soft skills.
  • JULY 2021

Diversity on Boards: A discussion with the HBS Club of Brazil

Together with the HBS Club of Brazil, this July LARC hosted a panel discussion on the diversity of boards. Moderated by Filipe Oliveira (MBA ’15), the HBS Club of Brazil co-president, the panel featured Fernando Carneiro, Spencer Stuart consultant and leader of Spencer Stuart’s Board, Cristina Pinho, Chair of Instituto Luisa Pinho Sartori, and João Brandão, Founding Partner at Bridge One. The panelists discussed why it is important to promote diversity, not only with regards to gender but also industry background. They shared the benefits of having different perspectives and points of view and how it can foster innovation within organizations.
  • MARCH 2021

A Discussion with Professor Frank Cespedes: Sales Management that Works

In a thoughtful discussion moderated by HBR’s Editor Amy Bernstein, Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, offered essential sales strategies for business leaders in an ever-changing world. He shared ideas from his recent book, Sales Management that Works: How to Sell in a World that Never Stops Changing, exploring the implications for core areas of business development, such as hiring, training, performance management, and pricing. The event was attended by alumni and business leaders in Latin America.

New Research on the Region

  • September 2021
  • Case

Worldreader: Helping Readers Build a Better World

By: Marco Bertini, Elie Ofek and Julia Kelley

Founded in 2010, Worldreader was an international nonprofit organization that promoted reading to children around the world. For many years, Worldreader distributed e-readers to under-resourced communities and funded its operations primarily through philanthropic donations. In 2019, Worldreader launched the BookSmart mobile reading application, and soon thereafter came the idea of a new, self-perpetuating funding structure: the “flywheel.” Worldreader aimed to charge schools and community-based organizations a $6 monthly subscription fee per child to use BookSmart, with the goal of using earned revenue to sustain operational costs and using philanthropy to cover other strategic priorities. However, Worldreader soon realized that ability to pay varied greatly among potential “customers,” leading to several exceptions to the initial price. The team also worried that the subscription hindered achieving scale and conflicted with Worldreader’s ultimate goal of impacting millions of children. As Co-Founder and CEO David Risher and his team prepared for an upcoming meeting with UNICEF, which typically sought fixed-price contracts, they considered whether a price per-child, per-month would be acceptable. More broadly, they considered whether they had landed on the optimal price point and funding strategy — and the potential implications of pursuing earned revenue on Worldreader’s ability to bid for international development grants.

  • Article
  • Business History

Business Investment in Education in Emerging Markets Since the 1960s

By: Valeria Giacomin, Geoffrey Jones and Erica Salvaj

This article examines non-profit investments by business in education in emerging markets between the 1960s and the present day. Using a sample of 110 interviews with business leaders from an oral history database, the study shows that more than three-quarters of such leaders invested in education as a non-profit activity. The article explores three different types of motivations behind such high levels of engagement with education: values driven, context focussed, and firm focussed. The article identifies significant regional variations in terms of investment execution, structure, and impact. In South and Southeast Asia, there was a preference for long-term investment in primary and secondary education. In Africa and Latin America, some initiatives sometimes had a shorter-term connotation, but with high-profile projects in partnerships with international organisations and foreign universities. In Turkey, there was heavy focus on training and the creation of universities. The article concludes by examining the impact of this investment, comparing Chile and India especially. It discusses issues such as the paucity of financial data and the challenges of comparing different types of educational spending, which make robust conclusions hard, but does suggest that although such spending did not resolve major educational roadblocks across the emerging world, it represented a positive overall social gain.

  • August 2021
  • Teaching Material

Patrimonio Hoy

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Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Christopher P. Torto Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Assistant Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Senior Researcher
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Brazil Office & Regional Program Manager
Pedro Levindo
Senior Researcher

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher