Slik instantly clicked with our fund’s investment thesis. We met Javier Brignone, Ezequiel Linares and Tomas Stagnaro, Slik’s co-founders, less than a year after they launched. In that short time, they had built a user-friendly product and secured blue chip clients across Latin America. With this performance, it was no surprise they were part of the 500 LatAm accelerator program, one of the best in the region. After hearing about Slik, Roberto Arbe, Analyst at AVP Ventures, reached out to Javier Brignone, Slik’s CEO, to ask for a call. During the first meeting, it was evident how Slik was able to accomplish so much, so fast. Slik’s three co-founders bring over 50 years of aggregate experience in human resources positions. They had felt the pain point on the job. There was a lack of good software tools to address poor employee engagement.
Javier, Slik’s CEO, and Ezequiel Linares, the company’s CGO, came to Lima on separate occasions to meet us within a few weeks of that first call. We were struck by their genuine interest in human resources. It was easy to see how they quickly generate rapport with potential clients, then dig deep to understand clients’ needs. Javier came to Lima to deliver a message at a human resources conference, a sign that he was a thought-leader in the industry and a resourceful founder who made the most of travel opportunities. He organized the trip in order to present to our pre-due diligence selection committee. When Ezequiel came to Lima a few weeks later, he gave me a crash course in product-led growth over lunch. Ezequiel is an avid learner, constantly searching for the best way to reach potential customers and move them through the sales funnel. Over the next weeks, during our due diligence process, we learned from Slik’s team how technology can be used to improve the workplace. Our team fed off the co-founders deep passion for driving employee engagement. We observed the way they interacted with each other and divided responsibilities, effectively matching the benefits of experience in a corporate setting with the gritty, cost saving mentality that is needed to run a startup.
Slik’s three co-founders each bring something different to the table. Ezequiel’s boundless energy for finding new customers is channeled by Javier’s strategic thoughtfulness. While the company grows, Tomas Stagnaro, COO, ensures that the product improves and clients needs are met. All three have a deep understanding of the benefits of better employee engagement and genuine aspiration to create a product for the global stage. This complementarity in approach is matched by deep experience and education in their field. Javier brings over 18 years in human resources at Accenture, Diageo, Despegar.com, Wenance and Deloitte. He previously studied human resources as an undergraduate and later earned an MBA. Tomas was the former Latin America Director of Human Resources at Deloitte. Like Javier, he earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources. Ezequiel brings marketing and sales experience from his time as Key Account Manager at Citi and and Head of Latin Americas Sales at Gointegro. Prior to starting his career, Ezequiel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The team’s past experience provided broad exposure to employee needs in companies of different sizes and at different stages. The problem they are solving exists across the workforce. According to Gallup, 87% of employees are not engaged with their work environment, resulting in higher absenteeism, turnover and churn, thereby reducing businesses productivity and profitability. 
There are advantages that come from having built a network and gaining know-how in a corporate setting that are useful for launching a startup. Now, as a founder, I have insights and a skill-set that can only be learned by being an entrepreneur.
Javier, Ezequiel and Tomas, also benefited from an insider’s view of how corporations make internal budgeting decisions for human resource areas. This allowed them to see first-hand the low penetration of human resource solutions for employee engagement in Latin America. Most existing offerings were pricey, manual solutions and used once a year. Alternative solutions with similar price points are generic rather than specialized for the acute needs of human resources areas. This context convinced the Slik team that there was a market opportunity for a well-priced employee engagement software. Engagement solutions were either expensive, manual-intensive, or slow to process results. So, they set out to build a SaaS solution that measures and manages employee engagement and builds action plans for boosting employee productivity. Slik measures and diagnoses company engagement, gives recommendations and executes action plans. Slik’s software determines impactful initiatives to drive company performance by improving employee engagement. Inputs are employee surveys and variables such as turnover and absenteeism. A summary dashboard is created and allows managers to view and analyze results. In addition, these results can be analyzed and compared across company departments and industry benchmarks. Slik’s platform is robust and flexible enough to work with large companies and address needs across the workforce.
These initial meetings led us to advance with our due diligence, including calls with clients and the 500 Latam team. We proposed investment terms and became the first investors in Slik’s post-acceleration seed round. A couple of angel investors joined on and then Vulcano, a Chile-based venture fund, added the largest ticket that solidified the round and setting Slik up for the next phase of growth. After investing, we stayed close to Slik team as part of its Advisory board, a sort of sounding board for the founders, where we can add perspectives without getting in the way. We introduced Maria Jimena Cespedes, one of our fund advisors, to Slik and they hit it off from the beginning. Jimena became an advisor to Slik, acting as a valuable independent member of the Advisory Board. This was an important part of our fund’s seed-to-scale playbook of encouraging and facilitating best practices in corporate governance. Javier, Ezequiel and Tomas are avid learners and interested in sharing what they are doing. In these board meetings, we saw how they thought strategically and leveraged technology, developing a detailed product roadmap, metrics dashboards and implemented SaaS tools across the business including Fathom for financial statements and BambooHR for the organizational structure. Every meeting, we had a front-row seat to what a regional enterprise SaaS startup should look like: remote and tech-first, scale-up strategically.
Scaling-up and out
Since we invested, Slik has expanded its geographic footprint to Spain, signed up dozens of new clients to sticky, annual contracts, and grown revenue 7x. Companies like Grupo DIA in Spain, Burger King, Tigo, Starbucks, AXA, DHL all trust Slik to manage employee engagement of thousands of employees in Latin America and Spain. In August 2022, I traveled to Argentina to meet with members of Slik team. We spent a morning reviewing the organizational chart, allowing me to observe a key to the startup’s success. Slik has been remote from its beginning, and built a small core team that is supplemented by experts who join to add specific value in key areas. This strategy has the effect of effectively keeping the team small and product quality high. Today, the team is spread out all over the Spanish-speaking world. Tomas is in Spain, Ezequiel in Mexico, and Javier is in Argentina. They are scaling up on their quest to improve employee engagement across the world. Don’t be surprised to see more happy employees across the world working at better performing companies.
 Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work, Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx