The story of David Vélez is not only legendary, but also extremely inspiring. He is the second richest Colombian in the world and to the surprise of many he is determined to donate his entire fortune.
At only 39 years old, he is already part of the list Forbes, this really implies effort, many battles won and lost, and above all, a great commitment.
But before savoring the honeys of success, we would like to tell you about his beginnings and how he managed to become one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of the last century.
The story of David Vélez and his mastermind:
The story of David Vélez is closely linked to the birth of his famous company, Nubank.
Today it is considered the largest and most relevant digital bank in the world.
But to delve into the story of David Vélez we have to go back to his origins.
Specifically to his homeland, Medellín, and to 1981, the year of his birth.
Given that he had been born into a paisa family full of entrepreneurs, it was understandable that he felt very attracted to entrepreneurship.
“You have to undertake, you have to make your own way.” That was the motto of his family and he did not hesitate to memorize and understand it when he was just a child.
He had his first work experience when he was four years old. And although he fulfilled a simple role in an uncle’s factory, such as organizing and selecting buttons, he still managed to show off.
This is David Vélez, a determined, committed, visionary and futuristic man. Without a doubt, one of the millionaire minds most ingenious of all time.
When he was nine years old, his parents decided to start from scratch in Costa Rica, and it was precisely in this destination where he underwent an operation that would change his life.
He used the savings he had accumulated until then to buy a cow, which later became a herd, and surprisingly, this decision marked a before and after in the history of David Vélez.
From button picker to engineering student
When it was time to prepare academically, David traveled to Germany to study Mathematics.
But once he completed his studies, he returned to Costa Rica and put up for sale the herd that he had seen grow since he was nine years old.
They paid him $600 dollars and without thinking he used that money to move to the United States. His dream was to study engineering at the prestigious Stanford University, and he would not rest until he fulfilled it.
That was how he went from selecting buttons on a family business, to enroll in the cradle of the most ambitious and innovative technological ventures in the world.
His admiration for Silicon Valley companies did not stop growing, and in fact, it shaped his most imminent purpose: to found his own company.
After graduating from Stanford in 2005, he began working as an analyst at Morgan Stanley, one of the largest investment banks in the United States.
Five years later he was back in the classroom. She returned to Stanford for a master’s degree and has since lived with nothing but success.
When he became the leading figure in the investments in Latin America that he was making Sequoia Capitals, a major US venture capital company, was ready to settle in Brazil.
He moved to São Paulo and this city simply saw him flourish as a dedicated, smart and determined entrepreneur.
A bad experience that changed his life
The story of David Vélez, as founder and CEO of Nubankbegan in this South American country, but its beginnings were not rosy.
He had to go through an unpleasant experience to bring to life this business idea that would revolutionize banking forever.
It all started when he wanted to open a savings account in a Brazilian bank. At the moment of entering he was trapped between the revolving doors, and the worst thing was that the security personnel were armed, making the situation even worse.
Vélez confessed that he felt “like a criminal” when all he wanted was to use one of his services.
But the nightmare did not end there. As a new client, he was faced with an unpleasant and crushing reality: the fees were absurd, the interest rates were extremely high, and the customer service was disastrous.
David refused to settle for such a poor and at the same time abusive service, and that is why he decided to take matters into his own hands.
His entrepreneurial spirit was fueled as he was determined to create a bank like no other. His plans were to break paradigms and set a great precedent on Brazilian soil, and he succeeded!
His idea was to found a digital bank that would take the bureaucracy, high fees and branches out of the game. He wanted to democratize banking so that it would be more humane and transparent with its clients.
That is the essence of nubank, an eminently digital banking that offers a friendly and simple experience to all its users.
Nubank and its valuation of $30 billion dollars
Today, Nubank It has a market valuation of $30 billion. But this did not happen easily, much less overnight.
More than one person doubted his project. Many considered that his ideal was impossible, since he was facing the banking industry, one of the most powerful on the planet.
Others were convinced that existing regulations would never allow him to break through, and his biggest detractors were betting that a foreigner would have no place in the Brazilian banking sector.
He knocked on doors, and although not all of them opened, David did not give up. one of the main characteristics of millionaires it is resilience, and this was something he had too much of.
Instead of getting discouraged, he focused on working tirelessly on his project. He knew that to succeed he had to consolidate a great team and raise capital.
That is why he put all his energy into finding his best partners. They had to share his vision, and especially, consent to all the changes that needed to come to life.
Edward Wible Y Cristina Junqueira they met these requirements, and therefore, they did not hesitate to support his initiative.
Goals achieved and dreams fulfilled
But this was just the tip of the iceberg, since it also required investors with good capital. The good thing was that Kaszek Ventures Y Sequoia Capital they identified with the story of David Vélez and with everything that it supposed.
So they agreed to invest $2 million dollars in Nubank. By then, David already had a great team and top investors.
Together with Wible and Junqueira, he officially founded this digital bank, specifically in Sao Paulo in 2013.
Almost a year later they began their official operations. They had chosen to enter the market with a credit card that had no handling fee and with which they aspired to captivate 1 million customers in five years.
To their surprise they achieved it in just 24 months, and from then on success has smiled on them tirelessly.
Unicorn company and pride of Latin America
The goals achieved in just a couple of years put something in evidence: Nubank it would continue to revolutionize banking at an unstoppable pace.
This allowed them to carry out new rounds of investment to enhance their operations and boost their growth.
They innovated with the launch of a digital savings account and also began offering specialized services to small businesses and entrepreneurs (including personal loans).
All these achievements allowed it to become a unicorn company. In 2018 it obtained $150 million dollars from its investors and in 2019 Nubank was cataloged as the “best bank in Brazil”, according to Forbes.
That same year the company transcended the Brazilian borders and began operating in Mexico and Argentina.
But what about Colombia, the homeland of David Vélez? Was it not included in his internationalization plans? Of course yes!
Last year Vélez spread the good news and said that “after 30 years and 30 million customers” he would be back in his country.
Three decades had passed since David gave a “see you later to Colombia”. But the time had come to reconnect with his roots.
Nubank had arrived in Colombia under the name of Wildebeestand once again, his mission was clear: to simplify the financial system and free Colombians from bureaucratic clutches.
A millionaire determined to donate his fortune
The story of David Vélez is really shocking. It is full of nuances, rises and falls. But above all, it is full of solidarity and altruism.
The most recent news about this millionaire has left more than one with their mouths open. He has confessed that he wishes to donate most of his fortune to solve social problems.
This decision was made in consensus with his wife, Mariel Reyes. Bloomberg He has noted that both are determined to support philanthropic initiatives by donating their wealth.
Both were encouraged to sign the initiative of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, known as “Giving Pledge”, which urges billionaires to donate to charitable causes.
His greatest desire is to create a platform for family philanthropy that offers new opportunities to disadvantaged children and youth in Latin America.
The story of David Vélez is still being written:
To say that the story of David Vélez is still being written is totally realistic. He still has many goals to accomplish through nubank, the world’s largest independent digital bank.
Although with more than 40 million clients and a recent investment of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., (Buffet’s company), more than one would find it hard to believe that he still has unfulfilled dreams.
David Vélez is a great example of overcoming, resilience, humility and empathy. He is much more than a brilliant entrepreneur. He is a man committed to social welfare and philanthropy.
So much so that he is not worried about losing his fortune. He will simply do it for a good cause and for this Colombian that is everything in life.
Continue reading: 7 Essential Characteristics for Entrepreneurs