The story of Startup GDL is the story of the entrepreneur. The dreamer. The disruptor. The risk taker. That restless soul possessed by a vision for a better world who ventures into unchartered lands without maps or guideposts, navigating risk and uncertainty. Again and again. All for the joy of creating new life and new value for the world.
Startup GDL was born out of the experience of one such individual, Bismarck Lepe, the founder and Chairman of Startup GDL who is a serial entrepreneur and investor with nearly 20 years of experience in The Silicon Valley’s tech industry. The son of Mexican immigrants who came to the U.S. as migrant farm workers when he was five, Bismarck learned that “opportunity” is what we choose to do with the circumstances we are given.
As a student at Stanford at the epicenter of Silicon Valley’s dot com boom in the 1990s, Bismarck committed himself to learning everything he could from anyone who would teach him about the growing internet industry. For years, he worked nights, weekends and in between classes at a variety of startups while launching several of his own before settling in at a then still up-and-coming (and unproven) startup called Google.
As an early employee at Google he witnessed the company's, he witnessed Google’s early growing pains and its eventual rise to become the global force that it is today. He also gained the hands-on skills and relationships he would later need to build Ooyala--a video platform company that sold for nearly half a billion dollars--and, later, Wizeline, a global software company with nearly 300 employees building AI-driven enterprise applications for some of the largest companies in the world.
As it grew, Ooyala searched the world for the best place to grow more affordably via offshore operations. It chose Guadalajara for five main reasons: 1: its long standing, well developed high tech manufacturing base coupled with strong academic institutions that produce thousands of high tech engineers and entrepreneurs each year; 2: its stable and globally integrated regional economy; 3: its business friendly and visionary public institutions and leaders; 4: its strong cultural, economic and geopolitical ties with the U.S. and 5: its low cost, high-quality of life.
Based on Ooyala’s experience building and managing a world class team from Guadalajara, Wizeline began its offshore operations in Guadalajara from day one, growing its team from 30 to 200 in one year. This experience brought to light a huge opportunity for other global tech companies to thrive in Guadalajara while simultaneously building the capacity of local engineers and entrepreneurs. To support these twin goals full time, Startup GDL was launched as an independent, nonprofit organization in 2016.