There’s financing news today: Yalochat closed a $15M B Round from B Capital, with follow-on from Sierra Ventures. The reason I’m writing this is that I’ve signed on as an advisor to Yalo; they’re a fun outfit and it’s an interesting story. Also, they’re hiring.

Yalo home page

I’m not going to explain what Yalo does; their website will fill you in on that, and the the TechCrunch coverage of the funding is a useful introduction.

What happened was, a long-time colleague whose judgment I respect reached out and said “I’m helping these guys with product issues but they could really use advice on the engineering side.” So I talked to Javier Mata, the founder/CEO, and he’s a charming and realistic guy, and very convincing about the business’s potential.

Now, their technology is focused on conversational UX and mostly runs on Kubernetes on GCP, so I’m not giving them advice at the which-are-the-best-APIs level. But I’m finding my experience from my own two startups useful, plus the lessons I learned in those years at Google and especially AWS.

They’re cheerful. They’re smart and practical and fun, and they’re solving hard problems. I think they might simplify a lot of people’s lives and make a lot of money while they do it.

While my engagement is just a few hours here and there, my life has taken on a bit of Latin flavor. The company is headquartered in Mexico City, and while they operate primarily in English, there are outbursts of Spanish. I needed a new browser environment to hold my Yalo interactions and reached for Microsoft Edge which, as a side-effect of Yalo onboarding, is now operating in Spanish. Which I studied for a few years back when I was in high school and dinosaurs walked the earth. Long-neglected sectors at the back of my brain re-activated and I’m actually enjoying it when I open an email and the two first fields are Para and Asunto.

In these Covid times, everyone’s retreated to their hometown, so I find myself in videoconferences with Guadalajara, Mexico City, Guatemala City, and Rio Dulce. The calls are clear and sharp. It’s pleasing that the Internet access is becoming solid in more and more parts of the world.


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August 20, 2020
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