Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez is an entrepreneur with successful ventures in FMCG, Ride Sharing, Energy and the rapidly evolving post-covid labor market. After working on these capital and infrastructure projects in Venezuela, he decided to put his energy into energy markets. In a few years, more than 70,000 homes were able to connect to more than 11 power plants around the country. The capital improvement project also employed hundreds.
“When it comes down to it, my drive is to try to support the right ideas and prove that I wasn’t wrong on the right ideas I’m supporting, making them able to grow, and prove that I can add value to the different things I choose to be part of,” he said.
The Growth of Hawkers
“Building projects, making them successful, making them sustainable, and trying to find new challenges constantly, I think is my main drive,” Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez shared.
One project that captured his attention and benefited from his expertise was Hawkers, a line of high-quality yet affordable sunglasses. A company called Hawkers was started by four Spanish college students who bought $300 worth of low-end sunglasses in the U.S. and sold them on local classified sites.
Consumers responded well, since they liked the look but also liked the price – at that time, sunglasses were either cheap, looked bad and broke easily, or were designer brands with big price tags.
Hawkers had a low price point but also looked like the expensive ones. People liked them but the students didn’t necessarily have the business background to scale up the operation larger. The company faced financial challenges as well, and the owners knew they needed capital to grow.
So, they connected with Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, who immediately saw the business potential of Hawkers. Along with investing his money to financially stabilize the company in 2017, he also offered his business skills to help the company achieve larger goals.
It worked: in the first three years, it sold 2 million pairs and earned 70 million euros. The next year, sales and profits doubled. Another round of funding raised more capital.
He, and the company, continued to get creative with types of lenses and the materials used in the glasses are made. Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez also came up with innovative ways to get Hawkers in the hands of celebrities and other influencers, such as providing them to designers, publicists, and photographers.
Along with looking for different challenges, Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez enjoys looking for different business sectors that could have the potential for growth. Lately, this includes technology, which can take many forms.
For the last few years, he’s enjoyed the idea of ride sharing, which basically allows anyone to drive anyone anywhere, and make money at it. Companies like Uber and Lyft have basically disrupted taxis, shuttles, and other companies that have fleets of vehicles that need storage and maintenance.
“I got very, very interested in understanding this player, Uber, has moved into a traditional sector and disrupted it completely,” he said. “I’m interested in not just how the value is disrupted between the different participants, but how it’s captured and is overshadowed.”
Although Spain does have rules against these types of ride share services, he found other ways to bring this technology here without being too disruptive.
A company called Auro Travel was established. To avoid too much competition and perhaps traffic, the number of licenses is capped. Auro also has its own app to make it easy for people to book trips.
It also created a separate division called Arrow Travel which began acquiring some of the available licenses in anticipation of them running out.
“I see us expanding beyond Spain and even challenging the big transportation players in Europe,” he said.
Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez is always thinking of future opportunities for services and products which can be helpful.
“Disruption doesn’t happen all the time, but it is happening impressively in many sectors, and some older areas or markets are tarnished, and new ones are always being created and evolving,” he said. “This is something that has caught a lot of my time and attention. I think beyond me, many people are very excited about what’s going on in the world today regarding the evolution and transformation of how everything is done.”
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