Israel Pons

Israel Pons


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President of WBAF Angel Investment Fund

Don’t meet your mentor at a coffee shop – Israel Pons

“The most important thing for an entrepreneur is to understand that you don’t know it all”


CEO and Co-Founding Partner of Angels Nest LATAM, Angels Nest is an Angel Investment Network operating in Mexico and LATAM. It has been named “One of the most active Angel networks in Latin America” by XCALA (part of the Interamerican Development Bank). Angels Nest have many Angel Investors from Latin America, Canada, United States and United Kingdom.

Co-founder of Pitch at the Beach a global startups and investors event taking place in the most beautiful beaches around the world. More than 38 countries take part.

President of the WBAF Angel Investment Fund ($100Musd).

Senior senator for Mexico at the grand assembly of WBAF (World Business Angel Forum).

Partner (GP Assigned) in BillioNeurons USA based, it is a global investment fund focused on the AI industry. ($1Billion usd)

President of the Board of investors in “E-Uno” a VC fund based in Mexico and investing in the Agro-tech industry. ($20Musd)

Investor and advisor to Canadian fund, Brickhouse Ventures Ltd, invests in eSports, Sports and Entertainment Technologies. Listing companies in the Stock market in Canada.($100Musd)

Board advisor in Blue Forward Bio-marine (Blue sea economy) VC fund based in Luxembourg. ($300Musd).

Ambassador to Deal Gateway (Largest Family Office network) with presence in more than 35 countries and multi-industry portfolio.

Israel developed his academic and professional career during his 24 years in the UK, where he served 5 years as Operations Director for the largest leisure company in Europe, he became an entrepreneur and founded 4 companies in the UK, 3 of them were sold successfully. He became an Angel Investor and resides in Mexico.

Israel is Head of the Global Investors Department, WBAF Business School

He has given many conferences in different institutions such as universities, forums, exhibitions, innovation agencies amongst others; speaks on a varied related topic like entrepreneurship, innovation, Fintech, cross-border angel investing and crowdfunding in more than 12 countries.

* Israel has delivered training workshops and full courses, some of the subjects are:

  • Investment readiness
  • Become a Certified Mentor
  • How to become an Angel investor
  • How to make an Impactful Pitch
  • Legal structures for Angel Investors and VCs
  • How to conduct a valuation on a start-up
  • Crowdfunding and running a campaign to raise funds
  • Crossborder Angel Investment
  • Social Impact investing
  • Sustainable business model for social entrepreneurs
  • How to manage your investors (Angel,VC,Family office)

*Methodology delivered to more than 400 trainees from 32 countries

Israel believes that “Angel investment is about people and values and not just about money”.



Israel Pons

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

All right, Israel, thank you very much for joining us today. We like to move quick, so we’re going to jump right into things. And the best way for us to start is if you can share a little bit about your background, um, you know, the times that you spent building companies to all the way through everything from the beginning, I guess a little bit of a background and then kind of where you’re at today. And then one thing about you that nobody would know

Great, great, um, well, like, uh, as, as the audience have probably heard, I’m a mexican that was born and raised in Mexico in my young years.

Um, and eventually, all my professional life, I had the pleasure living in the UK for 25 years, uh, first eight years in London. So pretty much as most immigrants, like we all are, we end up working in an industry that we just fall into it.

It was the leisure industry, and I ended up working on my way from cleaning floors to being the director of expansion for the whole of Europe, for the number one company in the world on leisure entertainment. So uh because of that I thought okay yeah if I’m very good at doing things for a company with somebody else, maybe I should try it myself. So I jump in into being an entrepreneur. Little did I know that it was going to be one of the most uh hurtful and exciting times and I have never stopped since.

So I put three companies together in the UK. As an overall. Uh Two of them were fantastically, well uh made my ego grow even bigger on decision making and thinking that everything that I touched turned into gold and eventually on the third one, every single decision that I took of my own went wrong, I didn’t have a mentor, didn’t have an advisor, I thought I could do everything right. As most entrepreneurs, we think failure due to or ego.

And that company took me into a bankruptcy. So that was uh, lost. Absolutely everything was a great experience, something that trying not to repeat. And I think if there is a place where you can go on bank and bankrupt is in the UK, the English know how to do it really well anyway. And due to that, being an entrepreneur, I had some, you know, never stop having ideas, which is what entrepreneurs have tons of right, especially on a friday night after a few drinks in bed. And so I had two friends of mine who acted as angel investors and they invest together with me on a new project. It did pretty well and that’s how I got involved in angel investment. Somebody saved my neck,, invested in me.

They met me and they believed in me and eventually we did well. So I kept working and doing other things. But when I came back to Mexico, I thought angel investment is something very, very important to try and develop more in not just Mexico but Latin America, right? So close to the U. S. And Canada, you know, for our flight, but so far away in terms of, uh, entrepreneur legal systems. And yet, you know, we had a great opportunity to do and cross border, uh, doing a lot of things together that we just don’t seem to be able to do it.

And it’s just the differences between ecosystems. Uh, you know, these miles between one and so that’s a little bit of me, what people don’t know about me and I’d like to share. There are two things don’t just one. One is obviously they’re not going to know that when I was eight years old in order to buy myself a toy that my mom told me that I couldn’t buy in the supermarket. She offered to finance my entrepreneur idea of selling jelly in the streets of Mexico to buy myself a toy. So my first entrepreneurial experience was at eight years old, standing in the street corner Selling Jelly for 50 cents of every paso and uh, smiling white smile very well to uh, hair brushed and everything because I knew that most of the ladies that will work in the office is nearby will buy you buy a smile because as a small kid, that was a good looking kid later on, everything went wrong. But I sold enough to be able to buy my toy and some more. So that’s one thing and the other one is, um, I’m surrounded by, uh, I’m a minority at home.

I got five daughters and my wife and, uh, so, uh, in terms of gender equality is something very high on my personal agenda as it were and everything I look at, on entrepreneurs, central investors, everything.

That’s amazing. And I love the story of, uh, when you were a kid, uh, those stories always resonate because when we were doing talks with a group of high school students coming up and one of the whole line was that you’ve been an entrepreneur and you didn’t know it.

And I think a lot of people forget that they’ve actually done a lot of things to make money when they were kids.And I think that’s a really good start to kind of think about, wait, maybe I have been able to do this and I did this when I was a kid and you totally forget these little things you did to win and that’s a great story.

Yeah, yeah, that’s right. And what I, I don’t remember that and my wife tells me that, you know, as a kid, she used to go around during the newspaper rounds, right or going to wash the neighbors’ cars and uh, that’s an entrepreneur. You’ve given, given a solution and, and you getting some money in exchange for it and you get somebody a customer that’s really happy and be able to get you to wash their car the following weekend or to deliver the paper right. When in those times when there was paper rounds

For sure, why did the same when I had paper routes as a kid did lots of stuff like that, I would disappear for 5-6 hours to deliver a paper, wrote, it took me 20 minutes but I just enjoyed the walking around and doing things.

But it does remind me of when I think it was maybe our 50th show. My parents decided they wanted to come to see what I did and what we were running. So they showed up and then I had to kind of tell the crowd that my parents were there. But when they were coming in my mother said did you know that when you were a kid you took your dresser and you put your dresser in the closet and I said no.

She’s like yeah and then I would come and move it out and put it back in your room and then you’d stick it back in your closet. She’s like, I had no idea, I don’t know why I did it, but you couldn’t stand things in the room, you just wanted lots of space. And she said, what you actually invented was the closet organizer and you put your dresser in there to organize everything. And I was like, wow, why didn’t we turn that into an idea? Look how big that is now? She’s like, I know in hell and uh, little stories like that.

So they make you reflect on the things you did as a kid, right? Like I’ve got a million other ones that are funny, but it is fascinating how much of an entrepreneur is created as a kid. And when we get into this strict regime of, I need to be this grow up to be this, that you forget about all of these intuitive, innovative things you did as a kid that actually could have turned you into an entrepreneur sooner faster, quicker.

And some of that comes down to and you talked about this in a lot of the materials and a lot of the keynote stuff you talk about, which is on how mentoring works and being able to mentor these young startups, but I wonder if you find that this is actually something that could go even further back and start mentoring teachers and start mentoring parents so that they can start to see these skills that are buried in these