Carlos García Otatti is a Venezuelan entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Kavak, the first Mexican startup to become a unicorn.
• 2011 University of Oxford, Master in Business Administration
• 2006 Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Bachelor in Economics
Carlos García Otatti was born in Venezuela, where he studied Economics at the Andrés Bello Catholic University, and began his professional career as a market analyst and brand manager for Bolpriaven and Alfonzo Rivas & Cia, respectively.
Later, in 2010, Carlos began his MBA studies at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, where he was entered as a postgraduate intern at Amazon, to later join the ranks of the prestigious consulting firm Mckinsey & Company in 2012.
In 2014 Carlos traveled to Mexico City to direct the Linio regional office. Before moving from Colombia to Mexico, Carlos had to sell his car, but the sale process was a disaster: he lost money in Colombia and in Mexico, he was scammed. From this experience, the idea of creating Kavak emerged.
When Carlos was working in Linio, he sketched the creation of Kavak together with her sister Loreanne and Roger Laughlin Carvallo. In September 2016, they bought a used-car lot and sold their first car online, a Jetta model 2014. Since then, Kavak has grown a 25% by month on average.
In Mexico, there are seven million car transactions each year, most of them between individuals. Meanwhile, only 5% of sold cars were financed. Carlos considers that Kavak is also a fintech because it offers fintech Kavak Capital, a service that allows financing 60% of sales. Due to the pandemic, car sales peaked with online sales and Carlos found an opportunity for expansion.
Kavak earns money in each transaction. For that reason, venture capitalists have seen in the company a great investment opportunity. Kavak received 400 million dollars from Mountain Nazca, Kaszek Ventures, QED Investors, General Atlantic, among others. In October 2020, after an investment round with SoftBank, Greenoaks Capital, DST Global, and Kaszek Ventures, the company reached a valuation of over 1 billion dollars, becoming the first Mexican startup entering the Three Comma Club.
With the last funding, Kavak started to build three refurbishing centers in the State of Mexico, to open exhibition spots and to expand in South America. At the end of 2020, Kavak entered Argentina. At the beginning of 2021, the company started to operate in Brazil.
According to Carlos, his company Kavak is like Spotify and Toyota had a child together. His team developed a complex technological and data system for customizing the experience. However, they also need to deal with the complex manufacturing, logistics, and operation of a company such as Toyota.