Brian Requarth and Gina Gothliff
“At On Deck, the resounding thought in everyone's minds is 'you get what you put in.' And the reason why that's a resounding thought is that it's true. “
Gina and Brian are the co-founders of Latitud (latitud.com), a community that helps top doers and thinkers of Latin America build the next generation of world-class tech companies.
Gina is also a marketing consultant and former VP of Marketing at Duolingo, the language learning company, and ran digital marketing for presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg. She holds a BA in Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Foreign Languages from Brandeis University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Brian is an investor and founder of Viva Real, a real-estate marketplace where he served as CEO and Chairman. In 2020, he sold Viva Real for over half a billion dollars to OLX Brazil. Brian graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Spanish. He is currently based in the Bay Area.
Why Brian joined On Deck:
I was in a transition period after having sold my company. I wanted to figure out what was next for me, and thought On Deck would be a great place to figure that out.
I was also looking at doing community building in Latin America, where I build my startups. From that standpoint, I was drawn to the fact that ODF was related to a lot of things that I had been thinking about.
Why Gina joined On Deck:
I was also trying to figure out what to do next. I was pretty sure that I wanted to start my own company. The idea of community was in my mind a lot, and two entrepreneurs I knew in New York recommended I check out On Deck. One of them, who had done ODF before, really recommended it, saying it had been a great experience.
I wanted structure while I was trying to figure out how to start a company. Even though I knew the steps, I thought it would be a lot easier to stay on course and learn the details if I were a part of a community. On Deck also seemed like a great opportunity to meet amazing people, which ended up being true.
How Gina and Brian first connected during ODF:
Brian: We were both on a session around newsletters. I introduced myself saying something like 'hey, I'm Brian, I want to do something that is a little bit like what On Deck and YC are doing but for Latin America'. All of a sudden, I get this slack message from Gina saying 'I want to do that too! We need to talk.'
Gina: I was literally in the middle of a forest at the time, I'm not joking. I remember sitting near a tree watching the session and thinking: 'who is this guy who is doing what I want to do?' So I messaged him. We chatted on one of the following days and both realized that we had lots of similar interests and were drawn to the same kind of mission.
How Latitud sprouted from their ODF connection:
Gina: Weirdly, we just happened to be very close to each other. I was driving cross-country to Napa and Brian lives in Sonoma. So we decided to do a socially-distanced meetup and get to know each other a little better.
We ended up talking about Latin America, and how there are these huge problems to be solved there, but at the same time, there are incredible entrepreneurs with so much drive. Then we started talking about why we don't see as many successful startups come out of the region, and why. Brian told me about his perspective after having build three different companies in Latin America. I told him about my experience helping American companies internationalize, and what that looked like. That's where the conversation started to evolve.
Brian: From that point onwards, we just started having a bunch of meetings in my backyard here in Sonoma County. We had a couple of lunches together too and before you know it we had started Latitud.
Their favorite part of the ODF experience:
Gina: I enjoyed the sessions, but to me, the best part was meeting awesome people. I was having really interesting and fruitful conversations about the future of the world every day.
Finding those people with whom I shared passions, holding conversations with them, and keeping each other accountable allowed my brain to just come up with a bunch of ideas and think a little more in a structured way about what it was that I might want to do. I also made a lot of friends that are completely unrelated to starting a company, just people I like to talk to.
Brian: For me, ODF was just very timely because it accelerated all these relationships that I wanted to build, but couldn't due to the backdrop of the pandemic. When you're on your journey, it's a lonely journey, right? ODF felt like being catapulted into a community.
The community as a whole, the sense of camaraderie, and the friends that you meet were my favorite part of ODF. The most fruitful part was obviously that I met Gina and we ended up starting Latitud together.
I always thought that someday I would do an MBA. I ended up dropping that idea to go start a bunch of companies. On Deck was like the part of the MBA I probably would have liked.
Advice for incoming fellows:
Gina: Make time. It's true that On Deck is a buffet and you get what you put in and that it is very flexible, but it is also a lot. ODF is like drinking from a firehose. If I hadn't made the time, I don't think I would have so many valuable connections.
Brian: I want to second what Gina said. At On Deck, the resounding thought in everyone's minds is 'you get what you put in.' And the reason why that's a resounding thought is that it's true.
“But where I get the most value is the community sessions or following someone’s thread on Slack and then reaching out to them directly. Everyone is so willing to share their time and expertise. That’s huge.”
"The level of helpfulness from founders who are further along than you and lived through the challenges you’re facing was above and beyond 99% of what I’ve found in other places."
“On Deck helped me raise $750k for my startup, 1v1Me, but then we raised an additional $1.25M a month or two later. Now, my foot is on the gas scaling 1v1Me 24/7. However, what I will say is I always make time for On Deck.”