Entrepreneurial Hustle: Limitless Driver of Global Prosperity

The North Face of Mt. Everest, Base Camp, Tibet in July 2000. Many compare business success to reaching mountain summits. The journey is as important as the destination in entrepreneurship. Photo: Javier Saade

Hola, me llamo Javier. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and now live in Washington DC with my wife Lori and our rescue mutt Piper. To say that I consider myself lucky is true but I also have hefty reserves of energy and curiosity.

The professional experiences that have shaped me blend entrepreneurial, investment, advisory and executive leadership roles in companies big and small, including McKinsey & Co, Booz Allen, Abbott Labs, Bridgewater Associates, The GEM Group, Pacific Community Ventures, Paradigm Ventures and Air America Media. It’s been a wild ride.

Augmenting my private sector background, I had the incredible privilege to have served in President Obama’s administration as a senior official focused on innovation, investment, finance and high-growth entrepreneurship. It gave me a front row seat to America’s incredible job creation machine and its trillions of dollars in economic activity generated by tens of millions of small businesses. Since inception, the programs I was humbled to lead have invested over $120 billion in about 320,000 companies. Those companies include many iconic American success stories that include Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, Tesla, Sun Microsystems, Genentech, FedEx and Amgen. All of them, and I mean ALL, started as tiny startups with seismic ideas.

A few days ago, I began the latest chapter of my career and joined venture capital firm Fenway Summer Ventures as Managing Director. It would be a huge understatement to say I am excited. Chopping wood with the inimitable Raj Date and the rest of our incredible team will be a blast.

We support bold pioneers solving massive challenges at the intersection of finance and technology. I have lived around this intersection for some time and believe it holds significant promise for many reasons. Fenway Summer’s job is to invest in brilliant change makers and help them build lasting enterprises. The team’s combination of financial services, technology, capital markets, and credit expertise coupled with deep regulatory, policy and industry knowledge gives us unique perspective and insight. All of this energy is devoted to over two-dozen companies in our portfolio — and here is the best part — entrepreneurial companies create jobs, value, and innovations that strengthen society and stretch the frontiers of possibility.

As a recently elected Trustee of the Organization of American States’ Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) my role is to help spearhead and govern this amazing NGO. PADF mobilizes public-private partnerships focused on micro enterprise, social entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility, justice and human rights, civic development and disaster recovery. About $350 million has been deployed in the last few years and we touch the lives of many tens of millions of citizens across Latin America and the Caribbean. The power of entrepreneurship, through this lens, is no less impressive and awesome than the one I would use as a venture capitalist.

Iconic view of our venue. Photo: Stanford

Stanford rocks and is a great venue for the last installment of this incredible summit. I look forward to meeting men and women from all over the world who aren’t afraid to think big, take risk, and dare. Having had my share of failures and successes, I can tell you that the entrepreneurial journey — with its 20-hour days, paranoid hyper-competition, risk and breakneck speed — is by far, one of the best paths to economic prosperity, for people and the economies they power.

Nos vemos pronto en California!