Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Vicente Fernandez - Co-Founder at Sportsmanias

Vicente Fernandez /Co-founder and chief content officer at Sportsmanias.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur? To be an entrepreneur you need to be passionate about what you are doing and you need to be incredibly persistent. There are plenty of moments where things don't go your way, and you need to really love your business to get through those times. You also need a mentality where failure isn't an option, which drives you to put in the hours necessary and make the appropriate pivots to avoid failure. 

What was your childhood ambition? There is a spanish Miami Children's Hospital commercial that I was interviewed for in the second grade. They asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response was, "I want to be a sports broadcaster." Today, I still want to be in sports media; I've just found something that is an even better fit with my ambitions and my ability in Sportsmanias.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Lunch is my preference, but I am available for any of the above.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success? The biggest sacrifice I had to make was giving up a year and a half of playing college football. I got recruited to play at the University of Chicago, but after my sophomore season I wasn't able to return to the team because of the amount of work Sportsmanias was requiring. Playing football had always been my passion, but Sportsmanias is everything I always hoped for out of a career.

What is your favorite quote? "Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability." - John Wooden. It is my favorite quote because it is about using the gifts you've been given, and about being competitive with yourself.

Is it difficult to be unconventional? I think it is and it isn't. It's not difficult to think unconventionally, but it is difficult to follow through on those thoughts and make them a reality.

Biggest mistake made? I believe I should have done more research before starting Sportsmanias. We hit the ground running and it was a steep learning curve. Thankfully it's paid off and I've learned more than I ever thought I would, but looking back I should have been more prepared for what was on the horizon.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why? I do consider myself an innovator because I love creating things. I love writing, filmmaking, ideas, and entrepreneurship. And the string that ties all of those interests together is innovation. There is nothing that gets me more excited than new creative projects.

What did inspire you to start your business? My goal has always been to find success in sports media, but the inspiration for Sportsmanias actually came from my co-founder and mom, Aymara Del Aguila. She had the idea of starting a social sports website, and I took that idea and helped mold it into what Sportsmanias is today.

How did you finance it? The initial capital was provided by my co-founder and mom, Aymara Del Aguila, who has owned her own advertising agency for 25 years. She is a true entrepreneur in her vision and ability to execute. Our Angel Round was financed by Mas Equity Partners, who has provided capital, strong ideas, and a great network. Their partnership has been instrumental in our growth. 

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business? I would say being Hispanic has influenced the person I am, which has in turn influenced my business. From a very early age my family instilled a sense of hard work and determination in me. They made me appreciative of my Cuban-Venezuelan heritage and the sacrifices my family made to give me the opportunities I have in my life. That appreciation motivates me to work that much harder because I know whose legacy I am representing. Being Hispanic has also given me the opportunity to connect with and learn from Hispanic mentors, which has helped me develop as an entrepreneur. 

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going? There is no option for me but to keep going. Everything I have ever worked for has led me to this point and when I face adversity I am reminded that I can't let the opportunity slip. Understanding just how fortunate I am to be in this situation, and the amount of work other people have done to get me here, pushes me through the adversity. 

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced? The biggest challenge was having ideas to improve Sportsmanias, but not being able to implement them because of a lack of funds. Thankfully, we were able to overcome the challenge by raising our Angel Round, and finding the perfect partner in Mas Equity Partners. 

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be? There are plenty of things that can be improved with Sportsmanias and we are constantly working to make the changes necessary to optimize our product. We are relaunching our website in November with an updated look and feel that will be cleaner and more user-friendly. That is just the first of a range of improvements that will continue guiding Sportsmanias towards our ultimate vision for the company.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire? I admire my mom. She is an entrepreneur that I get to look up on a day-to-day basis. I've never met a person with the ability to take calculated risks like she does and to work through endless pressures. I've learned so much from her. Two other entrepreneurs I admire are Bill Simmons, who founded Grantland and the ESPN 30 for 30's, and Steve Jobs, for his work with Apple and Pixar.

About the company: Sportsmanias is the easiest, fastest, most complete source of team news on web and mobile. The sports news aggregator for diehard fans, Sportsmanias displays 24/7 professional news as personalized feeds. Fans are delivered news, tweets, videos and rumors about the teams they love by the beat writers that cover them, along with scores and schedules. The team continually refines the sports news experience from offices in Miami and New York. Straight from the guys who get it. Sportsmanias gets it to you. 
Vicente Fernandez is the co-founder and chief content officer at Sportsmanias, one of the fastest growing sports media companies in the digital space. A fourth-year at the University of Chicago and Sports Launch 30 Under 30 recipient, Vicente is also a writer and filmmaker who is currently the sports editor for the Chicago Maroon and the co-founder/president of Maroon TV.

For the true diehard sports fan, Sportsmanias is the easiest, fastest, most complete source of team news on web and mobile. Personalized to the diehard, there is no better way to follow your favorite teams every minute of every day. Tweets, news, rumors, videos, schedules, and standings. Sportsmanias has it all in one place. Launched in 2012, Sportsmanias is one of the most innovative companies in sports digital media. The Sportsmanias app is available on iPhone and Android.

Vicente Fernandez Social Network Handlers 

Twitter handle: @VicenteFernan27
Linkedin page:

Sportsmanias Twitter handle: @ Sportsmanias
Sportsmanias Facebook page:

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