Miami-Based Tech Guru Andrea Arnau Joins Shark Tank: Colombia As A Judge

Andrea ArnauPhoto Credit: Sony Pictures Television

South Florida waters have been known to invite sharks here and there, but starting in September, Miami’s got a shark out of water. Local tech executive Andrea Arnau, Chief Marketing Officer of Wynwood-based Rokk3r Inc., will start as one of two investors on the next season of Shark Tank‘s Colombia adaptation. Season 3 will kick off Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. (GMT-5), on Canal Sony, one of the most-watched pay-TV networks in Colombia. It’s one more than 35 countries where the hit TV show has been successfully adapted, drawing millions of viewers every week.

A former digital marketing executive who’s worked with names such as Hyundai, Bud Light, and McDonald’s Arnau is a marketing expert whose career today revolves around spearheading Rokk3r’s growth marketing initiatives in Latin America, Europe, Canada and the U.S. As an investor on Shark Tank: Negociando con los Tiburones, Arnau met dozens of entrepreneurs and evaluated their business ideas, drawing from her experience as a high-level executive at Rokk3r, where she and other partners have played a role in co-building more than 40 tech startups around the world since 2016.

Here, Haute Living sits down with tech guru and television personality Andrea Arnau—who’s serving as one of the two female investors on Shark Tank: Colombia—to learn all about the new season, the evolution of the digital marketing industry, her tips for betting on a winning company and more.

HL: You have a major digital background. What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve witnessed over the past five years within the digital marketing industry?

AA: The ecosystem has become more complex with more players. More brands have joined, so it’s a more saturated industry than it ever has been. Given that large amount of activity, consumers are also more difficult to surprise and meaningfully engage with, making it more important to generate quality content and create a cohesive identity for brands. At the same time, and maybe even as a cause of that lack of differentiation, is the fact that creative execution has become ubiquitous—just about anyone with a certain amount of skills can take a great picture, write good copy and do decent design work. So it’s easy to participate, but increasingly difficult to stand out.

Tell us about Rokk3r Inc. Why did you choose this as your next move?

Rokk3r is a Miami-based tech company builder, which means we work hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs and with existing companies to help them build new value propositions using technology, so those value propositions can become new companies that have the potential to grow globally and exponentially. Such technologies could be Artificial Intelligence with some companies or Internet of Things with others—it always differs, but we always aim to show people how they can take things to the next level with the help of technology.

I joined Rokk3r because that one-on-one, fast-paced impact would be a great new challenge for me. I was looking for a place where I could continue working with technology and creating great client/consumer experiences, but where my creativity and drive could contribute to projects at a larger scale. I wanted to get more involved with key aspects of the business to expand beyond just marketing/communications. I also wanted to be surrounded by people who had different talents, specialties and backgrounds than my own. At Rokk3r, for example, I work very closely with one of the general partners Lorenzo de Leo—an Italian who has a Ph.D. in mathematics. I value interacting with people who I can learn a lot from and that type of professional diversity isn’t as easy to find in other industries.

What about the company appealed to you?

I was very intrigued by the way Rokk3r dreams big and executes with the aim of building companies that change the world. I wanted to be part of that.

How does it feel to be one of the two female investors appearing on the upcoming season of Shark Tank: Colombia?

It is an honor to have such an extraordinary opportunity. It is definitely a privilege to be able to talk to founders in Colombia and find out more about all the things they are doing to improve the way people live. I was born and raised in Colombia, so I was particularly excited to contribute to the show.

What was it like being part of this show?

It was definitely something new to me in a lot of ways. I thought being in front of a camera and having to make decisions so quickly was going to be very difficult. I stressed a lot about it before we started. Think about it—that’s such a different dynamic than being at your office or having a conversation with an entrepreneur one-on-one over coffee! But as soon as we started recording, I had to be so focused on every single pitch that I stopped worrying about the cameras and the lights very quickly.

Andrea ArnauPhoto Credit: Sony Pictures Television

Favorite aspect?

I would have to say meeting so many entrepreneurs from my home country. There was so much talent and so many good investment opportunities. I learned so much from all of them.

What can we expect to see?

A lot of interesting companies in almost every industry. Also, priceless advice from all the Sharks that hopefully will educate and inspire many entrepreneurs in Latin America and all viewers interested in taking the leap into entrepreneurship.

What do you look for when betting on a company?

I look for founders who are really committed to solving a problem that is important to solve. Companies that will make the world a better place. I also look for founders and ideas that have the potential to grow outside of Colombia. The world is becoming smaller and the markets are bigger for every company that wants to conquer the world. We are in a moment in time when the entire world population can be your customer base, not just the people in your city, state or country. Technology is a key player in that evolution. It has never been this possible to be big and have a real impact that transcends borders.

What differences in the economy do you see between the U.S. and Colombia?

People in Colombia are still hesitant to dream big. They need more reasons to believe in themselves and their possibilities. The government and the private sector also have room to participate more actively. The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Colombia, like the United States’, isn’t short on talent or passion. But unlike the States, it is still lacking ambition and confidence.

Greatest takeaway from the experience?

The amount of ideas we saw confirms that Latin America is a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. This experience has been transformational from a professional and personal point of view. I will definitely do it again.