UNCONVENTIONAL SUCCESS

Mexico 2016 | ICT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Lino Cattaruzzi, Country Director Mexico for Google, on the opportunities in the country, Google's evolution in Mexico, and its services that support SMEs.

Lino Cattaruzzi
BIOGRAPHY
Lino Cattaruzzi has been Google Mexico’s Country Director since May 2014. Previously, he was country director in Google Argentina and earlier had worked at Google’s headquarters in California, leading the global sales strategy team for online media solutions. He was also in charge of the online sales organization for Germany, Switzerland, and Austria while based out of Dublin. Before joining Google, Lino held several managerial positions at AOL Latin America, including president for Latin America and AOL's subsidiary in Argentina.

What is the significance of Google's presence in Mexico for its global operations?

Mexico is the second largest market in Latin America, both in revenue and number of users. Over half of the population in the country is connected to the internet, and the number is rising each year. Mexico is an emerging market with extraordinary opportunities. We can see this in the SME market, which represents 99.8% of the businesses in the country and plays a key role in the Mexican economy. The entrepreneur community is also an emerging business division that is thriving in the country and represents a new generation and a wave of innovation. Google is both aware and empathetic with Mexico's reality. We continuously create projects for SMEs to grow through digital platforms (like "Conecta tu Negocio" or "Google for Work") and empower startups with technology for them to develop and extend their reach like Google's Partner Space or its Launchpad Accelerator). We believe Mexico will lead a second wave of innovation in Latin America; it has all of what is needed.

How much of what you do in Mexico is focused on Latin America as a whole?

Google is not a conventional company. Teamwork and collaboration are our main principles. Teams in Google can be composed of members from all parts of the world and create projects that can be replicated globally. The Digital Skills for Vulnerable Populations project, for example, was a series of trainings for women to help them develop digital skills. We started the project in Mexico and began replicating the model in other Latin American countries. This also works the other way around; initiatives that began in Argentina, Brazil, or another country might be replicated here in Mexico, like Launchpad Accelerator. This project aims to foster the development of great ideas into successful high quality and locally relevant apps used by millions around the world by offering a financial investment and mentorship to targeted developers in emerging markets. It started in India, Brazil, and Indonesia and was launched in Mexico this past February. We do not believe in barriers, but in teamwork, creativity, and innovation.

How has the company's presence transformed over your 11 years here?

We have gone a long way in the past 10 years. A great example is the new six-story building we opened in 2015, which increases business opportunities and allows us to expand and give our users and clients better services and products. We are a user-driven company. We are focused on giving users relevant and useful information at the right moment. This means that we have to develop technology that fits users' needs and priorities, which is why we are a mobile-first business. We are proud to say that we are part of Mexicans' daily life, from the search engine that receives all kinds of queries every second, to Google's Public Alerts that helped when Hurricane Patricia was threatening to hit the Mexican shores. We also help businesses of all sizes grow through digital platforms, like FAMSA, a traditional Mexican company that created an innovative campaign in YouTube to engage users and get closer to their consumers. We have to stay relevant and strike for those moments when users need us.

How does Google support SMEs in Mexico?

Mexico is going through a digital transformation. We work each day to bring businesses closer to the potential of the web, especially SMEs. We have many initiatives to support small and medium companies in the country, to help them grow and simplify their processes through digital platforms. From 100% online businesses to traditional companies, we offer services that fit every need. One of our main initiatives for SMEs is Google My Business, a tool that helps any enterprise be more in touch with their consumers. Google also has different options for entrepreneurs to add digital elements to their strategies.