Office Hours: I’m the Director of Product and Ops at Rappi – a Colombian unicorn and Latin America’s first super app. I’m Clara Gold. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Clara Gold and I’m the Director of Product and Ops at Rappi, where we’re on a mission to drive progress in our region through our platform for digital commerce.

I kicked off my career at Rappi as Vertical Head, where I drove growth mostly through building new verticals (partnerships, category management, ops). I then formed part of the adventure that is expanding Rappi to new markets, starting with Argentina – these were some of the best months of my life!

Following that experience, I moved to Mexico and became Head of Growth, fast-tracking my knowledge on how to aggressively drive 30% MoM growth and falling in love with scrappy automations.

Now, as Director of Product and Ops, I basically spend most of my time understanding Rappi couriers’ pains and constantly improving our product to make their lives easier and more productive.

This year, I decided to put my money where my mouth is in the form of angel investments for female founders. I’m committed to sharing my expertise on Growth, Operations, and Product or connecting them with investors, founders, and operators around the world.

Ask me anything about product, growth, ops, angel investing, being an entrepreneur in Latin America, expanding to new markets, being a digital nomad, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @claragold!Elphas – please ask @claragold your questions before Friday, June 10th. @claragold may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Thank you for sharing your evolution within this company! So helpful to others who are looking for models for their careers within high growth companies. I’m also an investor in women-led tech companies and part of an angel network doing the same. Have you banded together with other women investors to do you angel investing? What kinds of new companies (led by women) do you think are going to change the world?
Hey! There are very few female angel investors in Latam unfortunately :( But I'm obsessed with building a very strong women community in Latam - with founders, investors, artists, athletes, doctors, etc - so I'll work on that in the coming months ! I've seen some great companies in Talent building, Fintech and Proptech, but I still haven't found the gem that's gonna change the world! I'll keep you posted (I'll actually gonna try to build it myself ;) probably gonna fail but it's worth the try!!)
I think with your energy + experience there is no way you would fail at that. Especially if you found just the right problem to solve. If you ever want to chat with other women angel investors, let me know - can connect you to my group. I don’t know if anyone is investing specifically in LATAM but maybe! My email is [email protected]
I think with your energy + experience there is no way you would fail! Especially if you found just the right problem to solve. If you ever want to chat with other women angel investors, let me know - can connect you to my group. I don’t know if anyone is investing specifically in LATAM but maybe! My email is [email protected]
Thanks for joining Clara! I'm actually with an e-receipt data firm specialising in insights for the emerging markets (have ample coverage of Rappi and their competitors in the LatAm and other emerging markets – so if you need some data insights do let me know ;p). Would love to learn how you utilise data (and from which sources) + whatever else you did that helped you achieve that astonishing 30% MoM growth! Truly impressive. Well done.
Nothing groundbreaking! We had a VERY aggressive performance marketing strategy, both focused on user retention (cross selling and upselling) and user acquisition through FB and GG and activation campaigns. Bear in mind that it was very costly and we had the chance to have raised billions of dollars at that time. If not, I would highly recommend to focus on building an amazing product that has a good stickiness, and then you scale acquisition.
Hi @claragold! Your story is so cool- can you walk us through how you prioritize in your roles? For example, how did you choose which new verticals to build? how do you prioritize between product growth and product feature enhancements?
Hey! We optimized everything for growth, so when it comes to defining the product backlog, we try to assess the impact in incremental GMV for every new feature, and we rank them depending on impact and complexity!
Hi Clara! Thank you so much for sharing your story and taking our questions!! It's great to have you here with us. I recently graduated with my MBA and realized very late in the recruiting cycle that I want to seriously explore building products in emerging markets, specifically LATAM, in the next phase of my career. I would love to hear your thoughts on growth in the Mexico tech scene, how welcoming the scene is for expats (I'm American with Mexican roots), and career prospects in the region. It's an exciting time and I'm looking for ways to get involved despite being very far away in Europe for the moment! Thanks again, I really admire everything that Rappi has achieved and done for the region!✨
Hey Dani!!! Why doing an MBA? Come and work in a startup in LATAM directly, I guarantee you that you'll learn more (and it's wayyy cheaper ;)) ! The tech scene in LATAM and specifically in Mexico is amazing, a lot of great founders, the community is starting to be quite organized, and LATAM has become super sexy for investors from all over the world so it's a huge opportunity. It's a super welcoming place for expats, I'm French and being a foreigner is even a plus most of the time! How do you want to get involved?
Hi @claragold! Thanks for your response to my post and soo nice to hear about the community in MX! I love the culture there, the city, and the people, so really excited to hear that on the professional front that you also love it! :) To clarify, I've already graduated from my MBA BUT I got to do it at my dream program and experience living life abroad in three countries in the process (France, Luxembourg, Singapore)! It was actually during the program in Singapore that I realized building products in emerging markets + international expansions was something I wanted to explore professionally. In terms of getting involved, I'm not in a position to transition jobs right now, but I am looking for opportunities to get involved either through volunteering, working with startups, or even just participating in virtual events. If you have any suggestions for how to start dipping my toes in and exploring the local scene, perhaps organizations to stay connected or other advice, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you and take care 💖
Hi Clara! Love your story - thank you for sharing it with us! 🥰 You're an inspirational powerhouse! Three things about you really stand out to me - your intentionality, self-awareness, and leadership (of yourself and of others). On intentionality, what would you guess-timate as the ratio of being highly intentional to going with the flow for each of your career moves? Going a bit meta, what did you learn about yourself as you learned more about your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses with respect to work? And to close out, what are your major takeaways about leading teams as y'all were expanding into new territories? Appreciate your time in sharing insights and wisdom. 🙏
Hi Tiffany! Thanks for your words!Answering in order:Intentionality - 100% intentional :) No one gives you opportunity, you create them! You need to ask yourself the right questions: 1. What do I want to learn, 2. Who do I want to work with, and 3. What is a good spot to scale my career. Self awareness - I've spent the last 2 years working a lot on myself - fast tracking my personal growth with psychedelics - and what I learnt is how important is the human component for me. I don't really care about what I'm doing, the only thing that matters is who I am doing it with. People first, always. I also learnt that you can't be good at everything, knowing my strengths and weaknesses have made it possible for me to hire amazing talent that is really better than me in all my weak spots (they are better than me in general haha).Leading teams in expansion: hire fast, spend a lot of time training them so that you can move on to the next market to open. Hire people very scrappy-minded, very resourceful and very passionate because opening new markets is one of the most demanding role I ever had and you're gonna need very motivated people.
Hi Clara! Love these insights - thanks for sharing with us!I love that the first question you ask yourself is what you want to learn. The beginner's mindset is powerful and gets people places, especially in product!What you shared about who you're doing the work with before all else resonates with me in particular - I would not have finished my undergrad if I didn't have my friends in the same program. It's always interesting to learn how folks have gained greater self-awareness. Within the last 2 years, I also had some awakenings about myself (including some rude ones), which I attribute to unprompted journaling and learning about Islam and Buddhism. :)
Clara, it is so nice to meet you and thank you for making the time to be here with us!I have so much to say here but I will keep it brief! CONGRATULATIONS on all your growth - I have been so inspired to see Rappi's growth over the years (I remember when you had just started!) As a Cameroonian-Malagasy, I am bullish about emerging markets specifically in Africa and Latam so Rappi is another reminder that the future is in those markets! I recently watched this video of Mar Hershenson (from Pear VC) and she is sharing how Rappi singlehandedly contributed to the growth of the Colombian and even Latam tech ecosystem ( I'd love to connect with you because my experience is also in supporting expansion to new markets spec. bring global startups to the US market and this summer I am a digital nomad so I can use a lot of tips haha!Take care and thank you again for being here <3PS: Just read your LinkedIn profile - one of the best I have seen to date haha!
+1 re: your LinkedIn profile - I love how authentic you come across in your writing and how each point sounds like an entire book or even series of books on its own!
RIGHT! The BCG description was everything for me HAHAHA!
Thanks Tiffany! I love to write so much that I think that eventually I'll write a book about all those stuffs :)
Iynna, so nice to meet you! Anything you need, let me know!
Can't wait to connect!
Hi Clara, thanks for answering questions! Operations is such a broadly encompassing function that I would love to hear your take on what the role/mandate of operations is from your experience and how the ops department goes about accomplishing it.
Hey Megan! For me there are 2 kinds of Operations:1. Local operations = Operative work. Mostly focused on executing tasks that are very specific to the market and can't be automated (like in-person recruiting of couriers in my case for instance). The profiles you have here are less analytical, more execution driven.2. Central ops= driving the Ops product backlog, thinking about how to scale through automations, very data driven.The 2 teams should work hand in hand and you need a feedback loop between what local ops are seeing on the ground to better define your product backlog.To make them work together: data. Build a centralized scorecard and make sure you have a weekly meeting with Central ops, Local Ops, and Product and that everyone is aligned on the target and what needs to be done to reach them.
Hi Clara, exciting! What are some of your top lessons from expanding into new markets? What advice do you have for companies/people who are looking to expand to new markets in Latin America for the first time? Both hard and soft lessons would be super appreciated. Thank you!
My main lessons:- Build an expansion team with people who've been in the company for quite some time and are super resourceful with a scrappy and get-shit-done spirit- Build the launch playbook before sending people - what's the MVP you need to launch the market? - Split the time between executing and hiring (usually interview during the weekends or early morning / late night)- Go scrappy - as an example in Rappi, before we closed formal partnerships with big retailers, I just went and begged store managers to let the shoppers hang out in the stores, with no formal agreement whatsoever- Understand your customer - launching in Brazil is very different than launching in Argentina in terms of performance marketing for instance, you might need to communicate a different value prop
Thank you for joining @claragold! How did you transition from growth to product and ops? What was new/different in this new role? What skill sets already applied?
Hey! The transition was quite obvious honestly, when I was running Growth there were a lot of manual processes and investment inefficiencies, so I got frustrated and started to build super crappy all kind of automations to automate growth (mostly user segmentation, offer creation, performance measurement, investment optimization). But at a point, the scrappy automations couldn't scale so I sat with one of Rappi founders and told him that I had to migrate all this to a more stable product and that I wanted to lead the development. As for operations, when COVID hit, we had to scale 3X our fleet of couriers, so after doing it for users it was quite natural to go and do it for couriers. And the same process happened, first automations, then product. For me it's exactly the same skillset, people tend to think that Product is a really complex world with very specific hard skills. But not at all. It's the same skill set for Growth, Ops, and Product: super analytical, process oriented, growth mindset (always thinking on how to scale things), execution driven, and ability to build teams. Plug and play :)
Hi! I would love to talk to you. We're building a blockchain company a platform to help startups fundraise on the blochcain (receive crypto transfers and mint blokshares - tokenized equity- for their investors), we're struggling with product development.
Hi Xime! What part of product development are you struggling with exactly?
Hi! Ended up pivoting to a different idea. I’m actually working on launching first custom MVP. Already launched initial MVP on a shopify store, have revenue and enough feedback to start working on automating hahaha. Doing everything manually right now.