Why Cencosud Ventures loves contrarian thinking

The way we buy things has been changing. Supercharged by the pandemic, the digital and physical sides of the retail experience continue to merge, data analytics continues to play an increasingly large role in how companies target and sell their products, and the consumer journey is, hopefully, getting easier and easier.

My guest today is Jose Pascual, head of Cencosud Ventures, the corporate VC unit of Chilean retail giant Cencosud, since its inception in 2021. Pascual, who goes by his nickname Pepe, talks me through the unit’s multi-faceted strategy, and how Latin America’s emerging market presents a host of opportunities for retailers across the region.

Pascual also talks about the value he sees in contrarian thinking, arguing that VCs need to look in the areas that most would not think to look, and defend their position and persist, even when facing pushback from colleagues within the parent company, as Cencosud Ventures has had to do.

He also explains, among other things, why the idea of “omni-channel” marketing could be going out the door, giving way to a “unified client” approach where companies look to understand the customer holistically in order to find better ways of reaching them.

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