Serial Entrepreneur & Former Minister of Innovation, Buenos Aires
Andy Freire (46) is a serial entrepreneur both in the business and social sectors. After starting his career at Procter & Gamble, Andy co-founded and led Officenet (purchased by Staples in 2004), a company that revolutionized the industry of distribution (retail) of office supplies in Latin America with investors including Goldman Sachs, GE Capital, George Soros, JP Morgan Chase, Warburg Pincus, KKR, THLee, GP Investimentos and Banco Santander. Andy led Officenet to grow organically from zero to over 80M USD in sales and almost 1,000 employees in a five year span. A case called “Officenet: how to make entrepreneurship work in Argentina” was written by Harvard Business School and taught at over 25 universities including the universities of Stanford, Chicago, Columbia, Georgetown, Instituto de Empresa (Madrid) and Commercial University of Paris. Andy also co-founded Axialent where he served as chairman and CEO until December 2011. Axialent is a global consulting and corporate training firm with operations in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Axialent helps Fortune 500 firms foster a culture of innovation and accountability with real customer focus. In 2011 Andy cofounded Quasar Ventures, a company builder of tech companies. Through Quasar, Andy co-founded Restorando.com, the leading restaurant booking platform in Latin America, Sirena a sales lead generator tech platform in Latin America and Trocafone.com, a buy and sell platform for refurbished smartphones based in Brazil.
At a social level, when he was 18 years old, Andy co-created Initiative Foundation, an NGO focused on promoting leadership values among the Latin American youth. More than 10,000 students participated in Initiative Foundation events. Andy collaborated regularly as “expert entrepreneur” with CNN en Español and Telefe Noticias and currently serves weekly with Beto Casella in Rock&Pop FM and Guido Kazca in FM100, both the top FM radio shows in Argentina. Andy also founded and led as TV anchor “A Million to Start Up”, a reality show featured in the #1 TV station in Argentina. His awards include “Global Leader for Tomorrow” in 2000 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), “Latin American Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2001 by Endeavor Foundation, and “World Young Business Achiever” in 2002. Andy was also named in 2008 one of the 100 “Young Global Leaders of the World” by the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. More recently, Andy served as Minister of Modernization, Innovation and Technology in the Buenos Aires City Government and as elected member of the Buenos Aires Congress.
Andy has participated as guest professor or guest speaker at several universities including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, NotreDame, Wharton, and IE in Spain. He published five books related to innovation, and social and for-profit entrepreneurship and his book “Passion for Entrepreneurship – From Idea to Crude Reality” was #1 best selling business book in Argentina for five months in a row since publication.
Andy served as chairman of Endeavor Foundation in Argentina, chairman of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) in Argentina, board member of the Steering Committee of the Young Global Leaders of the WEF and member of the Global Latin American Council of the WEF. Andy also served until 2017 as member of the Global Advisory Board of Harvard Business School.
Andy has a Licenciatura in Economics with honors magna cum laude from the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires, and is an OPM (33) from Harvard Business School. Andy is married and has four children.