Meet Juan Mora (Tech '15)


Juan Mora, angel investor, likes think of himself as more angel than investor. He has an eye for the incredible work of socially entrepreneurial start-ups and allows his sincere interest in people, community and impact to guide him in each of his investment decisions. Read about his REALITY journey and what he left behind in Israel as well as what he took home and continues to carry with him.

REALITY: Describe what you do and how you are trying to make an impact.

Juan: Professionally, I’m an angel investor, but I like to think that I’m more angel than investor. I am an explorer at heart and I feel comfortable taking risks when an idea is compelling enough to create impact. In my work, I focus on helping entrepreneurs and start-ups take their first steps rather than focusing on the possible profits that we can get from investment in that particular business.

When reviewing a potential project, I consider three things before making an investment decision. First, I focus on the entrepreneur; is he or she a good person trying to make a real impact on the world? I want to know the story of their life and what is the motivation that drives them. The second thing that I consider is the problem they are trying to solve with their work. And finally, I want to know if the proposed solution is exponential and whether it can solve the problem in a meaningful way.

REALITY: How did you get connected with REALITY?
Juan: A co-investor in one of my investments was a REALITY alum. When I heard about what REALITY was, I was definitely intrigued. I love the idea of people gathering together around ideas. He suggested my name to Schusterman and I was invited to join the 2016 REALITY Tech journey.

REALITY: What was the most meaningful moment on your REALITY journey?

Juan: I think that the moment that I remember the most is the moment that I had to share my artifact with the group. It was an important for me because I discovered in that precise moment that when you have a story that you think may bring you shame when sharing it, you can convince yourself that by keeping that story inside, you are protecting it somehow. But in that moment when I shared my story and my artifact, it became a vessel for healing in many ways. Suddenly, I saw this story existing outside of myself, and I realized in sharing my story that it just wasn’t as big as it was when I held it in. This is an invaluable gift that REALITY gives the people who come on these trips.

REALITY: How did REALITY impact your personally?

Juan: REALITY has influenced my capacity to think about my role in a community and the importance of living my life with certain values. That week of REALITY allowed me to see a lot of amazing values that I can use to guide my life.

REALITY: How have you shifted reality since your return?

Juan: I was invited to help organize a Shabbat dinner in order to raise money to feed people in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria. That night we raised $23,000 to support a relief fund working to provide those meals, and that money ultimately resulted in 5,600 meals.

REALITY: Since REALITY, how do you “do” Shabbat?

Juan: I understand the meaning of Shabbat as a moment of disconnecting with “doing,” and connect with “being.” That is what we try to do on Friday. It’s a moment for my husband and I to connect as a couple, and when we’re with friends, it’s a moment to connect with them. And that’s how we “Shabbat.”

REALITY: What do you want the REALITY community to know about you?

Juan: More than anything, I would love to learn more about members of the community. I am interested in continuing to learn about communities and shared values and what makes a community thrive. I see a community in REALITY that is rooted on very strong values and i cherish that. I like to think about and talk about how those values can be carried forward to other people in other communities.