Latinx currently represent the largest minority group in the United States, making up 17 percent of the population. It has been forecast that by 2044 minority groups will make up the majority of the U.S. population, with Spanish becoming the most spoken language according to the Census Bureau.
Latinx representation in Congress is at an all-time high at 8.4%, with a record 45 members. We are also seeing more Latinos at the helm of publicly listed companies, such as Geisha Williams who became the CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric Company in March 2017. However, across various sectors from politics to tech, we are still a far cry away from parity in comparison to the U.S. population of Latinos.
In Cross Culture Ventures Culture as a Currency report published last year, 86% Latinos, 76% of Blacks, and 88% of Asians are early adopters and heavy consumers. The 10 Latinx founders we feature below understand this trend and are leveraging it to unlock new markets and opportunities that we believe will create products with specific use cases for this emerging majority group.
Julian, like many Latinos growing up in New York, recognized bodegas as a cornerstone of his local community. It represented home, with Latin food such as empanadas and Spanish being spoken by the majority of customers as they address each other and the owner of the bodega.
This experience inspired Julian to explore the intersection between bodegas and tech. As a result, he created, Access Bazaar with co-founder Yasser Toruno. Launched in 2016, the concept is to create a marketplace for bodegas to manage inventory, finances, and logistics. They have raised over $1m to date.
You can follow him here: @Product_J
It is not widely documented but Latinx have the lowest participation rate on LinkedIn of any minority demographic (just 18%). BeVisible creates a social network for authentic Latinx connections and participation in career opportunities.
Andrea is a Harvard Law graduate and she co-founded the company with CTO, Jose Barrios, and Silvia Travesani. The company started off at the Boomtown Accelerator in Colorado and received seed investment last year from Backstage Capital.
You can follow her here: @futureofwomen
Investors love backing entrepreneurs who have previously run startups. In 2012 Alessio’s local marketplace startup was acquired by Apontador. By 2014, he was at it again with Pipefy, a cloud-based Business Process Management software. Investors such as 500 Startups, FundersClub,and Redpoint Ventures have invested over $2.7m to date.
You can follow him here: @alessioalionco
Acorns app grew in popularity in 2016 as it allowed users to round up spare change and automatically transfer it to top up savings. Qoins works in a similar way but uses your spare change to pay off debts from student loans through to credit cards.
Christian Zimmerman alongside CTO and co-founder Nate Washington founded the app. They are currently bootstrapping in Atlanta and last year managed to help users of the app pay off a staggering $1m in debt.
You can follow him here: @christianzimm
Christian Zimmerman, founder of Qoins
Laura I. Gómez is an advocate of diversity in tech. Last year we saw headlines in mainstream media about the lack of diversity at tech firms such as Lyft, Facebook, and Google. Although the statistics look bleak, startups like Atipica are using data and tech to make a real difference.
The startup is a talent discovery engine that uses A.I. to help companies unlock the lifetime value of talent data. Laura worked at Twitter in its early stages and helped the founding team expand the product internationally before working at Jawbone, YouTube, Google Brasil, and AKQA London.
You can follow her here: @laura
A common theme with many of the founders featured is their desire to empower and equip their community with better products that are culturally tailored. Ramona is no different. She is the founder of online financial planning platform, “Mi Dinero Mi Futuro” (My Money My Future).
Ramona’s goal is to improve the financial literacy of underserved Millennials of color across the U.S. and enable them to build wealth. I signed up for her newsletter and I encourage you to check it out too!
You can follow her here: @ramona_ortega
Listo! is a socially responsible consumer financial services company that offers Latinx consumers in the US insurance products and loans with transparency and low fees. Cofounders Samuel Ulloa and Gustavo Lasala (former executives at Oportun) were born in Mexico and Uruguay respectively. To date, they have raised nearly $3m from Latinx focused VC, LEAP Global Partners.
You can follow him here: @SamuelUlloa1
Blockchain blew up in popularity towards the tail end of 2017 as cryptocurrency trading skyrocketed with Ripple, Bitcoin, and other coins attracting huge levels of investment. Paystand utilizes the blockchain to lower or eliminate transaction fees between Businesses.
Jeremy originates from Mexico and co–founded the company alongside VP of Product, Scott Campbell in 2013 with over $8m raised to date.
You can follow him here: @paystand
Former Paypal employee, Adolfo Babatz is a Mexican born MIT graduate and former Analyst at Carlyle Group Mexico. He co-founded Clip alongside Vilash Poovala, the company CTO. The startup has raised nearly $20m to date and provides a smartphone and tablet based card reader to merchants in Mexico.
You can follow him here: @adolfobabatz
Former employee at Hewlett-Packard and EMC, Susana Cipriota had experienced working across HR, Product Management, and Business Development before co–founding Funnely. The startup uses machine-learning to automate Facebook and Instagram ads for e-commerce merchants. Ciprota recently transitioned from her role at Funnely to Strategic Product Partnerships Manager at Facebook.
In an interview with CNBC, she quoted:
“Being a Latina in Silicon Valley has not been easy. We need to work harder together ... than any other company to show that a woman-led company can perform as well as those led by the boys, or even better.”
You can follow her here: @tulicipriota
As the tech sector strives to become more inclusive we need more Latinx representation on the founder and investor table to increase investment in this underserved demographic.
It is encouraging to see accelerators and VCs such as Latino Startup Alliance, Valor Capital, and LEAP Global Partners as well as investors like Christine Herron, Co-lead at Intel Capital from Latinx backgrounds.
In 2016, the National Foundation for American Policy found that over half of the 87 American billion-dollar startups had at least one immigrant founder. The report also shared that 760 U.S.-based jobs per company were created by these foreign-born entrepreneurs.
It is important as people of color continue to rise in tech that we help others up the ladder through either investing in more underrepresented founders or building cultures within our startups where everybody feels at home regardless of background.
Main Image: Ramona Ortega, founder of My Money My Future