4 Latinx Entrepreneurs Who Overcame the Odds
September 24, 2021 |
The C2FO Team
Building a business isn’t easy, but it’s especially challenging for entrepreneurs of color.
Today the number of Latinx-owned US businesses stands at an estimated 4.4 million — a growth rate of nearly 40% over the last decade. The tremendous increase in the number of Latinx entrepreneurs has kept pace with the growth of the Latinx community as a whole in the United States. In 2012, one out of every six Americans was Latinx, according to the US Census Bureau. By 2060, the organization predicts that ratio will be one in three.
Hispanics who immigrate to the US are almost twice as likely as native-born Americans to start their own businesses, according to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
That study also found that Latinx-owned startups often face an uphill battle in raising the capital they need to prosper and grow — the failure rate for those businesses is higher than those founded by white or Asian entrepreneurs.
However, the history of Latinx entrepreneurship in the US is rich with success stories. Here’s a quick look at four of the more notable Latinx business owners who overcame the odds to develop industry-leading products in recent years:
Daniela Corrente | Co-founder and CEO of Reel
Daniela Corrente co-founded Reel, a digital savings card platform, in 2017 to help people make big purchases without racking up credit card debt. As CEO, her mission is to create a different approach to financial independence by connecting saving with shopping to ease people into feeling more comfortable with their cash flow.
Corrente’s passion for consumer finance was born from her first credit card experience after moving to the US for college from her native Venezuela in the early 2000s. Armed with a $2,000 credit limit and “feeling rich,” Corrente got a crash course in debt after experiencing high interest rates and getting caught in a cycle of repayment. She created Reel to help others understand that debt isn’t the only way to achieve lifestyle goals.
Reel has raised more than $5 million in funding and just launched a Chrome extension that connects to shoppers’ bank accounts and automatically sets savings plans for purchases. Sixty-seven percent of Reel users are Latinx and Black, and 85% are female.
Jordi Muñoz | Co-founder and CTO of 3D Robotics
Born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Jordi Muñoz was waiting for his green card in Los Angeles in 2007 when the 20-year-old decided to build a drone in his garage. Muñoz hacked the sensors on the controller of his Nintendo Wii, wrote some code and gave birth to the first autopiloted drone.
After uploading a video of the drone’s flight to the blog “DIY Drones,” the site’s founder and former editor in chief of Wired, Chris Anderson, sent Muñoz $500 to help him set up an online store and sell to enthusiasts.
In 2009, the two men founded 3D Robotics together, despite having only corresponded via email. Today, the company is headquartered in Berkeley, California, and makes enterprise drone software for construction, engineering and mining firms, as well as government agencies.
In June, Anderson tweeted that Kitty Hawk, the air taxi company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, would acquire 3D Robotics for an undisclosed amount.
Miquel and Veronica Garza | Siete Family Foods
In 2014, Veronica Garza, co-founder and president of Siete Family Foods, adopted a grain-free diet to cope with debilitating autoimmune conditions. The rest of her tight-knit seven-person family, including her younger brother and Siete’s co-founder and CEO Miguel, adopted the same paleo diet.
Soon, Veronica was making her own almond flour tortillas at home and selling them at a CrossFit gym that the Garza family had launched in their hometown of Laredo, Texas.
Today, Veronica and Miguel head the company with the whole family’s help, and Siete has become one of the fastest-growing Mexican-American food brands in the US.
In 2019, Siete Family Foods, which makes grain-free, plant-based and dairy-free products, secured a $90 million minority investment from Stripes Group LLC to fund the company’s growth.
Rea Ann Silva | Founder and CEO of BeautyBlender
Rea Ann Silva’s reinvention of the sponge launched a beauty revolution, landed her on Forbes’ 50 over 50 list, and propelled the Smithsonian Museum to feature her as one of eight female game-changers in a recent exhibit.
As one of the first professional makeup artists to work on TV shows in high definition in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Silva needed a tool that would quickly allow her to apply makeup and make it look natural.
At the time, she was a single parent pursuing makeup to make a living, and the egg-shaped sponges she hand-cut to apply makeup on actors started disappearing from the TV set where she worked.
Silva saw the mass-market potential and started marketing and selling the edgeless sponge as BeautyBlender in 2002. In 2012, Sephora took the product nationwide, and BeautyBlender sales reached $175 million in 2019, thanks to endorsements from influencers and celebrities.
Latinx-owned businesses make an enormous contribution to the US economy and Latinx
entrepreneurs start small businesses faster than the rest of the startup population, according to a 2020 study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The study estimates Latinx entrepreneurs will make up 29% of the US population by 2050, up from 17% today. However, when Latinx entrepreneurs start a business, 70% of their funding comes from personal savings, according to the Stanford study, while just 6% comes from commercial loans.
To help Latinx business owners reach their full potential, they’ll need easy access to affordable working capital.
Editor’s note: BeautyBlender is currently a registered customer on the C2FO platform.