National Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic American Founders in Tech

By Taj Shorter Published on Oct. 14, 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the Latino community in America and the independence of several Latin American countries. In 1968, the holiday was declared as a designated week but was later expanded into a full 30 days under the US Presidency of Ronald Reagan in 1988. The celebratory month starts on Sept. 15, which has historical significance as the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Latinx tech entrepreneurship

In 2021, Plug and Play hosted a webinar session focused on Latinx tech entrepreneurship to discuss key findings from interviews with Latinx tech founders across Silicon Valley. The focus was to understand their access to finances. Professor of Entrepreneurship at San Jose State University, Anu Basu, spoke on the panel and pointed out that of the 56 founders interviewed, 68% of them had to fund their business from their own personal savings versus the industry average of 57%.

Ultimately, based on the responses of the interviewees, some of the following reasons may have contributed to these funding disparities:

  • Lack of VC understanding of the U.S. Latinx and LATAM markets
  • Accent, language barrier
  • Risk-averse mindset; preference for traditional investing instead of technology
  • Light versus dark complexions
  • Immigration status
  • And, access to social networks

We recognize the importance of promoting Hispanic American entrepreneurs and hope the VC climate will continue to evolve as a more inclusive environment for funding opportunities. Here are four game-changing startups in our network with Hispanic-American founders to keep an eye out for:

Deal Engine - Hispanic-American founder, Alex Jara, founded Deal Engine in 2017. The travel software company focuses on digital transformation for the travel industry. The company generates savings in two ways:

  • Margin optimization - Recovering money left on the table (e.g. unused ticket recovery and price improvement engines)
  • Post-sale management - Only solution in the market that has automated the ticket refund and ticket change processes

Futureproof - Founded in 2019, female Hispanic founder, Alisa Valderrama, co-founded Futureproof in hopes of creating the technology needed for financial professionals to manage the risks associated with climate change. The company's trailblazing analytics quantify the financial impact of physical climate risks.

Finally (fka Back Office) - In 2018, co-founders Felix and Glennys Rodriguez began working on an AI-driven accounting engine that automates bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses. Finally incorporates essential business processes, such as bookkeeping, invoicing, bill payment, and payroll by incorporating advanced automation and machine learning technology.

Wheel the World - The Hispanic-founded startup aims to make travel more accessible. Co-founders Alvaro Silberstein and Camilo Navarro started Wheel the World to build an online marketplace for seniors and people with disabilities to travel the world. By digitizing accessibility information and providing a specialized user experience, Wheel the World allows its users to book hotels and tours that match their accessibility needs.

The company created the Accessibility Mapping System (AMS), a crowdsourced software application to raise accessibility tourism service data from travel operators globally.

What Hispanic Heritage Month means at Plug and Play

Plug and Play consists of numerous key players whose ancestors come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central, and South America regions. Our global expansion over the years is a direct reflection of the diverse movers and shakers behind our company. As we conclude Hispanic Heritage Month 2022, we opened the dialogue internally to find out what the celebratory month means to our employee base.

HispanicHeritageMonth_3 (2)

HispanicHeritageMonth_2 (1)

HispanicHeritageMonth_4 (1)

HispanicHeritageMonth_1 (1)

To learn more about Plug and Play’s active ecosystem of 50,000+ startups, search throughour network to find ground-breaking startups in 18+ industries.