Dreamers Ventures, the platform and multi-city tour empowering Latino and minority entrepreneurs across the U.S. and Latin America, launched on November 13 at the Google headquarters in New York City.
(first and second paragraphs courtesy, CIEO+)
Unlike most business conferences, the session was high energy, interactive and memorable with inspirational videos and music engaging people from master class to master class. Moderated by Dreamers Ventures creator and award-winning entrepreneur Lili Gil Valletta, the event featured an intimate chat with former Goya Foods COO Andy Unanue who shared about the inspirational legacy of his family as founders of Goya and his role today as an investor supporting Hispanic-focused and family-owned businesses as Managing Partner at AUA Private Equity Partners. Other experts included, Dara Trujillo, Vice President, Merchandising and New Business Development for HSN who appears as a judge on the show “Hatched” and leads HSN’s American Dreams platform and digital coaches and Googler experts Lucy Pinto and Aisha Taylor.
In addition a lively and unfiltered “Show Me The Money Panel” assembled an impressive group of investors who are minorities investing in minorities with Latino entrepreneurs that have successfully raised capital for their ventures.
The investors included Steven Lucero, Co-founder and Principal at Perpetua Partners and Erica Duignan Minnihan, Founder and Managing Partner at Reign Ventures and Managing Partner at 1000 Angels, will help demystify the process of raising capital. They will be joined by Maria Luisa Pineda, CEO Envisagenics, Victoria Flores, CEO Lux Beauty Club and Julian Rodriguez, CEO of Bazaar, who collectively have raised over $5 million dollars for their ventures. All are graduates of Stanford Business School programs, including the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program, an initiative supported by Dreamers Ventures offering scholarships to qualified candidates. In 2017, Victoria Flores was the recipient of a scholarship sponsored by U.S. Bank.
By Juan Guillen
The event was very informative and inspirational. The speakers and panelist were nothing short of spectacular. The event’s host, Lili Gil Valletta, asked some key questions to some of today’s business leaders and investment pros, and this only added to the overall positive rhythm and vibes of this event. As an entrepreneur that respects the game, I had the opportunity to attend and here are some quick, but powerful tips that I learned and got reminded of from the bright minds and forward moving personalities of the speakers and panelist:
>Private equity manager, Goya foods board member and entrepreneur Andy Unanue:
was asked in a sit down one-on-one interview with event host. If you were to write a book, what would you call it? Andy, answered, “I’m not done yet”-for a man who has accomplished many things, this reminded me that one should never stop, never settle, and as Andy said it best, you have to have fun, your work needs to be fun for you, so find what you love and you will never work another day in your life.
>Erica Duignan Minnihan, Founder and Managing Partner at Reign Ventures and Managing Partner at 1000 Angels:
We don’t invest in product’s, we invest in people. We also look for a team, I don’t like to see just one lead person or founder (solo-preneur), you need to have a team, because its very difficult to grow on your own. Your investment deck should be no more then 20 slides, and what they look for in the deck is your vision and your financial model, 3 year projections are ok, 5 is best. Raising money, should not be your goal, it should be, building a great business. Founders should never become defensive, when asked a difficult question by investors, they are not being jerks, they want to help you. I like to get that greedy feeling, when I look at the material, that tells me we’re going to make a shit load on money from this. I first have to love the entrepreneur, I need to totally trust him or her, then we look at their material, the team, the product, the market opportunity and finally, or actually the first thing that will get my attention and every other investors hard to get, initial attention is: the founder really needs to have his elevator pitch totally clear and ready to say it in 30 seconds or less. For example: “I will spend $2 on google to get clients (customer acquisition) and sell them a $10 product and I will X that one million times”
>Steven Lucero, Co-founder and Principal at Perpetua Partners:
Less than 1% of Latinos are getting funded, why? It’s not our game, it was started and created by white men, so we need to become the game. Do business with each other, get business for each other. Don’t water down your vision, idea or business model, because you think an investor won’t invest, go bigger! Don’t try to use your pitch deck to market to investors. Tell them your story well. Get investors interested in you and your product through great story telling. When looking for investors, don’t just pursue any investor, look for the right fit for you, your idea and who knows your sector. Look for domain expertise. Remember, you too, are shopping around.
>Victoria Flores, CEO Lux Beauty Club and Julian Rodriguez (raised $1 Million)
Be comfortable hearing no, prove them wrong. Create an incredible story about your product, mission and vision.
>Julian Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder of Bazaar, (raised $1 Million)
I used LinkedIn and attended meet ups, it’s how I found investors, I didn’t know anybody. Venture capitalist care about deal flow. There is more capital out there waiting then there are entrepreneurs pitching for the money. You have to hustle, and never give up because raising money can be madness. The best advice I can give entrepreneurs that want to raise money is raise twice as much as you think you need and don’t doubt yourself.
>Maria Luisa Pineda, CEO Envisagenics, (raised $3.5 Million)
Entrepreneurs should look for smart money, meaning the right people who are passionate and care about your product, your market and what you believe in. Get in to the good old boys club in San Francisco, befriend them, hand out with them, drink with them. Many times, it starts with a personal relationship. Be yourself, be comfortable and kick ass!
>Google Digital Coach and Expert, Lucy Pinto:
Google Trends is a powerful tool, which can help shape business strategies, because it allows a person to see what people (potential customers) are looking for on Google and YouTube and it can do this by country, state, city and even as local as right in your own neighborhood, and ITS FREE! Click here to see informative and easy to understand video on how to use Google Trends.