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From September 15th and running through October 15th, last week marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a monthlong celebration of the culture and the progress that Hispanic Americans have achieved and contributed to the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America beyond.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re proud to showcase the strength of the Founder Institute global network through the successes of following list of tremendous Hispanic leaders, founders, and mentors from across FI’s chapters in the United States and Canada. 


Founder Institute Directors

1. Sergio Escobar

Escobar is the Managing Director of the Founder Institute Montreal chapter and has supported startups for over 15 years. He is the CEO and Partner at BCF Ventures, a Canadian Corporate Venture Capital Fund that invests in startups globally. Since 2012 he has worked with the Techstars Global Ecosystem network as a Global Facilitator, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Curator at Techstars Startup Digest. As a global citizen, this polyglot has worked and lived in Canada, Bolivia, Paraguay, and France and is therefore deeply involved in the international entrepreneurial scene. He has worked with McGill X-1, Startup Chile, Startup Peru, Startup Bootcamp FinTech London, MsB Tunisia, Flat6Labs Tunisia, Kuwait National Fund, World Bank 'Tech Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean', Krypto Labs in the Middle East and Creative Destruction Lab in Artificial Intelligence.

2. Martín Martinez

Martinez is the Managing Director of Founder Institute's Texas chapters in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. He is the Founder of A-Player Media, an events production company, and serves on the advisory board for SXSW. He is a judge and mentor at MassChallenge, is on the advisory board for FUND Conference, and is an Austin Splash Power User Group Leader at Splash. He was named an Austin Inno 2018 '50 on Fire' Award Winner in the Investment Category, as well as both a 2017 and 2018 Austin Chamber A-List Awards Nominee.

3. Elisa Sepulveda

Sepulveda is a Director of the Austin Founder Institute chapter. She is the Membership Director at The Data Board, where she helps leaders of data engineering and data science at the world's biggest brands to perform better by connecting to their peers in a confidential, vendor-free space, where they can have the conversations they can't have anywhere else. Sepulveda is a Notley Fellow, and a Member of the Board of Advisors for Austin Tech Alliance. Previously she was the Managing Director at The Riveter.

4. Ignacio Castro

Castro has been the Managing Director of the Boston Founder Institute since 2013 and he also helped launch the first chapter of the Founder Instiute in Central America at his home town: San Jose, Costa Rica. He is also Vice President of InfoSec Program Delivery at Santander Bank, N.A. and Founder of Startup Costa Rica. He received his MBA from the MIT Sloan in 2011 as part of the Sloan Fellows program in Innovation and Global Leadership and was the winner of the Web/IT MIT Entrepreneurship 100K Executive Summary Competition, and also earned his Masters in Computer Science from Universidad de Costa Rica. Most recently, Castro is the Founder & CEO at >Get Hackers_, a recently launched venture providing services to technology companies looking to augment Data Science teams with the best talent in Latin America.

5. Roxette Miranda

Miranda is a Director of the Florida Founder Institute chapter, and an Executive at Yardi. She is also the Founder of Pitch Night MIA, a monthly pitch competition showcasing local Miami startups. Previously, she was an Operations and Medical Device Sales Reprentative at Avia Medical Technologies. Miranda is a thought leader in the space of co-working and progressive work culture, and has written on the topics of 'Why Coworking and WFH is the Future of Work' and 'How to Attract Female Coworkers to Join Your Coworking Space.'

6. Nancy Salmeron

Salmeron is a Director of the Modesto Founder Institute, and is a life coach, inspirational speaker, and author. Her book is titled "Believe. Change. Become. Remembering Who You Were Destined to Be." Her ongoing focus is life coaching and leadership developmenthelping individuals to fulfill their life’s purpose and come alive by identifying and pursuing their passion. She has developed leadership programs for young girls and women, and has also written for publications including Inspiring Lives magazine, Goalcast, and the Global Sisterhood blog.


Founder Institute Mentors

7. Conrad Egusa

Above is a webinar Egusa held to help founders get press coverage for their startups.

Both a graduate and mentor at Founder Institute, Egusa is a 2-time entrepreneur. He is the CEO at Publicize, and the Co-Founder at the Colombian media incubator Espacio. He is a Global Mentor at 500 Startups, Founder Institute, Techstars, NXTP Labs, Startup México, Parallel18, Oxford Entrepreneurs & ANDI and is a Partner at the following media publications: The Bogota Post, 150sec, Latin America Reports, SocialGeek, StartupBeat.com, Sociable, Android Latino, and Soy Emprendedor. Egusa is a guest contributor at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Forbes, and TheNextWeb and has been featured in The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and TechCrunch. He is an advisory board member at SXSW Pitch, and is a judge at Start-Up Chile and Parallel18. He is also a Media Advisor at Microsoft Startup Growth Partners, and a guest speaker at many other startup events.

8. Ramphis Castro

Castro is Director Emeritus, now Mentor for the New York Founder Institute, and is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of ScienceVest, a venture capital fund for hard-tech and life science companies, and is an experienced technologist and product strategist, having led and supported venture-backed teams from idea to exit. He is a Kauffman Fellow and co-Chair the NYC chapter of the Society, a Fundraising EIR for SOSV, an Advisor and Investment Committee Member at PowerUp Fund by Hispanics in Philanthropy, and an Investment Committee Member of Parallel18 seed accelerator in San Juan.


Founder Institute Alumni

9. Beatriz Helena Ramos

Ramos is the founder of DADA.art, a New York Founder Institute portfolio company that has created a new form of visual online communication, through a platform where users can speak through their illustration. In DADA's art gallary, users can also collect the art of these visual conversations, with special collections issued for sale as single, original nonfungible tokens, provably rare limited-edition digital artworks created by individual artists, and the first of their kind to be launched on the Ethereum blockchain.

10. Diego Román

Román is the founder of Pelotea, a San Francisco Founder Institute portfolio company pioneering soccer league management and insurance. More recently, the sports technology company has begun to provide solutions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmissions between players within leagues, offering contact tracing features built directly into the league management application. 

11. Errette Dunn

Dunn is the founder of Rever, a Silicon Valley Founder Institute portfolio company whose SaaS platform lets employers align, empower, and recognize frontline teams, to drive continuous improvement and operational performance. The continuous improvement software builds a culture of incremental wins, and the Frontline Management platform allows employers to unlock the full potential of their workforce: to improve productivity, accelerate innovation, cut costs, and engage employees. The company's fundraising success includes a $2.25M investment from Sequoia Capital and Zetta Venture Partners. In a recent interview with Contxto, "Rever shows how a startup optimizing startup should pivot after Covid."

12. Luis Javier Hernandez Derbes

Hernandes Derbes is the founder of Gyfted, a San Francisco Founder Institute portfolio company focused exclusively on ecommerce for long-distance gift giving. Gyfted makes it easier than ever to find a gift for someone abroad, moving far beyond the ‘check box if a gift’ mentality of standard e-commerce store gifting.

13. María Yoma

Yoma is the founder of Elevator Ventures as well as an architect and the Co-Founder, Creative, and Executive Director of DeTroup. She studies the intersections of design with technology, economics and behavioral sciences, speaks four languages, and is experienced in Project Development and Management for the Argentine Government and the World Bank in large scale metropolitan projects. Through Elevator Ventures, she hosts the podcast Flexenials, where she interviews millennials about modern day opportunities and challenges to spread new ideas that help people live more purposeful, flexible lives.

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1.5 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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