The Latinx Founders Collective is an initiative to help create a high-impact community of 100 venture-funded Latinx founders by 2020. To do this, we are introducing founders to investors, mentors, and advisors to help them scale their work.

Our goals are to:

  • Gain access to and close Seed, Series A and Series B funding

  • Increase visibility and awareness for their personal and professional brands 

  • Connect to business development opportunities 

  • Build multi-generational wealth and reinvest in the Latinx startup ecosystem

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Samara Mejia Hernandez

Samara Mejia Hernandez is a Principal at MATH Venture Partners, an early to growth-stage fund where she specializes in investing in financial technology. Prior to joining MATH, Samara spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, where she was highly ranked in selling financial products, providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital, and entrepreneurship. She is on the leadership council for Women Tech Founders and an active mentor at 1871 and with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is on the Board of VentureUp a network of risking venture investors in the Midwest and also on the Board of Communities in Chicago Schools – the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. Samara earned an Industrial and Operations Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University with Distinguished Honors. She was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico and immigrated to the US at a young age. Samara lives in Chicago with her husband and young son.

Favorite taco: Carne asada, cebolla, limon, salsa with a lettuce wrap.

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Omar Duque

Omar Duque is the President of The Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council (HITEC). Prior to joining HITEC in September 2018, Duque served as the President & CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) for more than 11 years. He is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship and how both help build community and help create a better world.

Under his leadership, IHCC developed initiatives to connect more Latinos to the innovation economy. IHCC has partnered with 1871 Chicago to develop a first-of-its-kind incubator program for Latinx tech startups. Since launching in late 2016, 51 Latinx founders have completed the program. Cohort companies have raised millions of dollars in early-stage capital and have secured contracts with Fortune 100 firms.

Duque is a Chicago native whose parents immigrated to the United States from Guatemala. He studied Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Duque is a runner, loves to cook and loves tacos.

Favorite Taco: Carne asada, cilantro, lime, no onions. Or crispy fish Baja style with really good spice.

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Kristen Sonday

Kristen Sonday is the co-founder and COO of Paladin, which helps legal teams run more efficient pro bono programs while increasing access to justice. In her role, she works with Fortune 500s, law firms, law schools, and bar associations to staff, manage, and track pro bono work and visualize the organization’s impact. Prior to Paladin, Kristen worked on international criminal matters in Mexico and Central America for the U.S. Department of Justice and served on the founding team of a New York City-based tech start-up. As a result of her work to close the justice gap, she has been named a 2017 ABA Woman in Legal Tech to Watch, ABA Journal Legal Rebel, and FastCase50 honoree.

In 2017, Kristen served as Google for Entrepreneurs’ Code2040 Entrepreneur-in-Residence at 1871, representing and promoting Black and Latinx founders. Her work included events and programming to connect entrepreneurs of color across Chicago’s tech ecosystem and culminated in a Latinx Startup Weekend to foster early entrepreneurship.

Favorite Taco: Chicken tinga with a touch of Pina.


Our Founders

Adriana Vazquez
CEO and Co-Founder of Lilu

Vivian Nunez
Writer & Founder of Too Damn Young

Ivelyse Andino
Founder of Radical Health

Yscaira Jimenez
Founder of LaborX

Alberto A. Altamirano
Founder of cityflag

Anthony Diaz
Founder of Health Hero

Benjamin Hernandez
Co-Founder of NuMat

Phil Castro
Founder of Bar Pass

Ernesto Pedroza
Founder of Promo Share

Carlo Oviedo
Co-founder of Self Made

Renata Merino
Founder of Blazin Babes

Ricky Regalado
Founder of RozaRoute

Yscaira Jimenez
Founder of LaborX

Agustina Sartori
Founder of GlamST

Daniel Muller
Founder of Aeropay

Elmer Morales
Founder of Koder

Astrid Soto
Founder of La Dama Food

Mia Velazquez
Founder of Comm

Ricardo Ibarra
Founder of Auctio

Victoria Elena Nones
Founder of Satira

Daniel Rendon
Founder of SOJU

Arturo Caines
Founder of MaxGrad

Raul Rosas
Co-Founder of Fluxee

Victor Abundis
Co-Founder of Interpreter Tap

Victor Arellano
Co-Founder of Interpreter Tap

Kristen Sonday
Co-Founder of Paladin

Lisa Morales-Hellebo
Founder of Refashiond

Karlo Valentin Rodriguez
Founder of Klustera

Carlos Rosenwald
Founder of Story Street Labs

Jose Sanchez
Co-Founder of Fluxee

Mayra Khan
Founder of iDrivio

John Dillion
Founder of Guardian Vets

Jessica Mann
Founder of Arirose

Deadelp Medina