— Interview by Emily Santos
Emily is a social producer and brand strategist. Since graduating from Columbia College Chicago in 2018 she has been sharpening her craft in the digital space.
Since the young age of eight years old, Beatriz Acevedo made her debut in the entertainment industry. Starting at a radio station in her hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, Acevedo had a passion for story-telling and hasn't stopped since. The founder of the leading digital platform Mitu, Acevedo lead the digital scene for the Latinx community through videos and engaging content.
Beatriz is breaking barriers in the entertainment and media industry while creating opportunities for those behind her. Hear from Beatriz as she shares the importance of multi-generation wealth, the benefits and challenges of being a Latinx founder and her advice for future Latinx entrepreneurs and founders.
What does the value of multi-generational wealth mean to the Latinx community and why is it so important?
It is critical that we accelerate generational wealth in our Latinx community because if we don’t the American economy will crash, not just for Latinx but for every American. Not quite sure people realize that in the next 30 years when we become 30% of the population is we don’t close the wealth gap and we continue to have 10 times less wealth than white families there will be no money to sustain the country as a thriving economy. So when we see investments going into “diverse” demos we need to make sure that it also includes Latinx as today we get the least funding and support. Take VC money, for example, only 2% goes to founders of color in a city like Los Angeles that is over 70% people of color, it’s mind-blowing! But what is worst, is that from this 2% only .2% goes to Latinx founders and we represent 50% of the city! Latinx women are starting company are a higher rate than white men (and growing their companies faster than African American and White Women) but we are the cohort paid the least and funded the least. Can you imagine what we could do or become with the support we deserve? This is what I’m building next to a community that supports Latinx entrepreneurs and Latinx fund managers to accelerate their growth, success and wealth.
What are the benefits and challenges of being a Latinx Founder?
I talked about the challenges in the answer prior to this one. The benefits to me have been transformational but I draw a lot of my confidence and swagger from being different. In a room full of “sameness”, I feel very empowered to be the only woman, Latina, a person of color, etc. To many other founders, this makes them feel little, insecure like they don’t belong in the room, etc. I have the opposite feeling, when I look at a room full of people who are not like me, I know that my contributions are beyond valuable because no one is like me, has my insIghts, pov, etc. Being different, being a woman and being Latinx is my SUPERPOWER!
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to take their startup to the next level as they are fundraising?
Don’t be afraid that because few Latinx founders have a hard time getting funding so will you. A positive attitude along with a great plan, idea, traction and hopefully someone to connect you with the right people can be a very different experience for you even if others have not succeeded. Be as prepared as possible, more prepared I would say that anyone else before you pitch. If you can bootstrap (not raise institutional money) for a while as you can show traction and growth in your idea, you will be in a much better place to negotiate. I know this is hard but if you can do this while keeping your day job, this is ideal. It’s hard to raise money when you have no growth to show that your idea has potential. Always be mindful of what problem you are solving that because of the unique insights no one can do better than you, this is a big selling point to investors and finally get counsel before you take any money, make sure you know what you are getting into and fight as much as possible to protect yourself as a founder. It’s important to do your due diligence on the investors that are giving you capital as not all money is the same. I wish someone had told me this when I raised money.
Most recently you were the co-founder and president of Mitu, What inspired you to pivot from digital media content to focusing heavily on social activism?
I was involved in social activism since I was a little girl with my family so there is not pivot for me at all. Even at Mitu our mission was to give access and open doors to the next generation of storytellers via our Mitu accelerator while at the same time eradicate the negative bias about who we are telling stories that were uplifting and authentic. Now my heart is in impact venture capital and supporting Latinx entrepreneurs and fund managers build wealth faster and give back a portion to our communities via the work they do and the type of companies they are building. I love entertainment, I started in that industry when I was 8 years old but the only industry that has the ability to close the wealth gap within one generation is high growth tech companies funded by venture capital. This is the industry where you can build a lot of wealth in our communities so I plan on focusing on this for the moment.
As a cultural Strategist, what changes and growth do you hope to see across all Latinx markets? (Spanish speakers, non-Spanish speaker, etc.) and what is the importance of developing Latinx leadership in business and politics in today’s society?
I am an advisor to fortune 100 companies and I evangelize every day that in order to future proof their brands they need to be in business with our community, not only are we driving population growth, entrepreneurship, purchases, etc. but we also account for 85% of the workforce growth in the next 30 years in the country. We are here to stay and we are the new mainstream. The growth I want to see for our future (and present) generations is access, to be able to start at the same point of the race and not miles back because we did not have the mentorship, education, capital, contacts, etc that others have. As far as growth in numbers we already have that but now we need to grow our power, political power & economic power and self-esteem power, we need to know the power we have in the American economy and demand our fair share of resources that we deserve and that we have worked very hard for as Americans.
You are a leader in creating opportunities for our youth and allowing them access to an environment that promotes growth and leader. Explain the importance of the Acevedo Foundation and the positive impact this has on our community as a whole? And How do you plan on expanding the Acevedo foundation in the next 5-years?
This is my family’s foundation that has already been running in Mexico for the past 30 years, started by my father. Part of the expansion is to bring it to the U.S. and have a different focus than its counterpart in Mexico. My father focused on providing scholarships for kids from low-income families and support the arts. For me mentoring the next generation of Latinx leaders is very important as well as closing the wealth gap for our community with access to capital and transformational opportunities that I’ve been lucky to have. I am fully aware of my privilege and how I am also an outlier in my community, I think this is why I feel a bigger sense of responsibility to give back as much as I possibly can.