Student Profiles

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Blackstone LaunchPad is excited to celebrate the diversity of students in our ever-expanding network. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re thrilled to spotlight a few of our Latinx student entrepreneurs who participated in the Summer 2021 LaunchPad Fellowship.

Luca De Vivo Nicoloso, LIMBER, University of California San Diego

LIMBER uses 3D printing and digital design techniques to create affordable prosthetic devices. He estimates only one in ten people can access prosthetic or orthotic devices given the cost and limited number of skilled physicians. Per his calculations, LIMBER lowers the average cost of traditional prosthetics by 70%, the weight by 55%, and the production time by 95%.

“I am from Caracas, Venezuela. I am proud of my Hispanic heritage because it always puts family and community above self,” said Luca. “Work and live to serve others, leave this world a little better than you found it. We must use our lives to make the world a better place to live, not just to acquire [things]. That is what we are put on earth for.”

Vincent Joseph Perez, Elysian, University of Southern California

Elysian is developing an end-of-life marketplace to help millennials and gen-Xers by providing services to plan memorial services with a sustainable lens. Vincent Joseph and his team are currently developing the marketplace and sourcing companies to feature on their platform.

“As a Latino, Hispanic Heritage month is an opportunity to see people like me navigating the world, to know that we are HERE,” he said. “As an LGBTQ+ BBIPOC individual, I have taken note of the lack of representation in tech and entrepreneurship. The LaunchPad network has opened many opportunities to help uplift and promote what I do and how I contribute to the world. I am proud to share that Elysian is 70% BBIPOC and Female led.”

Emely Ramirez, Bilingüe, Temple University

Bilingüe, Bili for short, is a multilingual ed-tech app designed to prevent generational communication gaps and facilitate the development of secondary languages within children ages 1-7.

“Hispanic Heritage month is a month where we as a community have a chance to identify our collective accomplishments from the past and look to the future with optimism and a determination to do more,” said Emely. “We at Bilingüe use this month of acknowledgement and support from our networks, such as LaunchPad, to fuel our start-up as we continue our efforts to bridge generational communication gaps through our interactive language app for kids.”

Ileana Del Risco, Vitruvian, University of Central Florida

Vitruvian aims to solve fit uncertainty in apparel  online, with the goal of boosting sales and decreasing returns by improving shopper confidence when selecting sizes. The “Vitruvian Size Suggestion” Shopify App is a 3-1 tool for size charts, fit recommending, and virtual measuring. Ileana founded Vitruvian along with her two sisters, Andrea and Catalina, inspired by their shared frustrations with online shopping and a desire to create a more sustainable shopping experience.

“We’re a founding team composed of three Colombian immigrant sisters,” said Ileana. “Hispanic Heritage Month is important to us because it supports Latin-owned businesses and is a recognition of the struggles underrepresented founders go through. The LaunchPad network has helped us to create valuable connections to grow our business. Accelerators like LaunchPad that seek to support minority founders growth are vital to helping level out the funding disparity in the start-up space.  

London Swift, Et al, Inc., University of California, Berkeley

Et al, Inc. is a next-generation platform for women and gender-diverse freelancers that provides creative portfolio hosting, community-led business resources, and networking opportunities.

“As a Latinx, queer, female founder, equity and access are values that are core to my leadership and my company,” said London. “Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me because it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the progress we have made and an opportunity to focus on the work that still needs to be done. Latinx women are underrepresented in entrepreneurship in part because of systemic barriers that limit our access to capital and mentorship. I care deeply about changing this narrative and am grateful to Blackstone LaunchPad for supporting diverse entrepreneurs and providing a platform to share our stories.”

Yannell Selman, Cultiveit, University of California, Berkeley

Cultiveit is a B2B HR tech platform that helps employees prevent burnout through high quality time off experiences. Yannel estimates burnout is a $450B problem, and Cultiveit helps companies implement research-based, data-driven solutions to retain and engage their teams.

“As a Latina founder, it’s challenging to find coaching, capital, and community that is responsive to my identity and lived experiences,” said Yannel. “Launchpad’s diverse network of founders and mentors has been a home to me in navigating these early stages of building Cultiveit.