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Networking: The Key to Success or a Distraction Toward Failure?

By Susana Espinosa - Dux Capital


By Susana Espinosa | Partner - Wed, 11/15/2023 - 09:00

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Connecting with like-minded professionals who share the same goals in the constantly evolving startup ecosystem has always been a fundamental aspect when raising capital, whether you are a fund or a startup. Networking is and will continue to be a pathway to open new doors and discover fresh opportunities, whether in the short or long term. This tool has proven its efficiency by assisting Latino founders in creating a supportive community. At Dux, we have witnessed the Latinx community in the United States coming together as never before, actively seeking to connect with fellow Latinos and to combine their ideas, rooted in the same cultural background, to help achieve their goals. The ultimate objective can encompass securing funding rounds, implementing changes in operational strategies, meeting new investors, acquiring new clients, and much more. 

The Latino community is not only one of the most hardworking in the world, but its entrepreneurial spirit spawns new businesses and ideas in the industry at significantly higher rates. Nevertheless, Latinos face formidable challenges when attempting to grow their businesses in the United States, yet they have demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination to succeed. Breaking through barriers is a challenge Latinos have become experts at overcoming. Latinos are not solely focused on achieving financial success; they are also dedicated to contributing to their own community and supporting one another to make a positive impact. They serve as role models in the industry and are a source of inspiration when it comes to envisioning ambitious goals and bringing ideas to life.

As appealing as it might sound, networking has also become a necessary activity for Latino founders based in the United States to gain access to capital and opportunities that they might not obtain otherwise. Latino founders are consistently overlooked and face a lack of funding compared to other founders in the United States. I observed a clear example of this during New York Tech Week, where hundreds of events took place throughout the week, but only three of these events were focused on the Latino community, despite Latinos representing 20% of the total population in the country and contributing to a GDP of $3.4 trillion. At Dux, we hosted one of these events, a Latino Tech Mixer, and the clear example of how Latinos are looking for these few spaces to meet and make business connections is that in less than 20 weeks, we had more than 500 registrations when we were expecting about 150. From this, we have 197 active participants in a whatsapp group created just a couple of days prior to the event where networking started virtually before actually meeting. As one of the hosts, we were fascinated with this need for connections and the opportunity to continue working on community building. A shout out to our co-hosts, Pygmy, Khora, Lazo, and Rafael Barroso for this amazing opportunity. 

After this event, I have clearly realized along with our team that networking has become a tool for Latinos to voice their concerns and help close the funding gap that is prevalent in the United States. There is still much work to be done. The problem has become so significant that organizations like SomosVC, VCFamilia, LBAN, Founder Familia, Latino Community Foundation, and many others have taken action to address the issue and assist founders and funds in gaining access to networking opportunities that can potentially open new doors.

Networking typically takes the form of events where individuals come together to establish connections and cultivate opportunities for business growth, fostering powerful synergies within the industry. These gatherings not only facilitate the dismantling of barriers but also encourage the development of a cohesive community, all while providing an enjoyable experience. Apart from such events, being part of organizations can be profoundly beneficial when striving to elevate a business. These entities have already accomplished the bulk of the work in terms of planning and outreach to individuals with shared interests. Becoming a member of a dynamic group can lead to the cultivation of relationships that offer unique opportunities in the business world. I strongly encourage people from any industry to engage in networking in any way that suits them best and start opening those doors. 

As much progress has been made, there is still a lot to be accomplished. The Latino startup ecosystem has shown improvement in recent years with more funds and organizations, such as Dux Capital, entering the region to address this issue and offer firsthand support, leveraging their cultural understanding and awareness of the challenges that founders are facing. Still, we know we need to get together to continue collaborating and work toward a more inclusive, sustainable way to boost the potential of the Latino community. From Mexico, I have learned that collaboration is key to start and boost the potential of an industry and a community and that is what VC has done since its early beginnings in Mexico. Today, it is part of our goal to build this with our Latino community in the United States. 

For all those who consider networking as a lost time, something that takes your focus away from your business, just remember that a good amount of time  with the correct purpose is what we all need the most to finish establishing the future of an initial industry or minority in a large industry.


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Photo by:   Susana Espinosa

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