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The Fund Founder Spotlight Interview: Beatriz Acevedo of SUMA Wealth
The Fund is a founder community and early stage fund, by founders for founders.
Welcome to The Founder Spotlight where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at The Fund. This week the spotlight is on Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and CEO of SUMA Wealth, the leading financial technology company devoted to increasing prosperity, opportunity, and financial inclusion for young U.S. Latinos.
Do you know your net worth? Your debt to income ratio? How are you doing with your emergency savings? These are just some of the questions that SUMA Wealth aims to answer for young Latinos in the United States. SUMA is the leading financial technology company devoted to increasing prosperity, opportunity, and financial inclusion for young U.S. Latinos. SUMA was founded by Beatriz Acevedo to help the Latino community build and sustain wealth. Their holistic approach is really resonating with the community as they have close to 600,000 users, absolutely crushing their goal of 150,000 by the end of their first year. Their social media presence with culturally relevant content is also a huge hit with over 58k followers on TikTok and over 21k on their English and Spanish Instagrams.
Finances are rarely discussed in the Latino community, regardless of education level or whether you’re an immigrant or U.S. born. Unfortunately, due to no fault of their own, many older generation Latinos have had negative experiences with financial institutions. You can read more about Latino financial trauma in an article that Co-founder and CEO Beatriz Acevedo co-authored in the LA times. Beatriz is a serial entrepreneur and has spent her career working to bring an authentic representation of the Latino point of view to mainstream media and entertainment. (Fun fact: she's received three Emmy awards.) At SUMA, she’s using her expertise to target young people who are starting out on their financial journey and creating a platform to inform and empower the community to build wealth and control their financial future.
What is SUMA Wealth’s “Northstar”?
Our slogan is “building wealth juntos.” With everything we do, we ask ourselves, does this help our community build wealth? Is this contributing to closing the wealth gap? If the answer is yes, then amazing. If the answer is no, then we’ll pass. Take a credit card or a loan, for example - they can be great for growing your business or building credit, but when the interest rates are too high, or when the terms are not great then that’s when we need to find a better option that will help our community attain their financial goals.
What can a new user expect when they join SUMA Wealth?
We give our users an entire wealth building ecosystem, starting with our SUMA app that provides a free financial checkup, or what we call a financial "limpia," not with sage but data science. You'll be able to see where you stand financially, which we think is critical because you can't improve what you can't measure. We also have our SUMA Academy, which offers free financial literacy courses and an innovative "learn to earn" rewards system with tokens on the blockchain as proof of learning protocol. Our SUMA Academy is at the forefront of ed-tech innovation using NFT's and NTT's as a way to incentivize financial education in our community. And last but not least, our SUMAVERSE is a fun digital world where users can exercise their investing muscles or sweat out their debt at our virtual "Dinero Gym." They learn how to up their credit score in our Credit Cocina (Kitchen) or be serenaded at the Money Mariachi Plaza with iconic songs reimagined to help you learn how to build an emergency fund.
Soon we will be launching AI enabled coaching to your phone. Say you spent 30% more than expected on dinner, so maybe tomorrow you should consider making your breakfast at home. The app will provide very personalized coaching and it will feel like your mom’s or abuela’s voice, “Echale ganas!” or “Ponte las pilas!” We want you to feel an emotional connection, like a family member pushing you in a loving way to do better or praising you when you do well.
How does SUMA Wealth inspire “customer love”?
The Latino community, particularly in the U.S., doesn't feel like they belong in their own country sometimes. So they have much love for any product that loudly and clearly tells them, “we get you, we see you, and you belong here.” Simple content we post really draws a strong emotional connection with our customers. I think the love is in our secret sauce of doing culture really well and the trust we’ve built within our community.
What makes you a unique founder?
I'm a border girl who grew up with a foot in two different countries. I'm from Baja California, Mexico and went to school in San Diego. Everything that I did from a young age really shaped my identity in a very different way. I have the immigrant experience, but I could turn on my switch and just be a California kid going to college in La Jolla. It made me scrappy, resilient, and a creative problem solver. I bring unique and diverse points of view to the table. It’s such a benefit to have a dual lens and I’ve made my own sort of hybrid culture out of the best of both worlds.
What was the biggest challenge you faced founding SUMA Wealth?
The challenge for me was that I'm not a financial person, or at least I wasn’t before. I’m a marketing girl, so I had to very quickly immerse myself in the finance world. I enrolled in many intensive certification programs at Harvard, Berkeley, and Wharton. I took courses on everything from Fintech to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I would read a term and then Google it, read an article, watch a video and then order a book. It was really exhausting the first year, to run and grow the company from zero and then at night and on the weekends spend all of my time educating myself. It was a lot of work to bring myself up to speed, but now I feel confident about what I'm doing. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to learn and reinvent yourself.
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