It’s fascinating to me to hear the stories of entrepreneurs like Miami’s Max Tuchman, the Co-Founder and CEO of startup Caribu. When you get down to it, there’s typically a common theme with all startup founders: a pride in breaking the rules (not to be confused with breaking the law) to get around a social construct that has traditionally favored a system or group. Saying, “I know it’s been done like that but this is how I’m doing it and it’s okay if you don’t like it” is typically at the root of most successful startup founders.
Max started her business, Caribu in 2017. Since that time, she has defined the space for her product that brings families together in virtual playdates. She has funded her business by leveraging non-traditional financing opportunities, having won or been a finalist in 30+ pitch competitions and using equity crowdfunding platform WeFunder to become the first Latina to raise $1 million. And, she’s done it all by going back to her Latinx roots, in Miami, eschewing the stereotypical path to the startup world through cities like San Francisco, New York, Boston or Austin, Texas.
Max is giving back by building her company in Miami, hiring from Miami, and driving awareness to the growing ecosystem that has been so supportive of her.
She credits her tenacity to her Cuban-American background, the Miami community in which she grew up, and today’s collaborative, growing #MiamiTech ecosystem. She’s committed to building inclusive teams with Latina leaders and doing it in South Florida. And ya know what? She’s doing exactly what she says.
The reality of it is though that .05 percent of startups are actually funded by venture capital. If you’re a female or Latinx founder, that percentage is even lower.
After speaking with Max for thirty minutes, it’s impossible to not dig her grit, scrappiness and relentless determination to bring her startup to the world. Plus, she’s funny and a great interview. Latinx or not, everyone should take a moment to learn from her. But, rather than sit here and tell you about it, watch the video above.
While you are here though, I want to call out three takeaways from my conversation with her. Takeaways that define her and her startup journey and should be considered by everyone thinking of starting their own business.
1. Do It – You Owe It to Yourself and Yeah, Us
If you have an idea that you think can change the world and make society better, you owe it to the world to, as Max says, “jump in chancletas first and build that company.” It’s scary to leave your job, but if you genuinely think that you’re the only person that can do it and the world needs it, go for it.
2. Raise Money However You Can
Do it however you can: fast-growth, high-tech startups typically eye venture capitalists to fund their businesses. The reality of it is though that .05 percent of startups are actually funded by venture capital. If you’re a female or Latinx founder, that percentage is even lower. For instance, only 2.3% and 2.6% of all the money raised in 2020 went to female or Latinx founders, respectively in 2020.
We all need to work to change this. In the meantime, don’t let these stats define your success. If your business needs money to grow, look to friends and family, pitch competitions, and the growing crowdfunding sector to get your business off the ground.
3. Your Community Is Your Key
Being an entrepreneur is not a solo job. As the daughter of immigrants, Max learned early on that to succeed, you’ve got to put in the work. Nobody is going to do it for you. But, having a community behind you is an asset, and it sure makes things easier. Today, just as the Cuban-American community has supported her and her family growing up, Max is giving back by building her company in Miami, hiring from Miami, and driving awareness of the growing ecosystem that has been so supportive of her.
“…jump in chancletas first and build that company.”Max Tuchman, Co-Founder/CEO Caribu