For many, Silicon Valley represents the hotbed of exciting new ventures, fostering dreams of breakthrough innovation and entrepreneurial glory. Yet, this dream remains unattainable for a vast majority, especially Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs grappling with systemic barriers. Among these groundbreaking mavericks stands Edrizio De La Cruz, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who rose above debilitating obstacles to co-found Arcus, a fintech company, ultimately sold to Mastercard. His riveting journey is the focus of a book aptly titled The Underdog Founder.
Edrizio’s story began far from the gleaming towers of Silicon Valley, in the bustling barrios of the Dominican Republic where he once sold guavas. Commuting to The United States painted a stark picture of his challenging future. A necessary early dropout, Edrizio filled his time maintaining aircraft as a technician for the US Air Force.
Eventually, his relentless pursuit of bettering himself led him back to the hallowed halls of academia. Equally comfortable elbow deep in jet engines or pouring over textbooks, Edrizio earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He even experienced the fast-paced world of Wall Street before his entrepreneurial calling led him to co-found Arcus in 2013.
Arcus quickly gained traction within the tech space. Backed by names synonymous with success – Y Combinator, Citi Ventures, SoftBank, and Ignia – Arcus flourished under Edrizio’s leadership. Recognized by Forbes as one of 2021’s most successful startups, Arcus was ultimately acquired by Mastercard.
The Underdog Founder is no ordinary entrepreneurial guide. It serves as a beacon for those muddled in the struggles of rising above racism, poverty, and imposter syndrome. Candid and brave, it is a bedrock of inspiration, presenting seven key principles to overcome every conceivable and inconceivable startup obstacle. It’s not just a memoir; it’s a clarion call to all aspiring founders from underrepresented demographics.
Endorsed passionately by Michael Seibel from Y Combinator, The Underdog Founder commends Edrizio’s perseverance amidst resistance. He highlights Edrizio’s tenacious spirit, “I think one thing I’ve learned as a founder is that you have got to stick around long enough to get lucky. Just don’t die. Just keep moving forward, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually, good things will happen.”
Edrizio also champions diversity, embodying the fundamental essence of what inclusion in the American dream should encompass. He showcases, through his experience, how essential diversity programs and affirmative action are in helping underrepresented professionals carve their unique paths to success.
Praise surrounds The Underdog Founder, with many industry leaders applauding its unique blend of brutally honest memoir wrapped in a practical business toolkit. Junot Díaz, a bestselling New York Times author and Pulitzer prize-winner, heralded it as a distinctive, unsentimental exploration of the American dream. Gaby Natale, a three-time Emmy award winner, and John Rice, CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, lauded it as the blueprint needed for underrepresented founders embarking on their journeys.
The Underdog Founder, a fascinating account of survival and success, underscores the importance of preserving and progressing. It serves as a unique testament to the resilience of human spirit, embodying the ethos that persistence always means success in the journey of life.
More about Edrizio De La Cruz’s remarkable journey and his inspirational guide for potential entrepreneurs can be found at https://www.edriziodelacruz.com.