8 Latino business founders on finding their first millions

Latino-founded businesses are booming, yet less than 2 percent of Latino entrepreneurs ever make it past the $1 million revenue mark, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of the 1.4 million Latino-owned companies in the United States, the average has $156,000 in annual sales, revealed a study from the Latin Business Action Network (LBAN).

That’s what makes the following group of Latino founders the ones to watch.

The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a collaboration between Stanford University and LBAN, identified eight Latino founders generating well over $1 million in annual revenue or who have received at least $1 million in funding. All completed a Latino entrepreneurship program at Stanford as well.

Between 2007 and 2012, 86 percent of the growth in all small businesses could be attributed to Latino-owned businesses. Imagine what Latinos can do for business formation and job creation as more reach the success level of the eight founders on this list, provided exclusively to CNBC.

Gabrielle Rios, founder and CEO, TruInject Medical

Rios is a competitor: She is a former NCAA tennis champion, All-American and national “Rookie of the Year” on the women’s tennis circuit in 1998. At pharmaceutical giants — including Allergan, maker of wrinkle-eraser Botox — Rios’ competitive streak led to growing her sales territories to multimillion-dollar levels. But it was the Affordable Care Act that opened her eyes to a big opportunity.

She said that under Obamacare, general physicians started supplementing their incomes with cosmetic injections, and she saw some frightening things: patient after patient at risk of serious complications during injection procedures, even blindness. “I started asking why physicians were not trained in injections,” Rios said. “Many ended up training on cash-paying patients who didn’t realize they were guinea pigs.”

“I sat my family down and said, ‘Here’s the deal. I’m seeing people get hurt. I’m going to sell my house, cash in my 401(k), and find a solution.'” I thought my mom would say I’m crazy. But she said, ‘You’ve got to do it.'”

It hasn’t been easy. Being a Latina has made fundraising “super difficult,” Rios said. “You see a company like mine in discussions with top pharmaceuticals and you would think with all the metrics, you’d have funding really quickly, but as a Latina, I have to hit more hurdles than others.”

TruInject, the first company to focus on an injection-training software for doctors, is first going after the Botox market but already has patents that cover any part of the body.

Age: 42
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Education: California Polytechnic University
Company description: Irvine, California-based TruInject created the first injection simulation system for doctors in the cosmetic surgery field, with an initial focus on facial aesthetics.
Founded: 2013
Financials: Raised $2.7 million in funding

— By Claudine Hutton, special to CNBC.com
Posted 21 April 2016

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/21/8-latino-business-founders-on-finding-their-first-millions.html