Of course, the latest moves from the industry’s Teslas, Apples, and Googles tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Yet tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the industry.
In an effort to shine a light on promising startups, Built In launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we’ll feature five tech startups, nonprofits, or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our Chicago overviewit is rising startups from the last quarter here.
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Small businesses have struggled in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic has drained their resources and inflation is making it more difficult to make a profit. In addition to having to pay for retail space and utilities, businesses must consider other costs, such as marketing and e-commerce enablement, which many businesses have been forced to do during the pandemic.
But even after deciding to sell online, e-commerce services like Squarespace and Shopify cost hundreds and thousands of dollars a year and aren’t for everyone, especially people who sell online. line as a secondary activity. To provide a platform for small businesses and those with side hustles, Latino tech entrepreneur Ruben Flores-Martinez launched CASHDROP, a platform that lowers the barrier to entry for sales and services of e-commerce.
Flores-Martinez immigrated to the United States from Mexico and after being unable to attend college due to financial aid limitations on undocumented students, Flores-Martinez taught himself to code and design websites.
“I realized that launching an online storefront was a challenge for budding entrepreneurs and family businesses that lacked the resources for the massive enterprise that building apps and websites required. at the time,” Flores-Martinez told Built In.
Founded in 2020, CASHDROP is a free e-commerce platform for young entrepreneurs and business owners who want to sell and market their products or services online. Using the app, users can create an online storefront in less than 15 minutes that can be used to sell everything from food and clothing to tickets or services. The platform has no referral fees or monthly fees and can process payments through its integrations with Stripe and Heartland.
“CASHDROP prides itself on its user-friendly interface, which allows anyone to own and operate their own business, regardless of their technical skill level. From a 13-year-old entrepreneur who started selling slime from her smartphone to a husband and wife duo who turned their confectionery business into a full-fledged business, CASHDROP empowers anyone to turn their business idea into reality. , quickly,” said Flores-Martinez.
As a minority, you often have to work twice as hard to get half as far. But I’ve found that there’s a breaking point where working twice as hard has an exponential compounding effect on how you shine and [the] progress you are making.
Another challenge Flores-Martinez had to overcome as a Latino entrepreneur was venture capital funding. Repeated studies have found that, on average, startups founded by minorities receive less funding than startups founded by white men and are also more likely to launch without any funding.
Shortly after its launch, CASHDROP closed its first round of funding in the amount of $2.7 million. With this capital, the company made several hires to expand and create content for its platform.
“Breaking through is very difficult as a Latino founder – only about 1.5% of venture capital dollars go to minority-led startups – so I felt responsible for building a system that works for me and finding a tribe of people who can help connect me with the right resources,” Flores-Martinez said. “As a minority, you often have to work twice as hard to get half as far. there is a breaking point where working twice as hard has an exponential compound effect on how you shine and [the] progress you are making.
After its relaunch, the e-commerce startup is developing new solutions for small businesses. It recently launched a point-of-sale (POS) platform for restaurants that aims to be an alternative to services like Square and Clover, both of which have high implementation costs. CASHDROP POS does not charge an annual fee like other services; instead, it charges a 5% processing fee at checkout. Through the platform, restaurants can take orders online as well as process payments from digital wallets and credit cards. It can also work on any Apple device.