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Tech-entrepreneur Maria Camila creates Latiner, a dating app for Latinx singles 

After experiencing racial based rejection on mainstream dating platforms, Maria Camila created Latiner –the first Latina-created dating app for Latinx singles. 

Founded by Colombian born tech-entrepreneur, Maria Camila, Latiner is the first Latina-created dating app for Latinx and Hispanic singles. (Image courtesy of Latiner)

According to Pew Research Center, the Hispanic population in the U.S reached 60.6 million in 2019 and accounts for approximately 18% of the country’s total population. For tech-entrepreneur Maria Camila, this realization coupled with negative experiences on mainstream dating apps, prompted her to launch her first venture. 

“It hit me that we, as the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S., should have one dating app built on our own. A dating app catering to whoever wants to date Latin American singles, considering that mainstream dating apps are mostly created and dominated by white people,” says Latiner founder, Maria Camila. “Latin American singles need a comfortable and efficient dating platform. That’s what inspired me to create Latiner.”

From bad dating experiences to an entrepreneurial opportunity 

Latiner, Maria Camila,

Latiner founder, Maria Camila. (Image courtesy of Latiner)

At 25 years old, Maria Camila is already making a name for herself as an entrepreneur. Born and raised in Bogotá-Colombia she studied business administration at Fundacion Universitaria Cafam. She now lives in San Francisco where she works at a logistics company and she is now also the founder of Latiner. 

The idea to create Latiner came to Maria in January of 2020, after many unpleasant and disappointing experiences on mainstream dating apps. 

“When I first came to the U.S. 2 years ago, I felt lonely, kinda hoping I could find a boyfriend to be around,” Maria says. 

Maria’s friends in the U.S. set her up on many blind dates but most ended the same way. “Some of them turned me down because of racial differences, while others said they were afraid of the ‘Latina temper’,” explains Maria. 

Then Maria began her own online dating journey and learned first-hand how racists people could be when it came to dating. 

“I kept coming across profiles stating ‘Whites Only’,” she says. “As a Latina, it does take an emotional toll when people turn you down constantly, simply because you’re not their dating preference, not to mention the colossal waste of time swiping the wrong one on a wrong app.”

Latiner, Latinx singles, dating app

Latiner is changing the game as the first Latina-created dating app made specifically for Latinx singles. (Image courtesy Latiner)

These experiences prompted Maria to do something to change the game for Latinx singles. She began discussing the idea of a Latinx dating app with friends in the IT industry. Soon she persuaded them to join her team and together they successfully developed the app in 3 months. 

“The key to success is to start before you are ready” 

Before launching Latiner, Maria did not have any experience or educational background in technology. Everything was new. She didn’t feel “ready” to start, but she had an idea that she believed in and so she sought the right people to help her make her vision a reality. 

Latiner, Maria Camila

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. The key to success is to start before you are ready.” (Image courtesy of Latiner)

“All I had was an idea of creating a dating app for Latino community,” she says. “But I had a bunch of friends who worked in the technology industry, and some of them were app developers. I told them about my idea as well as the prospect of Latino online dating market. They thought it was awesome, and they wanted to work together with me to develop the app.” 

When thinking back on her process, Maria recalls something she once heard from Steve Jobs about creativity. 

“He said creativity was just connecting things. People who were creative meant they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. In my case, I connected my unhappy online dating experiences with what I could do to make Latino singles feel comfortable while dating online, and I came up with an idea of making a dating app for ourselves,” Maria says. “In a word, you should know your community very well, know what they need, and you have to be creative and initiative to do something about that.”

You might be interested: 8 Steps to launching a tech startup

Through her experiences as a new entrepreneur, Maria has learned that anything is possible. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” she says. “Be brave. Every single woman, regardless of ethnicity, race, age, or whatever you think might hold you back, has the right to make her own choice. The key to success is to start before you are ready, nothing will work unless you do.”

Latina presenting colorful modern signs

A Latina innovator on becoming a successful Tech entrepreneur

Commerce has been in my blood since birth. But being a Tech entrepreneur?

Monica Taher, serial Tech entrepreneur and new Tech Talk contributor at LatinasInBusiness.us

Monica Taher, serial Tech entrepreneur and Tech Talk contributor at LatinasInBusiness.us

As a little girl, I would literally sell anything that came my way to my friends. Unused school supplies, gifts my parents gave me (they still don’t know about this) and fruit from the trees in my backyard were hot commodities. Growing up in a tropical country certainly had its advantages.

It wasn’t about having the extra cash in my pocket. I just loved interacting with people. I still do!

Ironically, I didn’t major in business when I left for college. Instead, I chose to embrace my love for film. While I wholeheartedly support women who are interested in studying business, it’s important to know that you CAN become a tech entrepreneur without a business degree.

Becoming a tech entrepreneur was a matter of feast or famine for me, meaning, I had to put food on the table. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Or maybe not. If you haven’t read my story, you can do so here.

I’m not crazy. I have a comfortable job. Worse: I don’t know how to become a Tech entrepreneur!

Yes. If you are thinking of becoming a Tech entrepreneur, all of the above are correct. However, here are a few insightful points to consider:

A. Tech is the future

You are either in the digital era – or you’re not. Some of you might think you need to know how to decipher all of those weird computer languages to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. You don’t.

While I am a fervent supporter of women who code (go STEM majors!), you don’t have to be 100 percent literate in computer code to launch a tech startup.

How do I know? Well, if you are reading this blog, you probably already have a special idea you’ve been pondering in your head. You just don’t know how to go about executing it.

Furthermore, if you’ve always felt for any reason that you wanted to launch your own business, then you have it in you. And if tech is the future, you want to start thinking about that special idea in tech terms: an app or a platform (a service or product) and how it can serve consumers. Become a Tech entrepreneur!

By 2020, entrepreneurship and the need for innovators will be more important than ever. In 2013, men made up 74 percent of the tech workforce in our country. The rest (26%) were women. We need to change this ratio. Now it is your chance!

B. Knowledge is power

Click. Read. Repeat.

Who said that business news is boring? It’s just like watching an episode of the Kardashians. There’s plenty of drama to roll your eyes at and keep you entertained. Don’t believe me? Just ask the guys at Tinder. Anyway, you need to stay on top of trends, new ideas, and what other people are doing and developing by reading and reading and reading.

Yes, but where should you start?

Try getting accustomed to a daily dosage of fun tech articles on Business Insider, Forbes Woman, Entrepreneur Magazine and even the different sections (tech, business, women, etc.) in the Huffington Post. Also follow updates and topics here at the Tech Talk section in LatinasInBusiness.us.

If you want to be cool, create a group on your Facebook or Twitter feeds that contain these publications. Your feed will show you headlines with easy-to-read links.

Latina presenting colorful modern signs Tech entrepreneur

C. You enjoy dealing with people – Even when they are sometimes, Eh, annoying

Let’s be honest. It takes some finesse to deal with people – especially when one single person seems to have multiple personalities. I’ve met a few of those.

Instead of thinking you need to “sell your idea,” believe in your idea fiercely and love it passionately. Be smart and flexible enough to shift gears if something isn’t working quite right. In tech terms, this is called “pivoting.”

Become a “connector.” Don’t sell. Instead, share knowledge. People will appreciate that.

PEN 2014 Literary Gala ©Aslan Habib Chalom Tech entrepreneur

Malcom Gladwell at PEN 2014 Literary Gala ©Aslan Habib Chalom/PEN American Center www.aboutadollar.net

If you still haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, then you must. It is an inspiring book that can help you shape your perspective on entrepreneurship.

D. Get in there and make it happen

As a woman and single mother, I cannot express to you how fulfilling it is to run a startup. If you have always dreamed about owning a business, there’s no better time than now.

In future posts, I will be blogging about the basics: How to launch a startup, where you can find seed and investment funding, and other provocative topics to help you navigate the world of tech entrepreneurship.

Remember, tech is the future. You are a woman – and you are invincible.
 

Did you miss my CNN en Español segment about women & leadership in the tech industry? You can watch it here.

Follow Monica’s blog at http://www.monicataher.com/