From Barrio to Boardroom: Edrizio De La Cruz’s Unwavering Journey in Silicon Valley

From Barrio to Boardroom: Edrizio De La Cruz's Unwavering Journey in Silicon Valley
Edrizio De La Cruz

In Silicon Valley, a hub of innovation and success, a new chapter in the American dream is being authored by individuals like Edrizio De La Cruz. His journey from a Dominican barrio to the summit of tech entrepreneurship epitomizes a modern-day odyssey. ‘The Underdog Founder’ is more than a memoir; it’s an embodiment of human resilience and a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs who identify as underdogs in the fiercely competitive tech world.

De La Cruz shares, ”I need to win not in spite of my circumstances but because of my circumstances. For everything that has happened to me to get to that point, not only as a founder but also as a person of color and as an immigrant who grew up in the projects. Indeed, to do this not just for myself, not just for my family, but for my community, I represent something bigger than myself.”

His story begins in Harlem, a world apart from Silicon Valley’s glamour. Initially a college dropout and an Air Force member turned aircraft technician, De La Cruz eventually found his way back to academia, culminating in a Wharton MBA.

Arcus, his fintech venture, stands as a testament to De La Cruz’s struggle against systemic barriers and his underdog status. It’s a product of his resilience, backed by giants like Y Combinator, Citi Ventures, SoftBank, and Ignia, showcasing the power of diverse thinking in a typically homogenous industry.

Edrizio De La Cruz

Edrizio’s approach to challenges is encapsulated in his words, “Whatever it takes.” He emphasizes resourcefulness, exemplified by his early days at Regalli, where they managed manual bill payments in the Dominican Republic. His mantra is that resilience, more than intelligence or pedigree, is key to startup success. “You will get beaten down repeatedly. How quickly you can get back up with a smile on your face is 80% of success.”

‘The Underdog Founder’ highlights the struggles of a Black and Hispanic entrepreneur in the predominantly white tech world of Silicon Valley. It emphasizes the importance of diversity programs and affirmative action in creating opportunities for often overlooked talents. De La Cruz’s story underscores the value of programs like SEO, MLT, and Toigo for underrepresented professionals.

His seven principles provide insight into overcoming racism, poverty, and imposter syndrome, offering guidance for all underdogs facing startup challenges.

Arcus’s recognition by Forbes as one of 2021’s most successful startups, leading to its acquisition by Mastercard, symbolizes a triumph for every ‘underdog’ founder. De la Cruz reflects, “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. If you keep iterating and learning and getting better, you put yourself in a position where ultimately opportunity meets luck, which equals success.”

‘The Underdog Founder’ by Edrizio De La Cruz is a manifesto for dreamers, fighters, and visionaries who transcend the barriers of race, creed, and socioeconomic status. It’s a playbook for those determined to carve out their success story, no matter their starting point.