In the hustle and din of Silicon Valley stand the unperceived yet resilient figures of Black, Hispanic, and countless underrepresented entrepreneurs striving to turn their dreams into reality. Among these persevering icons stands Edrizio De La Cruz, an underdog who managed to scale the summit of success against all odds. His journey, which began in a Dominican barrio, selling guavas, eventually led him to co-found his fintech startup, Arcus, in Silicon Valley’s competitive ecosystem.
Edrizio’s story brings a new wave of inspiration for all those who dream of overcoming adversity, echoing the sentiment that dreams are not purely the privilege of the privileged; they are hoped for, strained for, claimed, and finally owned with unwavering resilience. His awe-inspiring narrative, encapsulated in the biographical masterpiece “The Underdog Founder,” provides a roadmap to success for every young visionary, especially those from underprivileged and underrepresented societies.
Arcus, co-founded by Edrizio De La Cruz, burst forth onto the world’s stage by becoming one of the most successful startups of 2021, as recognized by Forbes. The company was introduced to the world with backing from renowned names such as Y Combinator, Citi Ventures, SoftBank, and Ignia, marking a significant point in his entrepreneurial journey. Eventually, the company was made an irresistible offer and was sold to Mastercard in 2021.
Even before his tryst with startup success, De La Cruz’s journey was anything but ordinary. After dropping out of college, De La Cruz enlisted in the US Air Force, where he became an aircraft technician to make ends meet. However, in a testament that it is never too late to pursue your dreams, he later returned to college. His relentless spirit led him to tread the hallowed halls of Wall Street before earning his MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
It is his earnest labor, coupled with unwavering determination, that converged in the founding of one of the most successful startups. “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. 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,” De La Cruz says. His adage demonstrates the practicality required to become resilient, adapt and overcome hardships in the journey to success.
De La Cruz’s powerful narrative, “The Underdog Founder,” is not merely his autobiographical account; it is a practical handbook presenting seven principles to conquer obstacles. These principles are of great import, highlighting the need to rise above racism, poverty, imposter syndrome, and an endless onslaught of startup struggles. The narrative speaks volumes about his own journey and aptly serves as an encouraging guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Echoing praises for the book, Junot Díaz, a New York Times bestselling author & Pulitzer Prize winner, called it “an exhilarating memoir, candid, unsentimental, and brilliantly courageous,” while Mitch Kapor, Founding Partner, Kapor Capital, lauded it for its “deeply authentic account.”
As De La Cruz’s narrative unfolds in “The Underdog Founder,” one can truly admire the power of diversity and affirmative action programs like SEO, MLT, and Toigo. These programs play an exceptional role by aiding underrepresented professionals to achieve their American dream, a path fraught with challenges.
Edrizio De La Cruz’s adventurous sojourn teaches us that success isn’t merely an end product of luck or privileged birth. Instead, it is an accumulation of endless perseverance, grit, determination, and the willpower to turn impediments into opportunities. His abiding legacy and indomitable spirit continue to inspire and enlighten the entrepreneurial world. Armed with a potent blend of tenacity and vision, Edrizio De La Cruz has ideated the beacon of hope that illuminates the path of every underdog who dreams of entrepreneurial glory.