Founder series: Interview with Martha Hernandez, founder of madeBOS

Please join us in welcoming Martha Hernandez, founder of madeBOS. A Latina founder from East Oakland, Martha’s startup challenges how the retail industry hires and develops its employees.

What inspired you to build madeBOS?

Working for California’s largest privately owned Latino Retailer (at the time) sparked the idea to build madeBOS. It was the first time I worked with a management team that was mostly Latino and also well paid. The Founder/CEO invested in the professional development of every employee.

I later learned how rare this experience was; similar companies do not value their low wage workers and Latinos are often in the lowest paid positions. I wanted to make an impact, so I began to explore ways to use technology as an accessible, scalable solution for career development.

Why are you crowdfunding?

The values of crowdfunding align with madeBOS. It empowers anyone in the community to get involved, whether you’re an experienced investor, an immigrant, or a single mom.

What are some startups you would invest in?

Dropbox — Even in its early days, I was impressed by the people Dropbox hired and how they built a unique culture where employees felt part of a family.

Uber — As an investor, I’d love to have an influence on how Uber operates. Uber has a huge impact on local communities and I think they have potential to do more.

Beyond that, I want to invest in a generation of diverse founders who can grow up to be role models that change the world.

Which investors would you love madeBOS to have?

To me, it’s all about impact. I’d love the two giants — Facebook and Walmart.

Facebook — As the leading social platform, Facebook could offer more than just investment. They could also provide madeBOS with mentorship and growth opportunities, enhancing our ability to impact retail employees at scale.

Walmart — madeBOS could offer a huge difference to so many employees. Walmart’s investment would act as an accountability statement to help employees grow outside of low paid roles.

Who do you look up to as entrepreneurs?

The people I admire come from humble backgrounds. They are determined, which allows them to create amazing things. And they always have their community in mind.

Who do you consider to be your mentor?

I’ve worked with so many great mentors, but two stand out: The first is Deldelp Mendina, Director of Code2040’s Residency Program. We met while I was a participant in Avion, her pre-accelerator program for Latinas in Tech. As a Latina, Deldelp was able to resonate with my journey and offer advice. The second is Asma Ishaq, she’s President of Collagen Sciences. Asma has been an inspiration to me — her brave actions, such as starting a company as a single mom, showed me that when you dream big, want to make a difference in the world, and work hard anything is possible.

What’s the most interesting learning you’ve had in building madeBOS?

Raising my son Joaquin (9 years old) and building madeBOS has been an interesting journey. He jokes that if I retire, he will take over as CEO. It fulfills me to hear Joaquin speak of himself as a company CEO; I began madeBOS because I want people like Joaquin to pursue career aspirations that are rewarding and financially sustainable.

Being a founder is stressful. How do you decompress?

I sing! 2 years ago I began pursuing my passion for singing and songwriting. A few months ago I performed at the Mexican version of Coachella in Central California.

What do you want others to know about you?

People constantly underestimate me. They look at me and think “no way you’ve done all of this in your career.” But I get things done. To be a founder, determination and resilience are more important than being the smartest person in the room.

Learn more about what Martha’s team is building and get your questions answered here.

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