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Some of the top NYU startups participate in the NYU Summer Launchpad accelerator program. In this series, we will introduce you to one team a week so that you can get to know the 2020 cohort.
This blog post was written by Laura Rocha (Wagner ‘20), founder of Dathic, in collaboration with Nina A. Grant.
In 2017 Laura Rocha (Wagner ‘20) and Jose Daniel Ramirez, two latino immigrants, had the idea to form the data technology company, Dathic. Passionate about using technology to make latinx consumers visible, valued, and represented in American retail, they founded the business in 2020. Dathic provides solutions to assist companies in making informed decisions when targeting hispanic communities in the United States.
“When I arrived in the US in 2017 I realized that the Latinx community had a powerful connotation here, but given that each Latin American country has its own cultural elements in the food, music or traditions, describing all of us as Latinos or Hispanics falls short”, shared Laura. She and Daniel wanted to keep this Latinx pride that they saw in the US alive in the work they did together while recognizing the value of the different cultures in the Latino communities. Both founders' backgrounds provided them with the skills to put together a company that would make Latinx consumers feel a sense of belonging, while allowing companies to be able to serve communities at a personal level.
Laura Rocha is a lawyer and recent graduate of NYU Wagner with a Masters in Public Administration. She has worked developing projects from the public and private sector to support vulnerable populations in different regions in Colombia. After seeing how members of communities assisted each other in prospering, she learned how innovation and technology drive social change. Her work in Colombia, and volunteer work in the US, showed that change comes from within the community, and keeping those efforts sustainable takes knowing the people you’re serving and potentializing them as a community. Through her education in social innovation and work in the public policy field, she was able to develop entrepreneurial solutions to solve community challenges.
Jose Daniel Ramirez has a Masters in Computer and Data Science from Columbia University, which has guided him to engage in some profound work in his field. He works with a passion to apply technology to solve social issues in different communities. One of his creations earned him the recognition of Social Innovator Under 35 by MIT. Similar to Laura, Ramirez’s work in Colombia has inspired him to get involved in helping governments and family businesses prosper using automation and artificial intelligence.
Dathic developed an AI-based market location intelligence platform for consumer packaged goods companies that understands the different hispanic communities in the US and compares retailers identifying the best stores to distribute the products that hispanic communities love. It helps companies selling to hispanic consumers prove demand in a specific area, de-risk and optimize product development or personalize advertisement when targeting specific hispanic communities.
Laura and Jose Daniel started the venture while helping the family-owned Puerto Rican business Los Cidrines to expand into US retail. Cidrines sells their famous pan sobao in various storefronts, mainly in Florida, as well as in their home island of Puerto Rico. In 2017, Daniel and Laura met one of Cidrines’s investors who faced the challenge of identifying areas where Puerto Ricans are located in the US and the best stores in which to sell their product. Volunteering at the Colombian Consulate in New York, they had identified that this was a recurrent and difficult challenge for latino companies selling ethnic products in the US. Based on their experience in technology and data and an understanding of hispanic culture and communities, they provided data analytics and artificial intelligence models to help Cidrines to expand distribution to Walmart stores in other states, as well as to new retailers. Their services included identifying specific areas where Puerto Ricans are located in the US, and understanding their interests based on multiple variables including demographics, geolocation, social media data and select strategic stores. With all this information, Dathic was able to identify the areas with high concentration of Puerto Ricans, their interests, if they speak mostly Spanish or English, and the best retailers to serve this community. This data brought valuable information to Cidrines and helped them meet their objectives to expand their distribution as well as their audience—in fact, the company has shown an increase in the number of stores from 100 to more than 2,800 since Dathic started working for with in 2018.
In 2019, Diana Prieto, a business engineer with wide experience in marketing joined the Dathic founding team sharing the passion and optimism of using data and technology to empower Latinx businesses to make better decisions. “I believe Artificial Intelligence should not be restricted to big corporations. At Dathic, we are committed to bringing this technology to midsize companies and helping them to grow and make a bigger impact” said Diana. Her experience in B2B marketing and product development complement the team in the areas of sales and marketing.
Participating in different NYU entrepreneurship programs, the team has been strengthening the business plan and gaining traction in a short period of time. This summer, the NYU Summer Launchpad program provided many benefits for the members of the Dathic team. “We had the opportunity to meet great mentors with broad experience in entrepreneurship and also learned a huge amount about business development in the tech sector. This helped us to acquire new customers and improve our technology” shared Santiago Alvarez, software developer at Dathic.
In the next few months, Dathic plans to keep growing in the number of companies subscribing to their platform. They also have objectives set to work with retailers and distributors to help them select suppliers and rank stores that could better serve the Hispanic community. By working to improve technology to make algorithms more accurate and able to better understand different demographics and learn about products, Dathic is able to assist companies in growing their market in the most efficient way possible.
The work Dathic has done for Cidrines has had a profound impact on the company’s progress and expansion in the United States. With their hands-on team, Dathic will continue to bring quality services and technology advancement to empower companies and minorities, showing that it is possible to make technology accessible and use it to make the biggest positive impact in communities.