Career app links Latinos
Latinc provides a culturally-attuned professional social network
When software developer and information technology specialist Claritza Abreu first came to the U.S., she felt lost. She arrived from the Dominican Republic with the skills and degree worthy of a good job, but without the personal and professional connections to find one.
Now, many years later, Abreu's resume boasts a long list of high-level positions, and she is looking to smooth the way for other Latino individuals, whether they are recent immigrants, college graduates or others.
In early June, Abreu launched Latinc, a career-oriented social networking site and app tailored for the Latino community.
“I've been doing mentoring on a one-on-one basis, trying to help people,” Abreu said, “and I thought, ‘Can I do something more massive?'”
She found her answer in Latinc, whose structure she describes as a convergence of Facebook and LinkedIn
“It is the first and only mobile app for Latino professionals to connect,” Abreu said. “It's for professionals but more interactive and socially oriented. We wanted people to develop closer relationships for them to support each other in their professional careers.”
How it works
Latinc invites users to create profiles, request mentoring from another member, view daily suggested job openings and take industry-relevant low-cost online training courses. Members are encouraged to represent their full selves, Abreu said, including their heritage. Users identify their own or their family's country of origin with a flag icon attached to their profiles, which she says provides another connection point. In the future, users also will be able to identify as part of certain non-ethnic communities, such as LGBTQ, veterans or people with disabilities.
The platform's cultural attunement is incorporated in minor profile aspects as well, such as the ability for users to enter two first names and two last names.
Employers interested in drawing applicants from or otherwise connecting with Latino communities have reached out to Latinc leadership. These include the Massachusetts state department of education, Liberty Mutual and Latino professional organizations.
“This is going to be one single source where they can reach out to professionals — not only for recruitment, but also to the Latino community as one of the largest consumer markets in the United States to market products and services,” Abreu said.
The app and website are offered in Spanish and English, and there are plans to expand into Portuguese and French. Featured online trainings are not currently tied to accreditation programs, but talks are underway with colleges and other organizations to explore such a move.
Thus far, the platform is U.S.-only and focuses particularly on an audience of Latino millennials, which Abreu notes currently make up the largest minority group graduating from college.
The firm's revenue model is similar to other social media, with dollars coming in from advertising, company memberships, premium membership and job postings.
Latinc leadership is in talks with investors, and additional funding could accelerate marketing efforts — which Abreu says has been the most difficult part. The company has been spreading awareness on social media, as well as at Latino professional events. While the platform still is working to grow membership, Abreu says feedback has been positive and even non-Latino individuals have joined the site and app.
Abreu co-founded the platform with partner Mueen Delvi. Latinc now comprises a six-person Boston-based team and another six-person team in India. Abreu works part time at Latinc now, but if all goes well, she anticipates making it a full-time pursuit by January.