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Latino Trailblazer

Nathalie Molina Niño Forges

  • Gender: Female
  • University: Columbia University
  • University: University of Colorado Boulder
  • Undergraduate Degree: Theater Arts
  • Hometown: Los Angeles
  • State: Los Angeles
  • Position Title: Entrepreneur, Investor, Author

Nathalie Molina Niño was raised in Los Angeles, where, as she recounted in an interview with Breakout, she watched her parents toil in sweatshops and “learned early on what hard work and long hours looked like.” In an interview with Forbes, she describes her Colombian mother and Ecuadorian father as “scrappy, persistent immigrant parents” who “wired” her to be enterprising. She also feels that growing up in a multi-cultural home taught her to “be flexible, think outside the box, and look at situations more objectively,” according to The M Dash.

At the age of 20, Nathalie was studying cartography at the University of Colorado Boulder, while simultaneously launching a tech company that built websites, when she learned that she had cervical cancer. She dropped out of school to focus on her health and, eventually, also exited her tech company. She subsequently co-launched another business, translating software into different languages. Over the next 11 years, she built four companies before her health forced to retire from technology.

She then moved to New York and, in her mid-thirties, enrolled at Columbia University to study playwriting, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts. While at Columbia, she used her tech experience to teach budding entrepreneurs at Barnard College. She told Forbes that up until then, she hadn’t viewed herself as a role model, explaining that it was only when she received mentorship requests and inquiries about her trajectory, as her students considered how they might model their careers after her, that the realization hit. When it did, she came up with a plan: “I needed to get back in the game and recommit to leaving this [tech] industry in better condition.”

Nathalie’s projects during and since that time include co-founding Entrepreneurs@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies of Barnard College, aimed at leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs. She also led the launch of SELF MADE, the NY Times best-selling book, company, mobile app, and learning platform by Telemundo’s former Entertainment president, Nely Galán. In 2015, Nathalie stepped in as interim chief revenue officer of PowerToFly, a startup aimed at closing the gender gap in tech. The following year, she founded BRAVA Investments, an investment platform targeting startups and innovative businesses, particularly those benefitting women.

Currently, she is President of O³, which develops investment solutions that advance economic equality. She is also a venture partner for Connectivity Venture Fund, a strategic advisor for Full Cycle, and a member of the WOCstar Fund Advisory Board. In all of these roles, she is engaged in the creation of transformative change through investment. Connectivity Venture Fund seeks out mission-driven entrepreneurs, while Full Cycle is a private equity firm that invests in companies utilizing technology to solve the climate crisis.  WOCstar Fund seeks to empower communities and individuals, specifically women of color, who are often overlooked by traditional investors.

Nathalie is also the author of Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs, a book that shares her best insights from her experience searching the globe for investment-worthy startups, her meetings with thousands of entrepreneurs, and her time teaching in the classroom. In the introduction, she writes, ”I want companies that can change systems, by putting money and power in the pockets of many women…. Only then will we see women begin to rival men in building companies that change the future of their families and the world.” Through her work, she is investing in and creating that change.