Latina-owned Audio-First Media Startup Launches with Historic $80M Raise

Stephanie Valencia and Jess Morales

Latina activists and entrepreneurs Stephanie Valencia and Jess Morales Rocketto secured $80 million in investment to launch the Latino Media Network, an audio-first media company, as reported by Axios.

The capital raise is one of the largest for a Latina-owned and operated startup. With it, they were able to acquire 18 Hispanic radio stations across 10 Latino markets from TelevisaUnivision. According to Valencia, the markets "...are some of the densest markets in the country," referring to markets that include Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, and others. She continued, "They basically give us access to one-third of the Hispanic population in this country."

The stations are primarily Spanish-language but include some that are bilingual. The duo has been involved in politics for a number of years but has now logically set their sights on entering a media landscape that is severely underrepresented with Latino-owned media and over-represented by just two Spanish-language media giants.

Latino Media Network said it will create content to help the Latino community navigate complicated topics, like health care, finance, and other meaningful issues. Valencia stated, "So often our stories have been erased or invisible. In some ways, you wouldn't know that Latinos will be the principal part of the U.S. population in our lifetime," Valencia said. "Us being able to bring a sense of belonging, influence, and power to this community is incredibly important."

While the plan is to start with an audio-first, Spanish-language approach, they intend to expand their digital footprint into platforms like YouTube and into English and Bilingual English/Spanish language content.

Yuri Vega wearing a red sleeveless top looks at the camera. She has long blonder hair and is standing in front of a white brick wall

When Yuri Vega and Rommel Vega launched their footwear brand Holo Footwear two years ago, they had no idea where their journey would take them. Latina footwear ownership is almost non-existent and where it does exist, the products are often fashion shoes. Yuri and her partner decided to take on the extremely male-dominated sneaker market instead.

Not only did they choose to enter a very competitive market, but they took it a step further (pun intended) by deciding to make their products sustainable so that people don't have to choose between style, comfort, or mother Earth.

The path Yuri has taken is nothing short of inspiring and we hope she inspires other Latinas to walk in her shoes, literally.

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