5 Questions with Tricia Martinez, Managing Director of Techstars Payments powered by Stellar and MoneyGram

Jun 27, 2022

Tricia Martínez is the Managing Director of the Techstars Payments Accelerator Powered by Stellar and MoneyGram. Tricia is an experienced serial entrepreneur, executive, and activist passionate about driving large-scale impact through technology and innovation. Tricia has earned titles including top 20 founders of color by Conscious Company Magazine, Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a top 100 FinTech Leader, Most Influential People in Blockchain, among others. Tricia is also an alumna of the London Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars participating in the 2016 program with her blockchain-enabled financial services platform, Wala.

01. What are you looking for in startups for the Techstars Payments Accelerator?

I am looking for bold Founders in the fintech space that recognize the massive opportunity across emerging markets, specifically LatAm, and who are already using or are interested in using blockchain to scale their technology. Areas of interest include:

  1. Cross-Border Payments

  2. Blockchain

  3. Digital Wallets & Fintech Apps

  4. Digital Identity & KYC

  5. Financial Infrastructure as a Service

  6. Payroll

  7. Retail Services

  8. Transactions & Ecommerce

  9. Micropayments

  10. Financial Literacy

The payments space has endless opportunities for innovation. Consumers are waiting for disruptive solutions that solve their problems - high fees, inefficient systems, broken infrastructure, and unstable currencies. If you or someone you know is building the future of payments, reach out to me today - tricia.martinez@techstars.com

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars MD?

Over the course of my entrepreneurial life, I’ve gained a wealth of experience designing products, building and managing passionate teams, scaling technologies, and most importantly driving impact. I’ve dealt with my fair share of challenges and setbacks. However, I have comfort in the unknown because I see a blank canvas as a way to change the world. Through my learned experiences, I preach these 8 mottos:

  • Mission-driven: Always let the mission drive you and your actions.

  • Empathy: Design, lead, and create by understanding those who you are serving.

  • Entrepreneurship: Always stay curious, hungry, driven, and keep building.

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: We are stronger, more resilient, and fierce when we are different.

  • Mental health: Always take care of yourself and your family.

  • Grit: When things get really hard, learn to push harder and bounce back.

  • Innovation: Aspire to improve and go beyond the norm.

  • Passion: Have fun and always stay hungry!

03. What do our partners, Stellar and MoneyGram bring to the accelerator?

Building and scaling fintech solutions requires robust infrastructure, partnerships across countries, regulatory and compliance know-how, and of course, innovative and low cost technology. Both Stellar and Moneygram provide all these things and more and through the Techstars Payments Accelerator they will enable fintechs to navigate across some of the most complex markets faster while surrounding them with invaluable tools and resources. 

Stellar, a decentralized network for storing and moving money, and MoneyGram, a cross-border P2P payments and money transfer company with operations around the world, are the perfect match to support the future of payments companies. 

04. Why is DEI in the startup ecosystem important to you?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities for me as a Techstars managing director, investor and entrepreneur. We are stronger when we are different. When people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences come together, incredible things can happen. Not only will all of society benefit from seeing diverse representation across businesses and industry, but inclusive environments also drive more innovation and impact. It is a no brainer!

As a Latina, I’ve unfortunately been one of the only ones at the table in the fintech, blockchain, and AI world. That is going to change. It is my responsibility as an innovator to push norms and build more inclusive environments in the startup community so that we have greater representation, can be exposed to better ideas, and scale more impactful solutions. 

05. Tell us about your personal experience as an alum of a Techstars Accelerator and why you are returning? 

When you are a first-time founder there are endless lessons to learn. This is just part of the journey. And for startups leveraging novel technologies in difficult markets, the risks are even greater. Participating in a Techstars accelerator will enable you to go through these challenges alongside other founders who are going through the same startup growing pains. Our entrepreneurs will have a proven support system that includes myself and our incredible Payments team, mentors, and partners who will all help guide you through this experience and do whatever they can to make sure you succeed. (And you will learn and gain more than you could ever imagine in a 3 month time frame!)

The saying “Techstars for life” is 100% accurate. Participating in the Techstars program with Barclays bank in London was honestly the best few months of my life. The skills I gained, the relationships I built, the experience I had is what set me on a path for success. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience. My life’s mission is to change the world and that is what has led me back to Techstars. Through the Techstars Payments Accelerator I can do just that by investing in, supporting, and nurturing game-changing startups that are tackling one of the most complex problems in our world, financial exclusion. 

Join us on July 12th to meet the team and learn more