Photo: Chilean immigrant Pablo Fuentes
As a tech entrepreneur, Chilean immigrant Pablo Fuentes helps people apply for jobs from their cell phones, while as a mentor, he seeks to increase the presence of minorities in Silicon Valley.
Fuentes is the founder and CEO of Proven, a mobile application that lets users seek and apply for jobs from their cell phones, and whose service has recently been expanded with an app for employers to make the whole hiring process easier.
“It’s a tool for the worker who uses Craigslist,” in other words, for sectors like construction or health care that don’t have space on sites like LinkedIn, the 33-year-old Fuentes told Efe from his San Francisco office.
A UCLA graduate in Political Science with an MBA from Stanford Business School, he worked in marketing, sales and finance for companies like Trust Company of the West, Prudential Equity Group and Stadium Capital Management before founding Proven en 2009 together with partner Sean Falconer.
He described what a long, winding road it was to get the business going in an article for the Web publication PandoDaily, in which he humorously shares the seven lessons learned from his startup that cost him $2 million and almost left him out on the streets.
Despite the setbacks, Fuentes continues believing in doing business for better reasons than just getting rich.
“It’s not the smartest way to make money,” he laughed. “What I enjoy is the process of creating something, which for me is compulsive, and making a difference in someone’s life,” he said.
“Knowing that what I do benefits another person is what keeps me going day after day,” he said.
Proven now has more than 150,000 users.
Last year Fuentes was invited to the White House to talk about his work as a mentor, a role that he develops in the business accelerator NewMe, focused on minorities.
“A lot of people helped me and that’s why I try to use my time wisely to help others,” he said.
Though it’s an ecosystem that takes pride in being a meritocracy, there is little doubt that blacks, Latinos and women are still underrepresented in Silicon Valley.