Startup Spotlight: Mundo Lanugo

Aug 27, 2017

Startup Spotlight: Mundo Lanugo

Aug 27, 2017

MEET CARLA CURIEL – FOUNDER & CEO OF MUNDO LANUGO, A MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY THAT INSPIRES CONFIDENCE AND A SENSE OF BELONGING AMONG LATINO CHILDREN.

 

What is Mundo Lanugo?

Mundo Lanugo is a bilingual media entertainment company focused creating culturally relevant content that promotes diversity and inclusion. Digital platforms, broadcast television, publishing, and live shows are produced to connect children to educational and entertaining content that showcases the Latino culture and promotes the Spanish language while inspiring pride, confidence and a sense of belonging through a cultural toolbox.

GH: How did Mundo Lanugo get started?

Mundo Lanugo started very personal and became professional upon my realization that I was not alone.  The second I became a mom, I had an urge to share with my twins our traditional songs, our games, and our story.  I also wanted to pass along my Latino values and traditions, and provide my children with a sense of belonging and identity in their Hispanic Heritage.  Needless to say, I also wanted to give them the gift of being bilingual and maintain their Spanish language. But when I went to the stores looking for tools to help me raise proud bilingual and bicultural children, I just could not find any products that resonated with me. I longed to see our spice, our culture, our uniqueness represented in media and consumer products.
Having graduated from Babson College, the #1 school in Entrepreneurship worldwide, I knew what the next step was to figure out if I was alone in this (the one crazy Latina mom) or if this was a real unmet need in the market. Seeing the staggering numbers from the research and realizing the amount of friends, family and community moms struggling with the same issue, I came to the conclusion that it was an opportunity and my calling to develop those characters and that brand that I so desired for my kids, and that would serve as a bridge to help them grow a healthy identity with both cultures. And so like that, it became professional and MY business to ultimately create what I felt was needed: a children’s media company focused on creating culturally relevant content that promotes diversity and inclusion – starting with Latinos.

GH: How did you build / are you thinking about building your team?

Building a team without funds is quite challenging, but my co-founder and I were able to secure capital to bring in a full-time creative director early on. Then, via our board of advisors, I’ve been able to bring to our team top-notch industry experts that I could not afford otherwise: a two-time Emmy winner children’s writer-producer, a licensing professor, the ex “Batman” manager of Warner Bros., and a toy executive from Fisher-Price. Currently, we are looking to bring in a CMO and expand our production team with our next capital raise.

GH: What is your company philosophy driving your organization’s culture?

Our guiding principle is that all we exist for the benefit of our children because we adamantly believe that children need to know where they come from in order to be confident about where they are going.

GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?

Back in early 2015 we were low on funds and not generating any revenue. My co-founder and I could not longer finance this media venture by ourselves, and we were extremely concerned. We even had the “should we be doing this? does it make sense?” discussion. I must admit, I was scared of going out and raising funds because I had never done it before, and I kept on hearing in the Miami ecosystem: “we invest in tech only companies” or the “we only invest in companies generating revenue.” After delaying the inevitable for a few months, I changed the mindset and went out to family and friends to raise our first round. In a week and a half, I had raised double the amount we had set out to, and had to close the round and deny other interested parties that wanted in. It felt freaking awesome!!! It revalidated for me the worth of Mundo Lanugo’s mission and the believe that other people had in our capacity and talents to make it happen. I was incredibly grateful and honored.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers?

I initially launched BebeLanugo – a Latino inspired apparel line for kids. I saw quickly that at trade shows moms would buy the product, but they would be more interested in knowing when we were going to launch animated cartoons, books, music, etc. Through that I learnt that Latina moms were demanding more. That they wanted a 360 solution/approach to their current challenge in raising bilingual and bicultural children, and didn’t want to settle for less. Our community wants a full array of product assortment/tools that are convenient and valuable.

What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

MassChallenge, in particular, has been great to us. We’ve been paired with wonderful mentors, empowering speakers, and a great office space to work out of. In fact, through MassChallenge, I learned about The Capital Network. 🙂

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

I’m still pretty new to the Boston ecosystem and coming from Miami, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find such a big community empowering entrepreneurs. There are a lot more resources than where I am coming from. The one thing that I have noticed is that the ecosystem is more ‘geared’ towards certain industries than others, and there’s a need for more media investors, but overall, we’ve felt very embraced.

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?

  • Best: Stop preaching to the wrong choir – in regards to pitching to people that just don’t get the space.
  • Worst: I can’t recall any that’s been particularly bad. Sometimes the advice might not be in line with our strategy, but there’s always something that can be learned from an honest suggestion.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

Our early traction has been exciting and it’s hard to just pick one best thing from this past year, but if I have to, I would say that it has been the partners that we’ve been able to secure. Working with Univision, Youtube, Google and Samsung for different initiatives has truly been an honor and a badge of credibility for us.

 

GH: What does the future hold for Mundo Lanugo?

We are especially excited about continuing the path towards developing our full animated children’ series and growing our merchandise program. You can expect great partnerships with broadcasters, co-production companies, distributors and direct-to-retail programs.

Learn more about Mundo Lanugo here!

 

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