How Stephanie Buelna-Betancourt Turned Her Love for Travel into a Tech Startup

Crunchbase Highlight is a collection that celebrates range and inclusion in entrepreneurship, challenge capital, and tech through profiling other people of colour, girls, and people who determine as LGBTQ.

Stephanie Buelna-Betancourt Crunchbase SpotlightWhilst you develop up gazing family members construct thriving companies from scratch, you’re certain to be impressed.

That’s precisely what came about to Stephanie Buelna-Betancourt, the Founder and CEO of Buena AI, a productiveness instrument for shoppers to make good, significant purchases in shuttle and retail.

The Town of Angels

Buelna-Betancourt’s tale starts in Los Angeles.

Raised through immigrant folks, she grew up gazing them get started and develop a thriving trade with out a assets. They didn’t have connections to leverage, cash within the financial institution to present them years of runway, buyers providing capital, and even talk English once they arrived within the U.S.

Witnessing her folks paintings laborious to construct a higher existence for their circle of relatives left an affect on Buelna-Betancourt. As she defined, “It’s particular to come back from a circle of relatives of immigrants who’re entrepreneurial. I noticed them paintings laborious, they usually did it with out many assets.”

Relocating to every other nation and integrating your self into a new tradition is difficult sufficient. To do it and construct no longer simply one however two a success companies is a testomony to their laborious paintings and grit. Traits that, as they’d to find out, their daughter inherited.

Taking the Entrepreneurial Soar

After graduating from UCLA in 2019 (Buelna-Betancourt was once the primary member of her circle of relatives to visit faculty), alternative got here knocking.

Now not best did Buelna-Betancourt sign up for one of the most important alumni networks within the U.S., however she was once additionally within the center of the leisure capital of the sector. The latter resulted in internships and full-time alternatives with a number of main leisure firms in Los Angeles, together with Reside Country and AEG. The previous would end up to be treasured within the no longer too far away long term.

With a occupation within the leisure area starting off, she had the whole lot going for herself. That’s why it got here as a wonder when she made up our minds to go away the business and transfer to Australia the place she would sign up for a small startup within the veterinary science business.

Whilst it was once a departure from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, becoming a member of the startup allowed Buelna-Betancourt to put on more than one hats and spot the interior workings of establishing a trade. This was once a useful revel in that might serve her subsequent act: entrepreneur.

In 2019, Buelna-Betancourt made up our minds to take the entrepreneurial soar and get started her personal trade.

As an avid solo traveler, she sought after an more straightforward approach to connect to individuals who shared the similar zest for globetrotting. Scratching her personal itch, she became this ache level into her first corporate, TravelBreak, a community to assist solo vacationers meet.

Whilst TravelBreak was once supposed to unravel a downside she had skilled, Buelna-Betancourt ran into a not unusual scenario for startup founders: it was once too early for her corporate. She began the trade sooner than social media’s upward push to prominence and on-line shuttle magazines was standard.

Alternatively, as an alternative of packing her baggage and calling it a day, Buelna-Betancourt was once made up our minds to make TravelBreak paintings. Leveraging her background in virtual advertising and shuttle, TravelBreak pivoted to a virtual advertising consultancy that specialised in tourism. Over a hundred logo shoppers later, which integrated Fortune 500 firms and way of life manufacturers, Buelna-Betancourt discovered her area of interest as an entrepreneur.

The Release of Buena AI

As a advisor, Buelna-Betancourt spent a lot of time in the way of life and tourism industries, which gave her a possibility to look the issues content material creators and types have been having. One downside particularly caught out: the gear they have been the usage of to achieve Millennials and Gen Z have been old-fashioned.

Seeing a possibility to unravel a downside, she took her complete existence financial savings – $50,000 on the time – and introduced BUENA AI.

With a center of attention on shuttle and way of life, the BUENA AI generation in an instant makes content material shop-able. It permits shoppers to search out data on-line, examine their choices, and know they’re receiving truthful suggestions. For content material creators and media firms, it permits them to tell readers about the most productive merchandise and reports whilst monetizing their posts.

As Buelna-Betancourt describes it, “Pinterest meets Trello for significant purchases in shuttle and CPG.”

Regardless of this thrilling new bankruptcy in her occupation, Buelna-Betancourt had a downside.
For a tech corporate, $50,000 best is going to this point. Faster moderately than later, there must be a sport plan for scaling and developing a sustainable trade.

As destiny would have it, the chance to scale BUENAAI got here when Buelna-Betancourt was once featured in UCLA’s alumni newsletter. An alumnus who was once an angel investor stuck wind of what she was once construction and invested, giving the corporate some runway.

Whilst it’s early days for the productiveness instrument, it has already garnered backing from a number of Angel buyers, together with:

  • Tracie Rotter, Spouse at Google Ventures
  • Jeff and Robin Rothstein, Managing Administrators of Golden Seeds
  • Steve Yu, CFO on the UCLA Faculty of Regulation

Buelna-Betancourt has constructed her occupation in a identical style as her folks – with relentless paintings ethic, grit, and resolution. Those are the traits that experience enabled her to head from the intense lighting fixtures of Hollywood to beginning her personal corporate.

Because the previous announcing is going, the apple doesn’t fall some distance from the tree.

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