April 13, 2017

How mitú Recognized an Underserved Audience & Empowered the Next Generation of Latino Storytellers

In this month’s ‘Startup Stories,’ mitú’s founding partner Beatriz Acevedo discusses her early beginnings in entertainment and a few memorable moments throughout mitú’s journey.

My passion for entertainment started when I was eight. I got my first job at a radio station then leveraged that experience to continue into television where I wrote and produced a three-time Emmy Award winning TV show. During my time working in television, I recall several major sponsors constantly asking me how to reach Latino youth online. At that time, media companies were so focused on targeting Spanish-language TV that they had yet to realize this coveted audience was English-dominant and not watching TV anymore. After conducting research of my own, it was evident that no one had cracked the code on servicing this highly mobile, early adopter, demographic at scale. That was my first eye-opening “a-ha” moment. 

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Beginnings of “Me and You”

With no dedicated digital brand serving the Latino demographic, we recognized how large and underserved this audience was (Click to Tweet). Allen DeBevoise, the founder of Machinima, and my former Warner Brothers client, Lydia Antonini, encouraged my husband Doug Greiff and me to take advantage of this burgeoning opportunity by starting a company.  It felt like a no brainer for us, and in 2012 we launched mitú . My co-founder Roy Burstin came up with the name – the literal English translation being “me and you” or “a place for me and you.” It was perfect – short and sweet, and more importantly it conveyed community, which is core to our brand.

Fake it til you make it

Starting a digital media company has been an exciting and ever-evolving process. I thought my television production background would have provided me with the skillset I needed, but I found out very quickly that running mitú required a very specialized knowledge. I vividly remember my first meeting at YouTube where I was frantically Googling technical digital terms like MCN, TrueView, metadata and SEO under the table because I had no idea what they meant. While it’s funny to look back on that now, it was definitely one of the most stressful meetings I’ve ever had!

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There was also a great moment when I co-presented with Russell Simmons at a conference held at Soho House in Los Angeles. Afterward, Russell asked if I was sticking around for dinner and of course I said yes! After sitting down together and ordering food, the waitress asked if I was a member and when I said I wasn't, she asked me to leave in front of Russell Simmons (Click to Tweet). So I lied and said my husband was a member, and gave her the name of one of my investors, Allen DeBevoise. He was my “fake” husband for the night. Making matters worse, when the waitress asked me to spell my husband's last name, I had to spell it out very slowly and carefully as if I were in the last round of a spelling bee to make sure I spelled it correctly.

Finding a balance

It’s exciting to see how mitú is challenging stereotypes by showcasing the different stories and perspectives of young Latinos in this country (Click to Tweet). I couldn’t be more proud of the team that brings these stories to life every day, especially the group of women at mitú who work tirelessly across every department, from product to public affairs. They impress me every day - they are young, smart, and passionate about what we are building together at mitú. I look forward to the day when I will pass the baton to them so they can lead the future of the company.

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Traveling for work and missing school events can be hard at times, but it's a sacrifice I have to make in order to build a platform for Latino youths like my 11-year-old twins. I often hear other female entrepreneurs say that we are teaching our kids a lesson in hard work and gender equality, but I still struggle with balancing work and family life. At the end of the day, the ultimate reward for me is to feel our collective hard work pay off; mitú is empowering the next generation of storytellers who traditionally have not had a voice in media.

Tags: Media , content , Startup Stories , mitú