EP 25: How Edrizio De La Cruz Became a Y Combinator Success Story

Edrizio De La Cruz | CEO and Founder of Arcus

This founder journey is one of persistence and eventual success, as Edrizio De La Cruz took his million-dollar idea from the South Bronx to Silicon Valley.

Edrizio De La Cruz of Arcus

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Episode Summary

Edrizio De La Cruz has always worked hard. From selling guavas on the streets of the Dominican Republic to bagging groceries in the South Bronx, the entrepreneur sought a better life for himself and an underserved community for years before his big break came from Y Combinator. Now he’s CEO of the FinTech startup Arcus, a Chestnut Street Ventures investment.

Y Combinator provides seed funding, mentorship, and training for startups, but acceptance into the program meant even more than that to De La Cruz.

“It was a relief,” he says of the experience. “It was either get funding or die. It’s like being thrown a life preserver when you’re drowning in the middle of the ocean. That’s literally how it felt.”

Now, just a few years later, Arcus has successfully raised an $8M Series A round that has the company poised to become, as they describe it, “the two-way protocol that financial institutions use to improve the financial lives of all people.” In simpler terms, Arcus has developed a B2B platform for financial data and bill payments that allows consumers to manage all financial services within their existing banking applications. Most importantly, the Arcus technology tokenizes payment methods so customers can securely continue to use debit or credit cards that have been compromised. Using Arcus, consumers save time, and banks save a great deal more because they don’t lose “top of wallet” consideration when a customer’s card goes missing.

“Everyone wants to be top of wallet,” De La Cruz says, “but it’s impossible to be top of wallet if consumers are losing their cards, or their cards are expired, damaged, or stolen. You’re actually unseated from top of wallet, and it’s really hard to get it back.”

According to the Arcus website, losing “top of wallet” position equates to a staggering $118B in annual lost revenue. With the tokenization of debit and credit cards, however, banks that sign up for the Arcus platform can keep their top of wallet position while helping consumers get their physical cards replaced.

In addition to lessons learned along the way, De La Cruz says says he is currently in the “second stage of becoming a CEO,” which creates a new set of challenges that this young entrepreneur will no doubt push through as well. Learn more about his journey by listening to this episode.

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Founders and Funders is a podcast where we discuss how entrepreneurs and investors work together to build great companies. Our guests — many of whom are connected with AVG as entrepreneurs, investors, managing partners, and fellows — are invited here to talk about the journey of building companies from incubation to early-stage investing and beyond.

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