WHN Miami 2023: The Journey of a Founder

Founders Gabriela Rocha and Anabel Perez spoke about the challenges for female entrepreneurs.


  • Gabriela Rocha, Co-Founder & COO, Laboratoria
  • Anabel Perez, Co-Founder & CEO, NovoPayment
  • Romina Seltzer, Senior Vice President – Head of Products & Innovation, Visa Latin America & the Caribbean

"In 2021, women accounted for 49 percent of new business versus 28% in 2019," said Romina Seltzer of Visa, kicking off the panel "The Journey of a Founder" at the 8th AS/COA Women's Hemispheric Network (WHN) Forum in Miami. "Even though we see those statistics, there are still significant challenges that women face, from having a support system to getting funding," she continued.

Seltzer began the discussion by asking about women's challenges in getting their companies off the ground. "I received 88 No's," said Anabel Perez of Novopayment on getting funding from investors. Eventually, Perez met a female investor who understood her vision for her company. "It is all about believing in others and connecting," she said.

Another topic was companies' efforts to create a safe space for female talent. Gabriela Rocha of Laboratoria sees a lot of "gender washing," as she explained. "A lot of times, as soon as you start engaging with diversity and inclusion initiatives, you can check a box, but then if you actually look at what is happening, it is not enough."