Creating an Inclusive Tech Community with Desiree Vargas Wrigley
Play • 37 min

Founders looking to secure funding face a long, arduous process. Founders of color can find it almost impossible and often receive significantly less money than their white counterparts. Desiree Vargas Wrigley believes that the tech ecosystem in Chicago needs to do more to support and nurture the untapped potential of Black and Latinx founders.

Desiree is our guest this week on Innovation and the Digital Enterprise. She shares her experience as one of the two Latinx women in the last decade to have raised over a million dollars and her vision for an inclusive Chicago tech community. Listen to the episode for more from Desiree and her company, P33.

  • (01:05) - Making Chicago an innovation hub
  • (03:07) - Finding founders
  • (04:51) - New areas of focus
  • (07:57) - Network access
  • (09:49) - Need for speed
  • (14:59) - First levels of support
  • (17:18) - Founding Give Forward
  • (19:23) - Developing Chicago
  • (26:20) - Tech is changing
  • (28:34) - Inspiration and mentorship
  • (30:34) - Blame & credit

Desiree Vargas Wrigley is a Latina serial entrepreneur and Executive Director of TechRise by P33. Her companies include Pearachute, a company that helps parents and children drop into the best family activities in town. 

Prior to launching Pearachute, Desiree co-founded GiveForward, the world’s leading crowd giving platform for people facing a major life event. Under her leadership, the company helped friends and family contribute nearly $160M to loved ones in need. 

After graduating from Yale, Desiree worked at the Kauffman Foundation as a specialist in entrepreneurship and at Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors. She taught New Venture Discovery at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Desiree has been named Inc's 30 Under 30, Crain's 40 Under 40, one of Parents Magazine's Most Inspiring Moms, one of Forbes' Women to Watch, and has appeared on Shark Tank, closing one of the largest deals on the show to date. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her 2 young sons, stepdaughter, and crime-fighting husband.

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Podcast episode production by Dante32.

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