Collectively, the curated lineup of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs speaking at the virtual Urban Tech Connect // Forward conference have already raised more than half a billion dollars. These talented startup founders represent the idea of what’s possible, and they’ll be sharing their firsthand experiences September 15 – 17.

Rising to the top in sectors such as banking, beauty, digital media, gaming, and consumer goods requires hustle and grit. Take Alexandra Zatarain, the co-founder and VP of brand and marketing for smart mattress company Eight Sleep, for example. “I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, not too far geographically from Silicon Valley, but very far in terms of culture and opportunities,” she says.

Zatarain used her background and passion for communication to get into the tech sector. “From day one I began learning about every other aspect of building a business — from product to fundraising,” she said. “I can only hope that my own journey serves as a reference to others who feel that these opportunities are too far out of reach for them.”

The entrepreneurs speaking at Urban Tech Connect // Forward this year represent the future of tech, demonstrating what’s possible. They include:

During Urban Tech Connect, the founders plan to discuss the challenges they faced and how they addressed them in order to move forward. They’ll also dig into smart strategies that fellow entrepreneurs can adopt right now.

As we know, the percentage of dollars flowing to Black and Latinx founders remains abysmally low. There’s plenty of work ahead. Learning from the Urban Tech Connect speakers could kickstart changes — and catalyze new success stories. Let’s make it happen.