How Ruben Flores-Martinez Helps Small Businesses Launch Faster

He built a platform that allows sellers to launch in minutes

Ruben Flores-Martinez was determined to lower the barrier of entry for small businesses, so he created CASHDROP to make that breakthrough a little easier. 

Flores-Martinez is the founder and CEO of CASHDROP, a mobile-first contactless e-commerce platform targeted at small business owners. "The inspiration for CASHDROP is heavily rooted in my childhood," Flores-Martinez told Lifewire.

Ruben Flores-Martinez

Ruben Flores-Martinez

"I wanted to make it accessible for anybody to make an online business that’s quick and easy for people in the digital world to start selling their products." 

CASHDROP’s app doesn’t charge sellers any monthly fees or take a commission. Instead, the platform charges customers a small convenience fee, which means the company doesn’t make money unless the businesses using its platform make money. Sellers can manage their inventories, services, prices, and track sales all within CASHDROP’s app. Flores-Martinez built and launched CASHDROP in January 2020 from his Chicago apartment. 

Quick Facts

  • Name: Ruben Flores-Martinez 
  • Age: 30
  • From: Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Random delight: "My original dream was to be a classical piano player."
  • Key quote or motto: "Be who you needed when you were young."

The Fire to Achieve

Flores-Martinez grew up in an industrious area of Guadalajara, around blue-collar workers. He said many workers in Mexico’s second-largest city used their hands to make their leather goods and denim clothing. 

"It’s a very entrepreneurial community," Flores-Martinez said. "That’s definitely where I can attribute some of my inspiration to start a company."

Both of Flores-Martinez’s parents are chemical engineers, but since there wasn’t much work in that industry in Mexico, his family packed up and emigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Flores-Martinez said he learned a lot from his dad, who took on any job that he could to support his family.

Flores-Martinez took his studies seriously because he saw how hard his parents worked to make a living. He graduated at the top of his high school class, but since he was still undocumented at the time due to the expiration of his parents' work visas, Flores-Martinez wasn’t able to accept scholarships to attend college. 

"My parents sacrificed their lives, and I just kind of had that fire to achieve," Flores-Martinez said. "I was determined to learn a skill I could monetize to get myself out of this hole."

"I wanted to make it accessible for anybody to make an online business that’s quick and easy for people in the digital world to start selling their products."

Even though he couldn’t officially attend classes, Flores-Martinez would go to a community college in Milwaukee to access the internet and learn as much as possible. He started to teach himself how to code by watching videos. Then Flores-Martinez took his skillset to the next level when he began taking on clients who needed websites and online stores built for their businesses. 

"All of my work began to revolve around helping small businesses get online and sell something," he said. "This desire I had when I was younger later became the basis of what CASHDROP is today."

Entrepreneurship Is a Luxury 

Flores-Martinez said he felt like it was up to him to create something that would help small businesses. He’s on a mission to remove friction for small business owners who might be on the fence about launching their ventures because of how much it would cost. 

"The main purpose of CASHDROP is to help people create these e-commerce websites that enable them to sell anything from food to products, digital files, services, and events," Flores-Martinez said. "It’s an easy way to get started in a few minutes, where the other alternatives could take days or weeks."

Even though Flores-Martinez launched CASHDROP alone, his team has grown to 15 employees since its inception more than a year ago. His first hire was his sister, Betsy Brewer Flores, who now leads the company as head of customer success. Flores-Martinez hopes to double the company’s employee count over the next six months. 

Ruben Flores-Martinez

Ruben Flores-Martinez

While he’s grateful for CASHDROP’s growth, Flores-Martinez said he realizes that entrepreneurship is widely "out of reach" for founders of color. One of CASHDROP’s big wins was landing a lead investment from Harlem Capital, which was part of the company’s $2.7 million seed funding round in mid-2020.

"Something that I came to realize, particularly as a founder of color, is that entrepreneurship is a luxury," Flores-Martinez said. "Not everybody gets to wake up every day and put everything on hold for a dream they have. I feel very lucky to learn a skill that brings in money that I ultimately turned into a business." 

Aside from hiring and expanding CASHDROP’s app worldwide, Flores-Martinez is focusing on joining the unicorn club by the end of this year. CASHDROP’s CEO wants to close a significant funding round to inspire Black and brown founders to keep chasing their entrepreneurial dreams.

"We have the momentum and connections to make this happen," Flores-Martinez said. "Having examples to point to can inspire generations to come. We want to make our imprint on the tech industry."

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