"I believe in dreaming big, but a big dream is nothing if you don't have a plan."

My dream dinner guest would be: My grandmother, who passed away before I was born Something people don't know about me: There's probably no food I don't like

Gabriella Silva

Levelling the playing field for Latino sports fans

CONNECTING A COMMUNITY. Growing up, Gabriella Silva always found playing sports to be an effective way of connecting with others. Now, her company, Esportudo, is helping millions of Latino sports fans connect by creating and sharing memorable, moving moments through her leading entertainment platform. Since launching the company with her cousin and co-founder Marcos Araujo in 2017, Esportudo has quickly grown to reach over 50m fans per month.

Born and raised in Massachusetts to Brazilian immigrant parents, Gabriella's family moved around a lot during her childhood. "Sports was my way to acclimate with people and have a good time, no matter where I lived or the language barrier." The idea for Esportudo came during a moment of "personal frustration" when she and Marcos shared a passion for sports but struggled to receive news and updates on their favorite Brazilian teams.

Gabriella and Marcos started by self-building a news aggregator to consolidate the news into one feed and creating an Instagram account. Discovering a large appetite for their product, they participated in accelerators while working full-time jobs and soon gained significant investment. "We're so far past distance being a factor of what you can access online. I think Esportudo was something the market didn't even realize was missing, and I'm happy we've been able to fill that space."

Since then, Esportudo has experienced incredible growth. From its office in central Sao Paulo with over 80 employees, the platform publishes fresh content every 50 seconds, hits 650m impressions a month, and is ranked the 11th best sports app in Brazil.

FROM MENTEE TO MENTOR. Gabriella credits their success to taking the time to talk to experts early on, particularly during their time at accelerators. "Coming from a modest background, the investment world felt like outer space to us. It's very humbling to ask for help. Now I'm at the point where I've started to transition into how I can be the biggest support to the team so that, with their success, we bring success to the company."

Before launching Esportudo, Gabriella described herself as a "generalist" who was unsure of what career path to take. Her entrepreneurial career began, unbeknown to her at the time, with the help of her guidance counselor. She spotted talent in Gabriella and nominated her for a full scholarship at Northeastern University - even helping her buy an outfit and driving her to the interview. "I owe a lot of where I am right now to her and that one small observation she made and the effort she put in."

With Esportudo hitting new milestones every month, Gabriella is learning to dream even bigger for the company. The next aim is to give the digital brand a physical presence in sports arenas and bars and "ensure that wherever a fan wants to consume sports content, we're there with them." And while her dreams of Esportudo becoming a billion-dollar company reflect her naturally positive mindset, her attention to planning shouldn't be underestimated.

"I believe in dreaming big, but a big dream is nothing if you don't have a plan with a direction on how to get there and being wise enough to stop in the middle of that and make sure you're still on the right path or if you need to readjust course. Right now, I'm thinking, what are the hurdles ahead, and how am I going to overcome those? That's going to be my new definition of success."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.