Nicole Lopez is a Senior Staff Writer at Yolo Daily, the #1 Digital Publication For Millennial News.
Tony Delgado is a Puerto Rican-American software developer, businessman, activist, philanthropist, and tech entrepreneur who has started multiple online and software-based businesses. He is the founder of Disrupt, an online media, and education company that has leveraged the power of social media and technology to transform the lives of the students all throughout Latin America. Tony is on a humanitarian mission to help the 3 million people who live on the island of Puerto Rico, by teaching the principles of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He thinks the word "nerd" should be considered a curse word in school, as it shames kids from being smart and excelling in life. He wants to change young people's mindsets and make them become open-minded and have a different view of technology and the opportunities it contains.
What does it take to open someone's mind and change his mindset? Tony knows that his mission is not another simple mission. Tony has, therefore, focused on knowledge as his number one priority. He wants to enlighten people in Puerto Rico.
Unless you live under the rock, you must be knowing how hard Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. Tony Delgado was among the people who went there to access the situation on the ground and possibly help how they could rebuild and restore the devastated Island. He interacted with the people, and as a tech entrepreneur, he was fast to notice that Puerto Rico was missing big in the technological sector.
Forced to rethink his priorities, Tony resigned from his lucrative job as a CTO in Fownders, a social impact accelerator owned by one of Tony's biggest mentors, Gerard Adams. At the time, Delgado and Adams were investing in minority-owned businesses in the inner city of Newark, NJ, and providing mentorship and guidance to young Latino and African American aspiring entrepreneurs in the area. Tony saw the opportunity to create a similar entrepreneur movement to help the people in his home country of Puerto Rico.
Tony, 34, spent a significant amount of time around computers. Throughout his career, Tony had previously worked with top companies in the technology sector, including LG Electronics, Google, and Microsoft. Raised by his single mother, who also happened to be a computer programmer, he had access to a computer at a young age, which prompted him to learn coding in the 2nd grade. As he grew, his entrepreneurial tendencies made him start selling on eBay and Amazon. He shot from $50 weekly to $3,000 in a day using the internet. Tony had concrete proof that indeed, the internet can earn you a fortune. He still believes that all you need to succeed is Wi-Fi and a Dream.
In 2009, Tony scaled a 7-figure eCommerce business and launched an online magazine called Hyper Eater. It focused on music, fashion, and pop-culture. He used his programming skills to launch several online magazines, Twitter Bots, content aggregators, and secure video sharing sites. He monetized them with Google Ads and Amazon Affiliate Marketing.
In 2015, Tony landed a role as a lead developer at Websignia, a digital marketing agency servicing corporate clients in the New York City metropolitan area. It was during this era that Tony became a professional developer getting his other name as a hacker. He won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies. He then moved to New Jersey, where he became business partners with Gerald Adams, an internet entrepreneur after selling his company, Elite Daily, for $50 million to The Daily Mail.
During a recent interview on Power 105.1 FM Tony tells the story of how he went from. Fownders, the company he started with his mentor Gerard Adams, had picked up as expected, and things were now moving on well. Tony was the CTO by then. When he heard that Hurricane Maria had struck the Island of Puerto Rico, he was among the first to answer Puerto Ricans' distress call. He saw how almost half of the households had no electricity. He supported by offering over 300 solar panel lights, among other basic needs like food and water. This was the beginning of a shift in Tony’s life.
He spent days then went back to New Jersey, where he was carrying on with his normal lifestyle. He was constantly thinking of the people he left in Puerto Rico – how they were facing economic hardships. There was a clear diversification between the rich and the poor. Only the rich had food, water, and electricity. The poor had become poorer after the incident.
It was then when he took a bold step and resigned his role to go live on the Island and start a non-profit, The Disrupt Foundation. Through the foundation, Tony and his team host free hackathons, conferences, and technology workshops for college students on the island, and they were recently featured on Univision TV for giving out over 100 laptops to students after the COVID-19 outbreak left many students without access to the internet. Tony has also hosted multiple Disrupt Puerto Rico hackathons helping over 1000 students to learn to code and giving away scholarships to CodeTrotters coding school in partnership with Piloto 151.
In August of 2018, Tony decided to move to Puerto Rico to make the biggest impact on the island and start a new life. Knowing how powerful the internet can be, he started The Disrupt University, an online learning ecosystem that helps young adults learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. Disrupt University gives scholarships to students in Puerto Rico who can't afford the tuition and makes a major of its profits from customers in the United States. For every stateside student, a scholarship is given to a student from Puerto Rico.
Tony Delgado is now a full-time resident of Puerto Rico, where he has not derailed from his blueprint – helping the people of the island and improving the economy using entrepreneurship. He knows that by teaching young people how to make money online, and how to run a social media powered business, that would grow the economy of Puerto Rico.
Tony has since helped start multiple socially impactful startups, disrupting the online space, that have all been launched from the comfort of his home in Puerto Rico. Among them are Latino Wall Street, Disrupt Week, The Disrupt Foundation, and, ultimately, the Disrupt Magazine.
Today, Disrupt tells the stories of the world's top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and is on a mission to help make tech cool. Disrupt helps empower young people to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. The Disrupt Podcast has now been host to over 100 interviews and that number continues to grow every day.