Maria Salamanca immigrated to Orlando, FL, from Colombia at age 7. She has a deep understanding of the immigrant experience and the importance of community support and advocacy. She is passionate about supporting Latinx families and small businesses. Maria was an active member of the Board from 2016-2022 and currently serves as an Advisor.
Maria Salamanca is a Partner at Ulu Ventures. Previously, she served as Principal at Unshackled Ventures, a fund that fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, funding teams with immigrant founders at pre-seed. Maria joined the fund close to its formation in 2015. During her time there, she was involved in 40+ investments and saw ~1,500 deals a year. In 2018, Maria was the first Latina named Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and Business Insiders Under 30 Rising Stars. Her support for the Latinx community also won her the 2017 California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Shark of the Year.
She’s also spent time in the political world. She started her career at FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization focused on immigration and criminal justice reform. The group was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman, and other tech leaders. After the 2016 election, she was founding COO at Swing Left and supported Higher Ground Labs with the first-ever political technology landscape.
She attended UC Berkeley and received a double bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Legal Studies. She is a mentor at Year Up, IDEO, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Founders Institute.