By John Kregler, StartOut
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to showcase the unique Hispanic and Latinx entrepreneurs who continue to shape and define StartOut with their innovation and diverse, rich cultures. One of those outstanding individuals is Jorge Aguilar (he/him), whose commitment to diversity is apparent in every move he makes.
Jorge didn’t come from a background in hospitality when he started Trove — a real estate management company specializing in ‘apartels’ (apartments that function as hotels) and luxury second homes. Instead, Jorge had the vision to create a unique vacation experience for travelers nationwide. To Jorge, Trove can be described as a “white glove management that delights our guests and optimizes our investor’s return on investment”
The company started back in 2016 in Illinois as a side business when Jorge was still working in software product management.
“I think it was helpful that I didn’t necessarily come from this industry when we first started,” Jorge said. “When I decided to join my team full-time, I made a very conscious decision to learn all that I could about real estate, hospitality and asset management and use that to grow our company. We live and breathe this stuff everyday. Since then, we have become experts, hired fantastic industry professionals, challenged the status quo, and helped forge a whole new sub-industry.
Today, Trove has stunning properties in Illinois, Arizona, and Mexico with goals of expanding to Colorado and Utah in the near future. Trove’s mission bodly wishes to “build a worldwide and world-class hospitality company through outstanding human talent, cutting-edge technology and the world’s best real estate.”
“We wanted our investors to be real estate and proptech proficient. It was important for us to have capital partners that understood our vision and celebrated diversity and we were very fortunate to gain that support early on.”
Even before starting Trove, Jorge, a proud and out Mexican-American who was born and raised at the Texas border, was already a part of the StartOut community in Chicago. After attending a few events, Jorge became a mentee and eventually worked his way into joining our programming board. In this capacity, he’s enjoyed planning events and recruiting for the organization. Jorge is now a mentor as well as a co-chair for the 2021 StartOut Equity Summit.
For Jorge, diversity is very important and he operates Trove with that approach at the forefront. During Hispanic Heritage Month, Jorge is reflective of his personal duty to his community:
“I think Hispanic Heritage Month is a reminder of the responsibility we all have. I see it as my mission to be brave in the face of challenges and opposition, to build a successful business, and to be a good employer, so that successful LGBTQ+, Latinx entrepreneurs are not a rarity but rather are the norm. It’s humbling because so many people, both Hispanic and LGBTQ+, have done so much work before us. Hopefully as we continue to open space, we’ll make the journey easier for those who come after us.”