Joe Munoz took apart and built a computer when he was 13 years old.
As he grew up, Munoz became increasingly interested in technology, inspiring his half-siblings Jesse and Rosy Molina to follow. After graduating from UCLA, the siblings all now work in the technology industry.
Munoz develops mobile applications, developing and co-founding the dating app Tinder. Rosy works as a recruiter in human resources at Google and Jesse launched a photo-sharing app called Slide in July in the Apple app store.
“When most people come home, they’re home. When Jesse or Joe come home, they’re back in their own startup,” Rosy said. “Their brains are always working towards innovation.”
Both Molina and Munoz’s apps focus on social networking. Slide allows users to send photos to anyone in a 200-foot radius. Jesse called the app his biggest accomplishment career-wise, as he focuses on managing and marketing the team.
Jesse said his brother influenced him to get into the app business because of Munoz’s prior experience with apps like Tinder. Munoz said, at times, Jesse was more excited about Tinder’s success than he was.
“I’ve always followed in (Munoz’s) footsteps,” Jesse said. “And seeing him doing great things on the mobile side with (Tinder) really motivated me.”
Munoz said he has only given Jesse general advice on Slide instead of hovering over him every step of the way. He said he wanted Jesse to come up with his own ideas.
“My work maybe has influenced him,” Munoz said. “But, in terms of the day-to-day operational stuff, he’s done it pretty much all on his own, and every now and then he’ll ask me for advice.”
Beyond technology, Jesse believes Munoz has influenced a lot of his decisions, such as his choice to go to UCLA and major in engineering. He said the siblings’ similar interests are a testament to their closeness; even in high school, all three played trombone and soccer.
“I wanted to play the French horn, but I was like, ‘Oh my brothers play trombone, I’m going to play trombone,’” Rosy said.
Since Jesse always felt like a Bruin when he visited Munoz at UCLA, picking UCLA was an easy choice.
Rosy added her brothers shaped her college choice as well. When Rosy was a freshman in high school, she was disappointed when Jesse gave her an SAT prep book for Christmas. However, he also gave her a UCLA sweatshirt that she wore all throughout high school, so she said she was determined to get into the school.
“You read all those articles about how a really good predictor of a family’s success is the eldest (sibling),” Rosy said. “If they’re successful, it kind of trickles down … Even though we did it on our own, it did help that we had somebody to look up to.”
Munoz said they are very protective of one another.
“One time, somebody said something to my brother, ‘Oh, so he’s your half-brother,’” Munoz said. “(And he said,) ‘No, he’s my brother.’”
Having grown up in a tight-knit family, Rosy said her siblings’ interests and closeness were apparent ever since they were young. Jesse remembers on Christmas, their mother would buy him and Munoz two-player video games, such as Street Fighter, and they would spend days playing together.
“From a very young age … kids know what they want to grow into and aspire to be,” Rosy said. “As long as they have the support system, they get there.”