[Webinar] Issues Affecting Latinx VCs & Founders
The Latinx community is the fastest-growing demographic among all U.S. entrepreneurs. While the percentage of Americans running a business has stayed at a steady 6.2% over the past 20 years, Latinx founders have rocketed from 6.5% of all entrepreneurs in 2001 to 15% as of 2019.
Despite these advancements, funding and banking options for Latinx founders are limited. VCs like Act One Ventures and Chingona Ventures are working to change that.
Alejandro Guerrero, Principal at Act One Ventures, was just awarded the Social Justice dotLAsummit Award for his impressive diversity initiatives including a Diversity Rider, which requires firms to commit to investing in under-represented groups. 70% of Act One’s portfolio companies were founded by people of color, LGBTQ+, and women.
Samara Mejia Hernandez, Founding Partner at Chingona Ventures, focuses on investing in underrepresented and overlooked early-stage businesses founded by women and minorities. PayPal recently pledged to invest $50 million in eight early-stage, Black- and Latinx-led venture capital funds, including her firm Chingona Ventures.
Alejandro and Samara were joined by Latinx entrepreneur Daniela Corrente, lawyer Michael Esquivel, and Early Growth’s Gadiel Morantes for an honest and intriguing discussion on financing & growing your business, how to better support underrepresented ethnic groups like Latinx founders, and tips on how to break into VC as a Latinx entrepreneur in the US.
Thank you to our partners, panel and audience for making this a fantastic event!
Watch the replay of the event above, or here.
About Early Growth
Early Growth is the largest national provider of outsourced CFO & accounting services in the venture capital space. For over 10 years, Early Growth has been providing finance & accounting, tax, equity management, and fund accounting services to startups at all stages. Early Growth is a strategic partner handling your finances so you can focus on your business, customers, and team.
Samara Mejia Hernandez, Chingona Ventures
Samara is Founding Partner of an institutionally-backed pre-seed stage fund, Chingona Ventures, focusing on investing in technology and technology-enabled companies all over the U.S. Prior to this she was an early-stage investor at MATH Venture Partners, an early-stage venture fund investing in technology start-ups with differentiated approaches to customer acquisition. In this capacity, she lead new investment review, diligence and execution. Prior to venture capital, Samara worked at Goldman Sachs, where she was continually ranked top 5 in selling financial products, providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. She started her career in the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity (FICC) group where she lead multiple technology enhancing projects across global exchanges. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital and entrepreneurship. She co-founded the Latinx Founders Collective organization to bring together Latinx founders, investors, and community leaders to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Samara earned an Industrial and Operations Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University.
Alejandro Guerrero, Act One Ventures
Alejandro Guerrero is a 2X former startup founder who is now a Principal at Act One Ventures, a community focused, early-stage micro-vc fund based in Los Angeles. He and his partner Michael Silton have been working together since 2013, when Alejandro was a Volunteer Associate and Michael was the Managing Director at UCLA Ventures. They joined forces again in 2015 to create Act One Ventures.
Act One’s community is a diverse and dynamic group of experienced entrepreneurs and executives who are eager to advise and mentor our founders with practical, meaningful advice and introductions that lead to revenue. 70% of its portfolio companies were founded by people of color, LGBTQ+, or women.
Act One recently implemented a Diversity Rider initiative. The Diversity Rider is a call to action focused on increasing opportunities and access to wealth in the venture capital industry for underrepresented communities such as Black, LatinX, female, and LGBTQ+. Firms adopting the rider language pledge to bring folks from these communities into deals as co-investors, thereby instantly increasing diversity at the core of the deal-making process.
Daniela Corrente, Reel
Daniela is the founder and CEO of Reel, since she was a kid, she has always been passionate about understanding human behavior, why and how we choose to do things. That fascination led her to start a business that focuses on making it easy for people to achieve their aspirations without going into debt. She is a Latina founder that believes real change and equal opportunity come from investing in not only social, but also economic empowerment.
Reel is a platform for debt-free shopping. They make it simple to pay for what you want in installment savings. From a new pair of shoes to an Apple Watch, Reel helps you save a little every day, while giving you inspirations and price alerts.
Their objective is to help millennials, the most credit adverse generation with the highest consumption power, achieve their goals while avoiding the burden of unnecessary debt.
Michael Esquivel, Fenwick & West
Michael T. Esquivel provides strategic counseling to emerging and high-growth companies primarily in the digital health, consumer and enterprise tech, social networking, software and cloud computing industries. He advises clients on all aspects of general corporate and securities law — from formation and corporate governance responsibilities to equity incentives and employment issues, to intellectual property and commercial transactions. He has negotiated and structured a wide variety of strategic transactions, including seed and venture capital financings, mergers & acquisitions, IPOs, corporate reorganizations, and debt financings. Esquivel also represents and advises incubators, angel investors, venture capitalists, and investment banks. He possesses a deep understanding of entrepreneurs and an ability to anticipate his clients’ unique business and legal needs not just for today or tomorrow, but over a company’s entire life cycle.
Fenwick is one of the first technology law firms in the world.
Gadiel Morantes, Early Growth
Gadiel Morantes is an accomplished executive with 20+ years of sales, marketing, and operations experience. His vast experience — both as an entrepreneur and working extensively with founders — has given him great insight into what it takes to forge strong partnerships and build successful companies. Gadiel works closely with early stage entrepreneurs and founders providing them with mentorship, guidance and support as they grow and scale their businesses. He also serves on the advisory board for a number of companies providing them support with growth strategies, sales advising and fundraising planning.
Meet Our Partners
Fenwick is one of the first technology law firms in the world. For over 45 years, we have worked closely with technology and life sciences companies that are changing the world and the investors financing them. We currently represent over 1,000 VC-backed companies, act as primary legal counsel to over 35 VC-backed companies with valuations over $1 billion, and have long-standing ties to more than 300 venture capital investors. Our VC-backed clients include many of the world’s most notable private technology companies, for whom the firm has advised in some of the largest venture capital deals in history.
Lighter Capital has revolutionized startup financing by making it easy for entrepreneurs to quickly access up to $3 million in growth capital and working capital with zero dilution.
Lighter has provided over 700 rounds of financing to 400 companies across the U.S. and Canada. Lighter provides a mix of entrepreneur-friendly product offerings—including revenue-based financing (RBF), term loans, and lines of credit—to empower early-stage tech startups with the flexibility they need to fund the business at different stages of growth.
A group of experienced venture investors coming together to connect, engage, and foster the Latinx VC ecosystem. We aim to be the central and definitive resource for Latinx VCs.
Our goals: increase Latinx representation in VC, increase access to capital for Latinx fund managers, build a strong Latinx ecosystem and drive a positive narrative.
From hiring your first employee to training your entire workforce, we’re here to help you grow your company by building a healthy, inclusive culture that engages your team. Reverb believes that every decision a leader makes reverberates throughout the organization. We provide flexible people operations, management and leadership development, and executive coaching.
If you’re responsible for people, culture, engagement, and the well-being of your team we’d love to chat! Reverb has the expertise on our team to help you lead yours.
Silicon Valley Bank
Every day, innovative businesses strive to bring about the next big thing. From technology to healthcare, from San Jose to Shanghai, our clients define what comes next. At Silicon Valley Bank, we support the businesses that invent the future. Everything we do helps innovators, enterprises and investors move bold ideas forward, fast.