L'Attitude Ventures closes $100 million to back Latin American founders - TechCrunch

Early stage Latino founders US-based companies just got a new potential source of capital.

L’Attitude Ventures announced today that it has closed its first institutional fund, raising more than $100 million from several major financial services companies, including a “strategic anchor investment” from JPMorgan Chase.

The San Diego, California-based firm seeks to invest exclusively in Latina(o)-owned seed for Series A companies with “high growth potential.”

L’Attitude’s decision to only support Latina(o)-owned companies that are based in the US, rather than those based in Latin America, stems from the fact that US-based Latinos create 50% of all new businesses based of employers and has $2.7 trillion in economic power, according to partner Laura Moreno Lucas.

“…Yet they are the most under-capitalized, with less than 2% of early-stage VC and 1% of late-stage,” she added, citing Bain Capital Research Report 2021. “So we think the opportunity is right here at home in the U.S., which we call the New Mainstream Economy.”

It should be noted that the firm’s partners come from diverse — and impressive — backgrounds:

  • Managing Partner, Co-Founder and CEO Sol Trujillo is the former CEO of Telstra, Orange SA and US West. He also serves as Chairman of L’Attitude LP Trujillo Group, Latino Donor Collaborative and is a former board member of Bank of America, Pepsi and Target.
  • Managing Partner, Co-Founder and President Gary Acosta is the co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Realtors, as well as the founder of several mortgage, real estate and technology companies.
  • Managing Partner, Co-Founder and CIO Kenny Blanco is a former portfolio manager at BlackRock and past president of Bay Area Latinos in Finance.
  • Partner Oscar Munoz is the former ° Сhairman and CEO of United Airlines, and currently serves on the board of directors of CBRE Group Inc. and Univision Holdings Inc., as well as serving as an independent trustee on the board of Fidelity’s Equity & High-Income Funds.
  • Lucas is the founder and CEO of Pandocap, a strategic consulting and media services firm, and an advisor to 500 Startups. Lucas was previously a managing director at Nasdaq, where he led the IPOs of Beyond Meat, Lyft, The RealReal, Airbnb and other high-profile announcements. She also founded and left Ladada, a fashion subscription startup.

Both Munoz and Lucas joined the firm in early 2022.

In a prepared statement, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said, “Hispanic-led businesses are critical to the U.S. economy, but often lack access to capital and resources to grow… Our investment in L’Attitude Ventures builds on our broader commitment to support US Latino entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.”

Bank of America and Trujillo Group, a private equity firm focused on real estate investing, were also early “key” investors, the fund said. Other LPs include UC Investments and MassMutual, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, Polaris Limited Partners (Oscar Munoz), Cisco and Nuveen Investments.

L’Attitude’s raised its (drastically smaller) first fund in 2019, closing a $5 million round of capital led by Munoz and Salesforce co-founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. The firm launched Fund II in 2021 and closed it in just over a year, Lucas said.

L’Attitude has already backed several companies including Listo, Flow Founders and Camino Financial. It plans to invest in 20 more ventures, rounding out the portfolio to between 40 and 50 startups. The average check size ranges from $750,000 to $1.5 million.

Most of the firm’s significant investments are fintech companies, but Lucas says the firm is industry agnostic.

“We see these large fintech entries as being able to serve as a launch pad to help propel and catalyze our portfolio,” she told TechCrunch.

In general, L’Attitude’s partners believe that the financial institutions that support the fund have more than altruistic motives. They also see an opportunity.

“This fund … represents the opening salvo of what should become an investment boom targeting this sector by early-stage companies that are founded or run by Latin American entrepreneurs and that have significant potential,” Trujillo said in a prepared statement. “Latina(o)-owned businesses enjoy an established relationship with the growing generation of young Latino consumers in the US; investing in their early growth promises a strong return on investment for at least the next 30-40 years.”

Muñoz agrees, calling the rising Hispanic generation “the single largest market after the baby boomers, with a GDP greater than that of all the economies of most developed nations.”

“There has never been a better time to take advantage of and contribute to the rapid growth of Latina(o)-owned companies,” he said.

L’Attitude holds a conference each September aims to create a forum for founders to compete for up to $20 million in capital that L’Attitude Ventures will invest during the cycle. The fund says the competition is also a platform for startups to introduce other vetted potential investors.

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