Chingona Ventures, a three-year-old, Chicago-based enterprise outfit that invests in pre-seed startups, primarily within the Midwest and primarily based by ignored people who’re targeted on large markets, has closed a brand new fund with $52 million in capital commitments. Limited companions within the new fund embody PayPal Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures, Foundry Group, and the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, amongst others.
It’s an enormous step up from the outfit’s $6 million debut fund and an indication of confidence in Samara Hernandez, an engineer who spent six years at Goldman Sachs earlier than becoming a member of the enterprise agency Math Venture Partners in 2015 as an investor after which hanging out on her personal in 2019 with Chingona, the place she stays the agency’s sole common accomplice.
While it’s slightly too early to guage the success of her portfolio, Hernandez has definitely been energetic, managing to work checks of between $100,000 and $250,000 into 27 firms with that first fund, and investing in eight extra together with her second effort. Among these portfolio firms is Career Karma, a four-year-old startup that matches workers and contractors to job coaching packages within the market (and that raised $40 million in January) and Suma Wealth, a monetary wellness platform for the Latino neighborhood that has raised $6.6 million so far, per Crunchbase knowledge.
Both startups underscore Chingona’s areas of curiosity, which embody fintech startups, in addition to startups targeted on well being and wellness, meals tech, and the way forward for studying.
They additionally play to Hernandez’s strengths, together with an understanding of the huge and rising Latino market within the case of Suma Wealth. (Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and raised within the U.S., notes that certainly one of each 4 youngsters being born at the moment within the U.S. is Latino but that Latinx firms nonetheless entice lower than 1% of enterprise capital funding on this nation.)
She can be keen to again founders who’ve heard no from different backers, as with Ruben Harris, the cofounder of Career Karma. Though Harris and his cofounders had handed by means of Y Combinator, he had a community, and he lived, on the time, in Silicon Valley, he reached out to Hernandez chilly over Twitter after numerous different conferences the place he was handed over. “They didn’t consider his technique however I believed in him so I ended up investing,” says Hernandez. (Career Karma earlier this yr expanded on its preliminary technique, which was to assist aspiring college students and dealing professionals navigate their technique to the correct bootcamp. Harris additionally not too long ago moved to Miami from the Bay Area.)
Indeed, with much more capital at her disposal, Hernandez says the plan is to do extra of the identical, with barely bigger checks, starting from $250,000 to $1 million.
Chingona — a Spanish phrase for a lady who’s fearless and will get issues achieved, says Hernandez — needs to “be the primary and largest examine right into a spherical,” she says. “What I spotted with fund one is that a variety of these founders actually need somebody to steer and to jot down the largest examine and assist catalyze the spherical.”
With traders like PayPal and Insight now trying to her for a few of their deal move, she’s more than pleased to cleared the path.