In recent years, the VC sector has been criticized for undermining Black, Latino, and women-owned or run companies.
But there’s some good news on that front: With the aim of bridging the funding gap, L’Attitude Ventures on Wednesday announced the closure of its first institutional fund — raising more than $100 million with its self-described purpose-driven The venture capital firm plans to invest in early-stage companies and startups run by Latino entrepreneurs.
Several big-name investors were also involved: anchor investor JPMorgan Chase was joined by Bank of America, Trujillo Group, Barclays, Cisco and Royal Bank of Canada, among others.
Sol Trujillo, Founder and General Partner of L’Attitude Ventures and President of Trujillo Group, explains fast company That goal is to spark interest among the investing class in the Latino conglomerate – a group he says will number 100 million in a few decades. “Right now, in our own backyard, we have a group of 60 million people,” he says, and they have a strong entrepreneurial streak. “Eighty percent of new net businesses in the US are set up by Latinos,” he says.
“I’m a capitalist, so I believe that capital should flow where growth happens,” Trujillo says. “I’m trying to inspire [that flow],
The point is that, traditionally, there has been a huge disconnect between the growing Latino population in the United States and the attention VCs and the private-equity sector have paid to their entrepreneurs. Latino population is up 23% Overall (about 19% of the US population overall) over the past decade, however, US startups and companies with Latino founders only received about 2% of all VC funding during 2021, according to information From CrunchBase. Furthermore, in 2020, less than 1% of the top 500 VC and private-equity deals involved Latino-owned businesses, per a study From Bain & Company.
Why was the cohort ignored by VC and PE firms? Trujillo says a primary reason is that while capital has been going to tech startups over the past decade, many Latino-established businesses are more Main Street-type operations. Therefore, in many cases, they are simply ignored.
Trujillo also says he has been contacted by Latino entrepreneurs who have told him that, when he tried to pitch some VC and PE firms, he was told over the phone that the firm was “working cleaning people.” But not keeping it,” and he hung up the phone.
Meeting entrepreneurs who have faced that type of discrimination, he says, inspired him to bring L’Attitude in the first place, with the goal of helping those businesses find wealth and grow.
And if supporting minority-owned businesses or pushing for greater diversity in the startup world isn’t of much concern to investors, there’s probably the potential for monster returns: data from L’Attitude Ventures shows. About $1.5 trillion in economic value could be tapped. In the United States if Latino-owned companies saw the same wealth growth as non-Latino-owned businesses.
Trujillo says investing in Latino-owned companies, and striving to make a difference in jobs, money, and on Main Street, will be a huge positive, not only for members of the Latino community but for everyone.
“We are not only about providing returns, but also trying to stimulate the economy,” he says. “Every American will benefit from this.”