Chingona Ventures, a three-year-old, Chicago-based enterprise outfit that invests in pre-seed startups, primarily within the Midwest and primarily based by neglected people who’re centered on large markets, has closed a brand new fund with $52 million in capital commitments. Restricted companions within the new fund embody PayPal Ventures, Norwest Enterprise Companions, Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures, Foundry Group, and the Workplace of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Development 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 Enterprise Companions in 2015 as an investor after which putting out on her personal in 2019 with Chingona, the place she stays the agency’s sole normal accomplice.
Whereas it’s somewhat too early to guage the success of her portfolio, Hernandez has 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. Amongst these portfolio firms is Profession Karma, a four-year-old startup that matches workers and contractors to job coaching applications (and which raised $40 million in January) and Suma Wealth, a monetary wellness platform for the Latino group that has raised $6.6 million to this point, per Crunchbase knowledge.
Each startups underscore Chingona’s areas of curiosity, which embody fintech startups, in addition to startups centered on well being and wellness, meals tech, and the way forward for studying.
In addition they 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 children being born right now within the U.S. is Latino, but that Latinx firms nonetheless entice lower than 1% of enterprise capital funding on this nation.)
She can also be keen to again founders who’ve heard no from different backers, as with Ruben Harris, the cofounder of Profession Karma. Although 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 imagine his technique however I believed in him so I ended up investing,” says Hernandez. (Profession Karma earlier this yr expanded on its preliminary technique, which was to assist aspiring college students and dealing professionals navigate their technique to the best bootcamp. Harris additionally lately moved to Miami from the Bay Space.)
Certainly, 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 girl who’s fearless and will get issues finished, says Hernandez — desires to “be the primary and largest verify right into a spherical,” she says. “What I spotted with fund one is that quite a lot of these founders actually need somebody to guide and to write down the largest verify and assist catalyze the spherical.”
With traders like PayPal and Perception now seeking to her for a few of their deal circulate, she’s more than pleased to cleared the path.