Fewer than 1% of Latino-owned businesses received funding from the top 500 venture capital and private equity firms in 2020, according to a report by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, even though 19% of Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. were tech-related.
L’Attitude Ventures co-founders Kennie Blanco and Sol Trujillo noticed the huge gap and made investing in underfunded U.S. Latino entrepreneurs the basis for their San Diego and San Francisco-based private equity and venture capital company. The firm invests solely in U.S. Latino founders in seed to Series A stage funding rounds.
On Wednesday, the firm announced it closed $100 million for its second fund from top financial services companies including JPMorgan Chase and initial investments from Trujillo Group and Bank of America. Other investors that participated in this round include UC Investments, MassMutual, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, Polaris Limited Partners (Oscar Munoz), Cisco Investments through its Aspire Fund, Churchill, an affiliate of Nuveen and Morgan Stanley*.
The pair saw that Latino founders in the U.S. are massively underfunded. The total economic output of Latinos in 2019 in the U.S. totaled to $2.7 trillion.
On average, L’Attitude will write checks for up to $1 million, Blanco said, adding that the firm seeks anywhere from 10% to 20% ownership and requires that the Latino founder have a minimum of 25% ownership of the company.
“We’re trying to open the floodgates of capital into this very important growth cohort,” Blanco told dot.LA.”
He added that he wants L’Attitude to act as a model for other investors. He hopes it will motivate more investors to participate and become a resource for Latino-owned businesses.
Left to right: Gary Acosta, Kennie Blanco, Laura Moreno Lucas, Oscar Munoz and Sol TrujilloCourtesy of L’Attitude Ventures
Former Nasdaq managing director Laura Moreno Lucas joined L’Attitude as partner earlier this year, bringing her experience as a founder of fashion tech startup Ladada to the team. She confirmed that the firm’s requirement is relatively easy to meet, as its portfolio is already diverse, with 40% identifying as Latina.
So far, the firm has already invested $21 million in 22 companies, including Camino Financial, a Los Angeles-based AI-powered lending platform; Reel, a Santa Monica-based debt-free shopping platform and Encantos Media, a Culver City-based Web3 learning platform for kids.
L’Attitude has plans to invest in another 20 startups, which will round out its portfolio to 40 to 50 companies. While a majority of the investments have gone into fintech startups, the firm is not limiting its assets into one industry.
“I’m excited about having this platform where founders can come and truly feel comfortable about learning and understanding what it takes to have a venture backed business,” Lucas told dot.LA. “Even if we think we might not invest, we’re here as a resource to help Latino founders really understand what it takes to grow, scale and receive venture capital.”
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