Chingona Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on pre-seed investments in badass founders whose backgrounds uniquely position them to create businesses in growth markets that are often overlooked, today announced the close of its second fund (“Fund II” or “the Fund”), with total capital commitments of $52 million.
Chingona Ventures aims to create outsized returns by investing in next generation founders who are uniquely positioned to understand their core customers in rapidly growing market sectors. The Fund will primarily invest in the FinTech, Future of Learning and Health and Wellness sectors. Building off the success of Fund I, where 80 percent of portfolio companies were led by diverse CEOs, Fund II will intentionally invest in the best founders possible, working hard to remove bias in the deal sourcing and selection process.
“In an industry where 12 percent of venture capital firms are female-led and 0.1 percent of venture capital partners are Latina, I am proud to pave a new path in my industry, and to do my part to provide capital to the pioneers and innovators that need it most,” said Samara Mejia Hernandez, founding partner of Chingona Ventures. “We are committed to supporting the best ideas, no matter their source, during the pre-seed funding process, which is typically where founders encounter the most hurdles. This new round of capital will enable Chingona Ventures to expand our team, write bigger checks and lead more deals, ultimately providing more support where it is needed most while aiming for outsized returns.”
“Samara is a powerhouse of intellect and energy who shared and supported our vision for SUMA Wealth since day one. She was the first to encourage and embrace SUMA’s mission to help close the Latino Wealth Gap and Chingona Ventures went on to lead our first two rounds of funding,” said Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and CEO of SUMA Wealth. “We could not ask for a more dedicated and committed investor than Samara, and her insights and connections as a board member have been incredibly valuable to our early success and growth.”
Hernandez immigrated to the US from Mexico at a young age and grew up in a low-income household. An engineer by training, Samara spent the early part of her career in the public markets at Goldman Sachs and then in the private sector working in venture capital before launching Chingona Ventures in 2019 as a sole General Partner.
Chingona Ventures’ investors include the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, PayPal Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Synchrony Ventures, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wellington Asset Management, 50 South Capital, and other leading institutional asset managers.
“Samara is making history today with the close of her second fund,” said Lisha Bell, PayPal Ventures’ Economic Opportunity Fund Lead. “PayPal is proud to support her work expanding venture capital and wealth creation opportunities for diverse founders. We’re honored to join the fund as part of our commitment to racial equity.”
“The venture community needs more investors like Samara,” said Jessica Yi, vice president, Norwest Venture Partners. “At Norwest, we believe that representation among investors can help support and build a more diverse and inclusive startup ecosystem. Samara not only shares this vision, she built it into the DNA of Chingona Ventures. We’re proud to partner with her and the Chingona team as they continue to invest in early-stage founders from non-traditional backgrounds that are often overlooked.”
“When we made our first investment in 2019 with Samara and Chingona Ventures, this is what we had envisioned,” said Illinois State Treasurer Micahel Frerichs. “Samara has been a true catalyst for positive change providing opportunity and access to capital to extraordinary founders who have historically gone overlooked. We could not be more excited to continue to partner with her as she drives equitable innovation.”
About Chingona Ventures
Chingona Ventures seeks to drive returns by investing in founders with unique perspectives on a customer base that many venture investors do not understand. These founders come from non-traditional backgrounds. Its belief is that if you have a truly diverse portfolio, you will beat industry average returns. Founded by Samara Mejia Hernandez, Chingona Ventures is based in Chicago and investments across the US.
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