With Help from Apple and Bank of America, VamosVentures Doubles Down on Backing Latinx Founders

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

With Help from Apple and Bank of America, VamosVentures Doubles Down on Backing Latinx Founders

After closing its first fund in December with $25 million in dry powder, VamosVentures, which bills itself as the first Latinx-owned venture fund to focus on Latinx and other diverse founders, decided it could stretch its ambitions.


Companies like Apple and Bank of America were knocking on the door, and VamosVentures decided it might as well capitalize on the increasing desire of corporate America to show they cared about diversity as well as a loosening of regulations that made it easier for banks to invest in venture funds.

"We had a good group of folks that didn't make the deadline," said Marcos Gonzalez, founder and managing partner of VamosVentures, who has previously been an angel investor and worked in private equity. "A couple new LPs showed up that were really motivated to do something in the DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] space and certainly the social justice space."

The fund plans to focus on health and wellness, future of work, consumer packaged goods and financial technology startups.

With the additional checks – which also come from Twitter, the Ford Foundation and the global alternative asset firm TPG, VamosVenture announced this week it has doubled its fund to $50 million. The new investors join PayPal, which signed on last year.

Rather than back more startups, the additional capital will mostly be used to write bigger checks of between $250,000 and $1 million.

"We will be able to take larger ownership positions," Gonzalez said, adding that he will also be able to hire more staff.

Just 2% of VC investment partners in L.A. identify as African American or Latino, according to PledgeLA. Nationally, a 2018 Deloitte study found 80% of investment partners at U.S. venture firms were white and only 3% were Black and 3% Latino.

Gonzalez said he is pleased to see companies like Apple recognizing the value of diversity and promoting more non-white managers.

"When I started this five years ago, there weren't that many. Now you run into one every week," he said. "There's been a lot more momentum around diversity."

https://twitter.com/thebenbergman
ben@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

LA-Based Apex Is Tapping Into the Small Satellite Market by Making Buses for Spacecraft

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Ian Cinnamon
Ian Cinnamon

On this episode of Office Hours, Apex founder and CEO Ian Cinnamon discusses the importance of investing in space exploration and shares his thoughts on the evolving space ecosystem in Los Angeles.


Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/spencerrascoff
https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencerrascoff/
admin@dot.la

This Week in ‘Raises’: Measurabl Snags $93M, Selva Ventures Grabs $34M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Raises
Image by Joshua Letona

A local data management platform company lands fresh funding to help commercial real estate owners reduce carbon footprint, while one Los Angeles-based venture firm closes its second fund to accelerate the growth of emerging companies across health, wellness, beauty and personal care.

***

Read moreShow less

McKinsey & Company Launches InLA Accelerator To Help Underrepresented Founders Tackle Startup Challenges

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

McKinsey & Company Launches InLA Accelerator To Help Underrepresented Founders Tackle Startup Challenges
InLA

In 2022, female founders saw a 28% decline in overall U.S. funding, while Black-led startups saw a 38% decline in total capital received. In an effort to increase funding for minority-led startups, global venture firm McKinsey & Company is launching InLA, an accelerator program for underrepresented founders.

“This effort is something that the firm has been really excited about for a long time,” Engagement Manager Elkhyn Rivas Rodriguez said. “There's obviously a meaningful and growing startup community out here and just from a diversity standpoint, LA is incredibly diverse and multi-ethnic and multicultural. So we think that there will be a really great pool of potential companies to partner with.”

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending