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Women support for women is big in Latin America right now. Photo: Pixabay.

Women investors offer support to Latin American startups

They hope to strengthen women representation as shareholders.

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The Tarasa collective, a group of "angel investors" of 16 women in the technology ecosystem who invest in startups in Latin America and the Caribbean, recently announced their interest of strengthening the region by selecting tech companies founded by women to invest in. 

Alejandra Martínez, from Mexico, graduated of Harvard Business School (HBS) and one of the creators of the collective, told Forbes:

I rediscovered entrepreneurship by being exposed to amazing people. In one of the funds I worked for, at NFX, they were open to allowing me to invest in Latin America. I started talking to people from my region and noticed that there were few women among those people.

The scenario was what prompted Martínez, who is currently an investor at Rucker Park Capital, to join Brittany Yoon, exNFX and exUber, to create the investment group that is a new support system for women who seek to grow in the technology world.

A lack of diversity

The collective often points out how diversity and inclusion in the technology sector is still lacking, especially in Latin America, where it is worse than in developed countries due to historical and cultural reasons.

Considering that tech startups in the region have gained significant success in recent years, but diversity remains slim, Tarasa highlighted the following figures:

  • The region's female founding teams receive 0.2% of total venture capital funding, according to a report by Harlem Capital.
  • While the stats improve for mixed teams (12%), the lack of women in the ecosystem is too glaring to ignore.

“The collective is very collaborative and any member can receive an opportunity that they share with the rest of the group. They have created a website for those who want to get in touch, but at the same time they affirm that today they are all accessible by different means,” added Martínez.

Get to know: Tarasa

The Tarasa Collective members have collectively invested in 50 startups and 70% of them were the first employees at startups now valued at more than $100 million.

Its members have degrees from the best universities, such as Harvard Business School, Columbia, Wharton and Stanford, and have experience leading organizations in tech, such as Uber, Duolingo, Rappi, AppAnnie and StreetEasy.

Most of them left their countries to pursue ambitious studies or job opportunities abroad and are now united in their mission to elevate the tech ecosystem in Latin America.

In addition, the founders struggle to find women angel investors, who, according to the collective, “have a hard time given that most shared deals take place in closed, male-dominated WhatsApp groups that are a legacy of an ecosystem technology underrepresented by women.”

“We don't want to invest only in women, we also want to invest in men, so that women have more influence in the entire tech ecosystem,” said Brazilian Gina Gotthilf, ex-Duolingo and co-founder of Latitude, the a16z-backed platform for entrepreneurs.

Latina angel investors

These are the 16 angels that seek to empower female talent in the region:

Alejandra Martínez

Investor at Rucker Park Capital, HBS MBA

Originally from Mexico, now living in New York.

Brittany Yoon

Ex-NFX employee, launched Uber in Korea, worked on product development at App Annie, HBS MBA, Ethos, Synack

Originally from South Korea, now living in Austin, Texas.

Ana Cristina Gadala-María

Principal, QED Investors, HBS MBA

Originally from Guatemala, now living in Washington D.C.

Andrea S. Viejo

Country manager of LAIKA in Mexico, ex-Frubana, ex-JP Morgan

Originally from Mexico. Recently relocated back to Mexico after 10 years in New York.

Paula Mejía

Co-founder of Kuri Saúde

Ex-Rappi, Uber employee

Originally from Colombia, now living in Brazil.

Fabiola Quinzaños

Principal at Monashees leading investments in Mexico, Stanford MBA

From Mexico, and based in Mexico City.

Gina Gotthilf

Co-Founder and COO of Latitude, Ex-Duolingo

Originally from Brazil, now based in Miami.

María del Mar Vélez

Founder and CEO of Crack The Code, former JP Morgan

Originally from Colombia, now based in Lima, Peru.

Isabella Santandreu     

Finance Head at Kavak, ex-StreetEasy, Goldman Sachs

Originally from Venezuela, now based in Mexico City.

Allison Campbell

Co-founder and CEO of Zubale, HBS MBA

Originally from the U.S., now based in Mexico City.

Eugenia González

Head of People at Calii

Based in Monterrey, Mexico.

Luiza Bet

Co-founder, Kuri Saúde

Based in Brazil.

Maria Echeverri Gómez

Ex-Muni Store (Founder), Ex-Rappi

From Colombia.

Mariantonia Rojas Cabal

Former Uber, HBS MBA

Originally from Colombia, now based in Boston.

Paola Neira

Founder of Latú Seguros, Ex-Rappi

Originally from Colombia, now based in São Paulo.

Daniela Izquierdo 

CEO and Co-Founder of Foodology, HBS MBA

From Colombia and still based in Colombia.

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