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.
Excited to partner with @brianrequarth , @ginag and the entire @latitudlatam team to continue supporting amazing founders and companies in and all across LatAm with our best in class partnership — let’s keep building! https://t.co/ElDXLzZFkY pic.twitter.com/ZL5NVIfYGb— Dileep Thazhmon (@thazhmon) January 19, 2023
Latina angel investors
These are the 16 angels that seek to empower female talent in the region:
Investor at Rucker Park Capital, HBS MBA
Originally from Mexico, now living in New York.
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.
Co-founder of Kuri Saúde
Ex-Rappi, Uber employee
Originally from Colombia, now living in Brazil.
Principal at Monashees leading investments in Mexico, Stanford MBA
From Mexico, and based in Mexico City.
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.
Finance Head at Kavak, ex-StreetEasy, Goldman Sachs
Originally from Venezuela, now based in Mexico City.
Co-founder and CEO of Zubale, HBS MBA
Originally from the U.S., now based in Mexico City.
Head of People at Calii
Based in Monterrey, Mexico.
Co-founder, Kuri Saúde
Based in Brazil.
Maria Echeverri Gómez
Ex-Muni Store (Founder), Ex-Rappi
Mariantonia Rojas Cabal
Former Uber, HBS MBA
Originally from Colombia, now based in Boston.
Founder of Latú Seguros, Ex-Rappi
Originally from Colombia, now based in São Paulo.
CEO and Co-Founder of Foodology, HBS MBA
From Colombia and still based in Colombia.