Chingona Ventures hits $52 million to fund overlooked founders in major markets TechCrunch
Chingona Ventures, a three-year-old, Chicago-based venture capital firm that specializes in investing in pre-seed startups, primarily in the Midwest and primarily founded by overlooked individuals who focused on major markets, closed a new fund with a capital commitment of $52 million. Limited partners in the new fund include PayPal Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Foundry Group, and the Illinois Office of Growth and Innovation Funds of the Illinois State Treasurer, among others.
It’s a big step up from the outfit’s $6 million hedge fund and a sign of confidence in Samara Hernandez, an engineer who worked for six years at Goldman Sachs before joining the venture. Math Venture Partners in 2015 as an investor and then rose on its own. in 2019 with Chingona, where she remains the sole general partner of the company.
While it’s too early to gauge how successful his portfolio will be, Hernandez has been active, managing to test $100,000 to $250,000 in work for 27 companies with that first fund. and invested in eight other companies with the second attempt. Among the companies with this portfolio are Karmaa four-year-old startup that matches employees and contractors with job training programs (and $40 million in January) and Suma Wealtha financial healthcare platform for the Latino community that has raised $6.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase data.
Both startups highlight areas of Chingona’s interest, including fintech startups, as well as startups focused on health and wellness, food technology and the future of study.
They also play to Hernandez’s strengths, including their understanding of the huge and growing Latino market in the case of Suma Wealth. (Hernandez, born in Mexico and raised in the US, notes that one in four children born in the US today is Latino, yet Latinx companies still attract less than 1% of capital. venture capital in this country.)
She’s also available to support founders who don’t listen to other advocates, as with Ruben Harris, co-founder of Career Karma. Although Harris and his co-founders adopted Y Combinator, he had a network and he lived, at the time, in Silicon Valley, he reached out to Hernandez via Twitter after countless hours. number of other meetings where he passed away. “They didn’t believe in his strategy but I believed in him so I ended up investing,” Hernandez said. (Career Karma earlier this year expanded on its original strategy of helping aspiring students and working professionals navigate their way to the right startup strategy. Harris recently also moved to Miami from the Bay Area.)
Indeed, with more capital at its disposal, Hernandez said the plan is to do more of the same thing, with slightly larger checks, ranging from $250,000 to $1 million.
Chingona – a Spanish word for a woman who is fearless and always gets the job done – wants to “be first and biggest in a round,” says Hernandez. “What I realized with fund one is that a lot of these founders really need someone to lead and write the biggest checks and help catalyze the round.”
With investors like PayPal and Insight now looking to her for some of their trading processes, she’s happy to lead the way.