L’Attitude Ventures closes on $100M fund to back Latino founders of early-stage startups

Latino founders of early-stage companies based in the U.S. just got a new potential source of capital.

L’Attitude Ventures announced today that it has closed on its first institutional fund, raising more than $100 million from several financial services heavyweights, including a “strategic anchor investment” from JPMorgan Chase.

The San Diego, California-based firm is looking to solely invest in Latina(o)-owned seed to Series A companies with “high growth potential.”

L’Attitude’s decision to only back Latina(o)-owned companies that are based in the U.S., and not those with headquarters in Latin America, stems from the fact that U.S.-based Latinos create 50% of all new employer-based businesses and wield $2.7 trillion in economic power, according to partner Laura Moreno Lucas.

“…And yet they are the most undercapitalized, with less than 2% of VC on early and 1% on late stage,” she added, citing the 2021 Bain Capital Study Report. “So we think that the opportunity is right here at home in the U.S., which we call the New Mainstream Economy.”

Notably, the firm’s partners come from varied — and impressive — backgrounds: 

  • Managing partner, co-founder and CEO Sol Trujillo is the former CEO of Telstra, Orange SA and US West. He also serves as chairman of L’Attitude LP Trujillo Group, the Latino Donor Collaborative and is a former board member of Bank of America, Pepsi and Target.
  • Managing partner, co-founder and president Gary Acosta is co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, as well as the founder of several mortgage, real estate and technology companies. 
  • Managing partner, co-founder and CIO Kennie Blanco is a former portfolio manager at BlackRock and former president of Bay Area Latinos in Finance.
  • Partner Oscar Munoz is the former chairman and CEO of United Airlines, and currently sits on the board of directors for CBRE Group Inc. and Univision Holdings Inc., as well as serves as an independent trustee on Fidelity’s Equity & High-Income Funds Board. 
  • Lucas is founder and CEO of Pandocap, a strategic advisory and media services firm as well as an advisor to 500 Startups. Lucas was previously a managing director at Nasdaq, where she led the IPOs of Beyond Meat, Lyft, The RealReal, Airbnb and other high-profile listings. She also founded and exited Ladada, a fashion subscription startup. 

Both Munoz and Lucas joined the firm in early 2022.

In a prepared statement, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said: “Latino-led businesses are critical to the U.S. economy but often lack access to capital and resources for growth…Our investment in L’Attitude Ventures builds on our broader commitment to support U.S. Latino entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.”

Bank of America and Trujillo Group, a private equity firm focused on real estate investing, were also early “key” investors, the fund said. Other LPs include UC Investments and MassMutual, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Canada, Polaris Limited Partners (Oscar Munoz), Cisco and Nuveen Investments.

L’Attitude’s raised its (drastically smaller) first fund in 2019, closing with $5 million in a capital raise led by Munoz and Salesforce co-founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. The firm launched Fund II in 2021 and closed on it in a little over a year, Lucas said.

 L’Attitude has already backed several companies, including Listo, Flow Founders and Camino Financial. It plans to invest in another 20 ventures, rounding out the portfolio at between 40 and 50 startups. Average check sizes range from $750,000 to $1.5 million.

Most of the firm’s significant investments are fintech companies, but Lucas says the firm is industry agnostic.

“We see that those large fintech LPs will be able to serve as a launch pad to help drive and catalyze our portfolio,” she told TechCrunch. 

Generally, L’Attitude’s partners believe the financial institutions that are backing the fund have more than altruistic motives. They also see opportunity.

“This fund…represents an opening salvo for what should become an investment boom directed toward this sector of early-stage companies that are either founded or run by Latina(o) entrepreneurs and that have significant potential,” Trujillo said in a prepared statement. “Latina(o)-owned companies enjoy a built-in relationship with a rising generation of young U.S. Latino consumers; investing in their early growth promises strong returns on investment for the next 30-40 years at a minimum.”

Munoz agrees, calling the rising generation of Latino Americans “the single biggest market since the baby boomer generation, with a GDP output greater than most developed nations’ entire economies.”

“There has never been a better moment to capitalize on and contribute to the rapid growth of Latina(o)-owned companies,” he said.

L’Attitude holds a conference each September aimed at creating a forum for founders to compete for up to $20 million of capital that L’Attitude Ventures will invest during the cycle. The fund says the competition is also a platform for startups to pitch other vetted potential investors. 

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This article was originally published on TechCrunch.com. Read More on their website.

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