Chingona Ventures Gets $52M To Fund Unsung Founders In Major Markets

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Chingona Ventures, a three-year-old Chicago-based venture capital firm that invests in pre-production startups, primarily in the Midwest and largely founded by unseen mass-market-oriented individuals, has closed a new fund with $52 million in capital commitments. The limited partners in the new fund include PayPal Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Melinda Gates Pivotal Ventures, Foundry Group, and the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, among others.

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It’s a huge step up from the company’s $6 million debut fund and a sign of confidence in Samara Hernandez, an engineer who spent six years at Goldman Sachs before joining venture capital firm Math Venture Partners as an investor in 2015 and then began to act independently. in 2019 with Chingona, where it remains the firm’s sole general partner.

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While it’s too early to judge the success of her portfolio, Hernandez has certainly been active, managing to draw between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of checks in 27 companies with this first fund and investing in eight more with his second effort. Among these portfolio companies Career Karmaa four-year-old startup that matches employees and contractors to job training programs in the market (and this has attracted $40 million in January) and Suma Wealtha financial wellness platform for the Hispanic community that has raised $6.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Both startups highlight Chingona’s areas of interest, including fintech startups as well as startups focused on health and wellness, nutrition technology, and the future of learning.

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They also draw on Hernandez’s strengths, including understanding the huge and growing Latin American market in the case of Suma Wealth. (Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and raised in the US, notes that one in four children born in the US today is Hispanic, yet Hispanic companies still raise less than 1% of venture capital in that country.)

She’s also ready to support founders who haven’t heard from other supporters, like Reuben Harris, co-founder of Career Karma. Although Harris and his co-founders went through Y Combinator, he had a network and lived in Silicon Valley at the time. “They didn’t believe his strategy, but I believed in him, so I ended up investing,” Hernandez says. (Earlier this year, Career Karma expanded on its original strategy to help aspiring students and working professionals choose the right boot camp. Recently, Harris also moved to Miami from the Bay Area.)

Indeed, with much more capital at his disposal, Hernandez says the plan is to do the same, but with slightly larger checks, between $250,000 and $1 million.

Chingona — a Spanish word for a fearless woman who gets things done, Hernandez says — wants to “be the first and biggest check of the round,” she says. “What I’ve learned with fund one is that a lot of these founders really need someone to lead and write the biggest check and also help speed up the round.”

Now that investors like PayPal and Insight turn to her for part of their deal flow, she is more than happy to lead the way.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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