$100M for Latino-Led Tech
By Nicole Casperson
“It fundamentally comes down to being able to allow our community to build wealth, and what a better way to do that than driving wealth into a founder that can employ a diverse cohort”Laura Moreno Lucas
As former Managing Director of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, Laura Moreno Lucas has led the high-profile IPOs of Lyft, Beyond Meat, The RealReal, and Airbnb.
But she never saw herself as a Latina or any people of color in the founders whose companies she helped take public.
It’s not just her experience as a Latina, but her prior role helping companies go public for years where she saw how white & male-dominated businesses are.
That’s because Latino-owned businesses (LOBs) are a massively overlooked opportunity in the U.S. economy.
If investors equitably funded today’s LOB population with non-Latino white-owned businesses (WOBs), they could generate $1.4 trillion in additional revenue today and $3.3 trillion in additional revenue by 2030 (source).
For more perspective, the total economic output of U.S. Latinos was $2.7 trillion in 2019, making U.S. Latinos the equivalent of the seventh-largest economy in the world.
But the structures that exist today systemically underfund LOBs. Research shows:
- Less than 1% of funds from today’s top V.C. and P.E. investors wind up in the hands of LOBs.
- LOBs need to enroll 2x as many investors as white-owned businesses to get the same level of funding.
The broken system is most clearly seen when LOBs near the $1 million revenue mark. That’s when businesses struggle with profitability and cash flow, which makes it harder to scale.
However, LOBs that manage to push through that barrier and hit the $5 million revenue mark grow almost double the rate of WOBs.
So once Laura left Nasdaq in 2020, she started asking herself how she could be more supportive of founders in her community.
The answer came quickly: Venture Capital.
By early 2022, Laura joined as a partner at L’Attitude Ventures. Last week, it closed on its first institutional fund, raising more than $100 million from several financial services firms, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
The fund aims to invest in early-stage companies founded or run by U.S.-based Latino entrepreneurs.
The V.C. significantly focuses on fintech but invests in many tech industries, including PropTech, HealthTech, and EdTech.
The struggle to maintain wealth later in a startup’s lifecycle spurred Laura to enter early-stage capital.
The best way to start getting more capital into the hands of Latinos is to start investing in the earliest stages so entrepreneurs can grow quicker through wealth cycles and retain that wealth.
Regarding fintech, Laura is driven to help her community navigate financial tools and access, which has always been a struggle.
Laura is also a two-time founder who had an exit with Ladada, a fashion subscription company.
She has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and mentors at 500 Startups, and her experiences immigrating from Mexico to the U.S. means she understands the difficulties faced by Latino business owners.
In her role at L’Attitude VC, Laura leads investor and external relations, focusing on expanding the founder and investor ecosystem that recognizes the market shift driven by that massive $2.7T U.S. Latino cohort, generating 1 in every 4 new entrepreneurs.
- Camino Financial
With leaders at Laura, there is a chance for capital to enter the hands of more diverse founders that will be set up for success through the lifecycle of their startups.
Want more fintech x fundraising? Check out this interview with Miguel Fernandez, co-founder, and CEO of Capchase, a fintech for recurring-revenue companies to secure non-dilutive capital.