“Our uniqueness as immigrant Latinas makes us stronger and anti-fragile.”
Babel Ventures, a Silicon Valley firm founded by two young immigrant Latina entrepreneurs, just announced $30 million raised to help start-ups. These funds aim to empower entrepreneurs, many who struggle to receive funding, with the needed capitol to continue contributing to our economy through their start-ups.
The firm was founded earlier this year by Bárbara Kunde Minuzzi and Daniela Arruda. Both women have experience in raising big dollar funds from high net worth individuals. In the past, Barbara in particular has singlehandedly raised over $250 million for real estate and high tech companies.
After several years financing real estate in Miami, last year Bárbara and Daniela moved to San Francisco where they launched their new firm and it’s new fund.
At a glance, that Babel Ventures is women-run makes it highly unique. Overall, men comprise 89% of venture capital partners, according to the National Venture Capital Association/Dow Jones VentureSource.
A 2016 study by Columbia University (pdf) found that, over the last decade, the proportion of women partners categorized as key decision makers in United States VC firms has declined from 10% to just 5%.
While being women-run makes Babel Ventures unique, that the firm is Latina-run makes it a real unicorn in Silicon Valley. Just one-percent of venture capital partners identify as Latino. From what I can tell, besides Barbara and Daniella, none identify as Latina.
“We are outsiders,” Bárbara tells me. “As immigrants we leave everything behind to build something special. Something that inspires other women, Latinas and immigrants. It’s unique to be part of something different and rarely seen in Silicon Valley.”
We don't know the rules so we are breaking all of them. And it’s working for us. People who have been here their entire lives know the rules and norms, and are hesitant to break them. We act differently, we have to be more aggressive because so much is on the line. Our uniqueness as immigrant Latinas makes us stronger and anti-fragile.
This blogger, for one, is super-excited about the possibilities of Bárbara and Daniela’s new venture. As recent allegations of anti-women misconduct emerge from Silicon Valley, it’s clear that the “nerd culture” has shifted to embrace some of the nastier elements of “bro culture” — like casual misogyny and a general air of gender-based disrespect.
Huge hat-tips to women-run venture capitol firms like Babel and Rivet Ventures for pioneering a more-equitable future for the culture of startup funding in Silicon Valley and beyond.