Diverse managers on the East Coast have long been few and far between but that is beginning to change, Mendoza Ventures founders Adrian and Senofer Mendoza told Venture Capital Journal.
“For the longest time, we were the only Latinx-founded firm on the East Coast and now we’re starting to see a few more Latinx-founded firms in New York or Miami, starting to get to their first close,” Adrian Mendoza said. “We’re really excited that there’s a whole new family of funds, from Black-owned funds to Latinx- and women-owned funds.”
“A nice thing about all the attention that diverse managers are getting now is that we’re not alone anymore,” Senofer added.
Beginning five years ago, Mendoza Ventures, founded by the husband-and-wife team, was an early- and growth-stage fintech, AI and cybersecurity investor based in Boston. But as more attention is put on diversity, equity and inclusion policies within the VC community, Mendoza Ventures hopes to differentiate itself through close collaboration with portfolio companies.
“There’s a lot of dollars going to Black and Brown, as well as female founders,” Adrian said. “But really the one piece that we bring into the market that very few funds do is really this very hands-on approach.”
The firm’s “hands-on” approach to dealing with its portfolio companies meant that when initial covid-19 lockdowns were set in place, it had either a team member or co-investor working closely with each company founder every step of the way, which has extended to re-opening preparations to prepare founders to re-engage with the wider market.
“We’re basically doing founder finishing school before we send everyone out to pitch again, because everyone’s been on their own,” Senofer said. “We’ve been very connected, but we just want to help polish off those social skills.”
The firm also deployed to two start-ups in 2020 in addition to oversubscribing its most recent fund.
But while they prepare for a busy summer, the momentum of the current moment around DE&I initiatives continues to be positive, although the real affects won’t be seen for years to come.
“It’ll take a few years to see where things land; there’s a lot of tests and a lot of noise out there in the space, and dollars are just starting to be deployed,” Senofer said. “We’re sincerely hoping that that trend will continue.”