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This female VC just raised $52M to invest in overlooked tech founders

Image credits: Chingona Ventures

Chingona Ventures, a Chicago-based female-led VC, has announced the close of its second fund with a total capital raise of $52 million.

The investors in the VC firm include the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, PayPal Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Synchrony Ventures, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wellington Asset Management, 50 South Capital, and other leading institutional asset managers.

Chingona Ventures Fund II

The Fund II is the largest-ever fundraise by a sole Latina General Partner and builds off the success of Fund I that invested in Career Karma, EarlyBird, SumaWealth, and Certiverse.

The VC firm aims to create outsized returns by investing in next-generation founders who understand their core customers in rapidly growing market sectors. The Fund will primarily invest in the FinTech, Future of Learning and Health and Wellness sectors. The Fund II will intentionally invest in the best founders possible, working hard to remove bias in the deal sourcing and selection process.

Samara Mejia Hernandez, founding partner of Chingona Ventures said, “We are committed to supporting the best ideas, no matter their source, during the pre-seed funding process, which is typically where founders encounter the most hurdles. This new round of capital will enable Chingona Ventures to expand our team, write bigger checks and lead more deals, ultimately providing more support where it is needed most while aiming for outsized returns.”

“Samara is a powerhouse of intellect and energy who shared and supported our vision for SUMA Wealth since day one. She was the first to encourage and embrace SUMA’s mission to help close the Latino Wealth Gap and Chingona Ventures went on to lead our first two rounds of funding,” said Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and CEO of SUMA Wealth.

“Samara is making history today with the close of her second fund,” said Lisha Bell, PayPal Ventures’ Economic Opportunity Fund Lead. “PayPal is proud to support her work expanding venture capital and wealth creation opportunities for diverse founders. We’re honored to join the fund as part of our commitment to racial equity.”

Jessica Yi, vice president, Norwest Venture Partners. “At Norwest, we believe that representation among investors can help support and build a more diverse and inclusive startup ecosystem. Samara not only shares this vision, she built it into the DNA of Chingona Ventures. We’re proud to partner with her and the Chingona team as they continue to invest in early-stage founders from non-traditional backgrounds that are often overlooked.”

“When we made our first investment in 2019 with Samara and Chingona Ventures, this is what we had envisioned,” said Illinois State Treasurer Micahel Frerichs. “Samara has been a true catalyst for positive change providing opportunity and access to capital to extraordinary founders who have historically gone overlooked. We could not be more excited to continue to partner with her as she drives equitable innovation.”

Female-led VC!

Chingona Ventures was founded by Samara Mejia Hernandez in 2019. An engineer by training, Samara spent the early part of her career in the public markets at Goldman Sachs and then in the private sector working in venture capital. It is unique from other venture capital investors as it helps founders with unique perspective drive returns.

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