People of Latin American origin are the most entrepreneurial but also the most undercapitalized population within the United States. Together, the Latinx population of the U.S. represents the equivalent of the fifth-largest economy in the world, with a total economic output of $2.7 trillion in 2019. Yet these entrepreneurs receive less than 1% of all invested capital by private equity and venture capital firms.
That is why L’ATTITUDE Ventures—a purpose-driven venture capital firm on a mission to transform the VC ecosystem—has announced the closing of the first $100 million fund focused solely on Latinx-founded early-stage companies. JPMorgan Chase is the anchor investor, the first investor was Bank of America, and these were followed by significant investments from MassMutual and UC Investments, among other financial institutions.
The newly-completed fund intends to catalyze existing growth within a critical demographic. “The data make it clear that the U.S. Latinx cohort is the key driver of incremental economic growth in today’s economy and will continue to be so for several decades to come,” says Sol Trujillo, cofounder of L’Attitude.
One in five Americans is of Hispanic origin, and Latinx people are nearly twice as likely as all other Americans to start a business. So, it’s not surprising to find that 80% of all net new businesses in the past decade, and 52% of all net new employer-based businesses, have been formed by this population.
The youthfulness of this cohort is further testament to its sustained force as a growth driver. The most common age among U.S. Latinx is 11 years old. That compares to 58 years old among Anglo-Americans, 27 for African-Americans, and 29 for Asian-Americans.
“As I’ve run major companies across the globe, I have found that making sure capital is flowing to where the growth is catalyzes more growth and generates the greatest returns on investment,” says Trujillo. He points to a recent Bain & Company study, which found that if the Latinx cohort were able to access equity capital at the same rate as the Anglo-American cohort, the American GDP would grow by nearly $1.5 trillion.
“As an American whose family’s roots here go back nearly 500 years, I believe our founders built our country on principles that have resulted in the economic growth associated with global leadership and competitiveness. That has included investing in all people who are productive, competitive, and creating growth,” Trujillo explains. “Today, that is not happening in America. We can make it happen by building new investment structures and processes that assure the sustained growth of our economy.”
Trujillo definitely feels that his current work is aligned with his life purpose. “I have been blessed in many ways and believe when fortunate, we all have a duty to give back,” he says. “Our country has many challenges ahead of us such as an aging population, inflation, and supply chain issues. It just so happens that our country also has a unique and distinguishing population cohort that is growing, youthful, productive, entrepreneurial and patriotic: the U.S. Latino. At the same time, this cohort has been demonized in several ways, for example in the building of walls, deportations, and stereotyping in the entertainment media. By partnering with other leaders, we can change the conversation so that all Americans come to value, invest in, and partner with our people. Ignorance can be destructive while knowledge, understanding and actioning can be inspiring and unifying.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Trujillo has this advice. “Pursue your dreams with conviction, solving a problem which others have not and that customers will find value in and be willing to pay for. Then innovate continuously. Stay focused on delivering results.”