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Contxto – Patricia Saenz from Mountain Nazca Colombia and Paula Arango from Raise Equity are two founding partners behind EWA Capital, Colombia’s first VC fund with female leadership.
Together, they intend to raise US$30 million in Latin America as part of its latest fund vying for gender inclusion in the startup ecosystem, launched last Thursday. The goal is to invest in early-stage scalable startups with viable products.
Sectors of interest in Latin America include education, health, financial services, retail, as well as agriculture-related business. Ultimately, startups that promote gender inclusion are also on their radar.
“There is another differential and it is that we are the first fund managed by women,” said Saenz and Arango. “Based on our experience, we realized that we must bet on gender inclusion.”
Currently fundraising, Saenz and Arango would like to close the fund with US$15 million investor commitments by March 2020. The closing of the fund with a goal of US$30 million is set for December 2020.
“We are looking for institutional investors because seed capital needs patient investors,” said the duo.
Originally Mountain Nazca, the two VC experts have been betting on Latin America’s digital transformation since 2016. This has been particularly important as technological access to the internet and cell phone increases.
Among entrepreneurs from local universities, Innpulsa, Connect Bogotá, and other resources, they have identified the need for capital to bring these projects to the next level. Some Colombian startup standouts from these programs include Merqueo and Platzi.
How to measure gender inclusion
Two things go into consideration when evaluating a company’s level of gender inclusion. First is ensuring that women are actively part of the management teams following women as the end-customer. The latter-half is of particular importance, according to the team.
“What we find is that women have been belittled in decision making and at the end of the day we are big influencers in consumption.”
Meaning “seed” in the Arahuaco language and representative of female entrepreneurial growth, EWA has invested in eight startups during its first fund, six of which are still active. Collectively, these portfolio companies have created over 560 jobs and generated over US$16.3 million in sales.