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Contxto – “The future is female.”
As simple as that. At least that’s how venture capital (VC) fund, ALLVP, made it seem. It shouldn’t be so tough, but surely plenty of folks will be applauding ALLVP’s “bold” decision to kick off the new decade by welcoming a millennial, woman partner into its ranks.
The truth is, we are indeed in the 2020’s, but in many ways it feels like we’re in the 1920’s. Women gaining traction and empowerment in the workplace has advanced leaps and bounds in our overall narratives, and yet often the good intentions remain just that.
Putting one’s money where one’s mouth is another matter.
VC on the CV
Then again, it feels like Antonia Rojas might have been an easy choice for partner after a quick glance at her curriculum. Let’s not forget that this entrepreneur was no stranger to VC and the investment scene long before her ascension to this particular partnership.
Rojas’ career has been stratospheric in a very short time. After getting a pan-hemispheric education in Germany and the United States, her calling took her back to Chile.
By 2017 she had co-founded Santiago-based Manutara Ventures—a seed capital firm—. The year after, she took the show on the road to Brazil in order to form part of a judging panel in a startup extravaganza.
It was there in São Paulo that Rojas’ interest was piqued. I mean, anyone’s would be. This is ALLVP we’re talking about: a leading VC player that has with Prudential and Cinépolis in the investors’ corner and the likes of Weex—a virtual mobile operator—on the investment side.
However, Rojas’ was particularly struck by an investment success she held closer to home:
“Meeting the investor behind the biggest tech company in [Chile], Cornershop, was a big deal. And I wasn’t disappointed. We bonded immediately. He became my mentor as I continued my investment career.”
Mind you though, Federico Antoni, co-founder and Rojas’ now-co-partner, was also rather impressed:
“Although we may have more experience, Antonia is smarter, more resourceful and brings a fresh perspective to our portfolio and investment practice. Together, our now multi-generational and diverse firm will become a better partner for Latin American founders.”
Time’s up for tokenism
The startup ecosystem likes to throw around words like “inclusivity”, “diversity”, and “democratization” often. But, if these platitudes are not quickly followed up by hard evidence, the marketing ploy gets old and quick.
Yeah, yeah, it’s cool that you’re making calls for inclusivity to fill your ranks with women like ride-hailing 99 did in Brazil recently. True, they’ll have an advantage over the likes of Uber, but, if you’re not taking concrete action where it counts, better head back to the bench, guy.
Related article: Ride-hailing 99 launches campaign to get more women behind the wheel
Luckily, as study after study has shown: women invest in women. Therefore, by placing a woman in a position of true power, like in Rojas’ case, there is a genuine chance for structural change to take place. We’ll be keeping an eye on ALLVP in the hopes that this promise materializes and pays off (literally) for women founders.
Similarly, we at Contxto are particularly pleased, beyond having a more diverse person entering the top ranks of a highflying VC. Part of the diversity that really catches our eyes is the pan-Latin American nature of this partnership.
A millennial woman becoming partner at ALLVP is cool. A Chilean millennial woman joining the Mexican (and trans-regional) investment ecosystem. Well, we’re just head-over-heels and all over that.