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Contxto – The renowned Silicon Valley fund, Plug and Play, will launch a new Latin American fund with an interesting focus on universities. Frat boys and sorority girls, lose your charity buckets and go get some Patagonia vests.
According to a person familiar with the matter, PnP is working on establishing yet another Latin American fund for early-stage startups, and this time also, for college students. The fund is allegedly in talks with some of Latin America’s most innovative and respected universities, from Mexico to Chile.
The source mentions that this new program will consist of two different categories: startups and students. Similar to previous involvement in the region, the company will seek to invest in the best early-stage startups out there. Nevertheless, it’s adding a new format, that I, personally, find very intriguing.
Supposedly, its thesis is that the region has historically focused on the founders’ side within the ecosystem. With this new program, though, now it wants to boost the venture capital fund’s activity per se. In fact, the industry is still very obscure. Many people in the region don’t even know what VC means. Most still believe it stands for Victor Cortés.
Anyways, Plug and Play will create a program partnering with universities to promote, persuade and train students in the venture capital industry. The fund will grant the opportunity to 1,000 students to learn from Silicon Valley investors and mentors about the mystical art of VC.
In preparation for the next generation of VC funds, Plug and Play wants to recruit students from all every professional background. This way, there will be more diverse skills and thoughts within the industry.
For instance, electrical engineering and chemistry students will be able to participate and learn the in and outs of the entrepreneurial finance world. From term sheets to valuations and deal flow sourcing, these students can aim to become the Latino version of Tim Draper.
The new fund’s total assets under management are still yet to be confirmed. I still don’t know what the average tickets are or what the “VC 101 course” will include in terms of structure and content. One thing is for certain, though. This will be a different approach that not many people have previously considered, especially in terms of increasing fund activity in the ecosystem.
In fact, there are still many “big” Latin Amerian countries such as Colombia and Chile that don’t really have venture funds – or very few, at least. Rather, these countries often have accelerators and state-run programs. The problem with this format is that startups from these countries must go abroad for financing themselves, specifically Mexico, Brazil, and in lesser amounts, Argentina.