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Mono, a Bogota-based company that offers bank accounts for startups – launched in January, backed by Y Combinator and with a US$6 million round led by Tiger Global in June – is today launching an initiative designed to connect startups in Colombia with some of the most prominent funds and investors in Latin America: Mono VC.
As José Tomás Lobo, COO and one of Mono’s founders, explained to Contxto, a post on LinkedIn asking for early-stage startup recommendations was the precursor to this initiative: it led to more than 120 meetings with Colombian entrepreneurs. Although it helped them to invest (they ended up signing checks to three companies), it was more helpful to realize that a more efficient way could be created to connect the two sides of the equation: startups and investors. They were well connected with both parties, as they know the startups that are their clients well and are linked to funds and investors as a company.
How does Mono VC work? Startups must send their investment deck, and the Mono team (after categorizing them according to criteria such as type of industry, stage of development, or the amount they are looking to raise) sends the filtered information to the investment funds. “We talk to the funds beforehand to get to know their investment thesis. We give them recommendations based on what they tell us they are looking for in startups. This is quite broad, so we expect many meetings to take place,” Lobo says.
The condition to participate is that they must be clients of Mono, although the company emphasizes in its press release that opening an account takes no more than 15 minutes and that there is no management fee. They also stress that there is no cost to participate in Mono VC and that they do not ask for any share holding whatsoever.
Asked if Mono VC was also born as a way to attract new clients, Lobo says that the primary motivation is different. It was born while they were at Y Combinator in San Francisco: “We set ourselves the goal of growing the startup ecosystem in Colombia a lot.” And he adds: “It’s for clients now so that we can filter a little more. But the truth is that we are not closed to it always being like this”.
Mono VC points out that among its investors are investment funds such as ALLVP, QED, and Magma Partners, as well as several founders of startups that have gone through Y Combinator, Rappi investors, and angel investors in general.
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