ACA Expands Communication with Angels in Latin America

By Linda Smith, ACA Chair

Angel Ventures is spreading its wings!  For those of you unfamiliar with Angel Ventures, they are the widest network of angel investors in Latin America with a significant presence in Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Chile and Southern California.  Some of you may have met Hernan Fernandez of Angel Ventures Mexico, an active ACA member. They also maintain excellent contacts with Hispanic angels and Hispanic investment opportunities throughout the United States. 

As your ACA Chair, I recently had the opportunity to travel south and meet with the staff, supporters, and members of Angel Ventures Peru.  Based in the capital city of Lima, I was hosted by Greg Mitchell who leads the staff in Lima and Elizabeth Acuna, their deal flow manager.  The breadth and depth of their work in the startup ecosystem is truly impressive.  With over 250 members, Angel Ventures has created a fund-to-fund network of investments. 

Like angel groups in North America, Angel Ventures sponsors incubation programs, investor academies for aspiring angels, business plan training for new entrepreneurs, and syndication opportunities throughout the Pacific Latin American region they cover.  

Unlike traditional angel groups in the US, Angel Ventures welcomes and actively involves investment banks, private corporations, VCs and private equity funds into their association.  They also work closely with national and international government organizations including, most notably the Inter-American Development Bank.

Part of my Lima visit included talking with a senior specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank.  They recognize that angels are a fundamental piece of a successful economic development strategy and when private individuals are willing to risk their own capital there is greater likelihood of economic progress than when governments try to make these investment decisions alone.

Because of their extensive involvement with a wide variety of capital resources including partnering with the development banks in their respective countries, in less than 10 years Angel Ventures has provided  over $30 million US in funds committed to the start-ups in these  four Latin American countries.

Understanding the similarities and differences between angel investing in other regions of the world serves us well as ACA looks to develop a global community of angels.  I greatly appreciated the chance to learn firsthand the success of Angel Ventures in Latin America and the young companies it supports.

Rotarians are known to visit rotary clubs wherever they travel.  I would like to start a similar habit and encourage each of you as angels to visit other angel groups when outside your own borders.  Gracias!!

(Editor's Note:  ACA is workign on new ways to build diversity of angel investors, including more from the Hispanic community of North America.  We'll offer our first ever "Angel 101" in Houston on November 13, with a terrific diverse set of instructors.  More information about the program is here.)

Brian Lopez, Analyst; Greg Mitchell, Managing Director; 
and Elizabeth Acuna, Dealflow Manager, of Angel Ventures-Peru