“Typically, older white males have been the sole allocators of capital, but the pendulum has swung, and we’ve reached a critical mass point. Money is now shifting. What does that mean? For you, for your business, for your customers, for the ventures you decide to create? For the projects that you’re building? If you’re a creator? If you’re a musician? I’ve seen all kinds of things just using my plain eyes. . .” –– John Henry
Our very own, Albert Baez, co-founder and CEO of Blended Sense was the MC for this year’s LatinX Summit which supports the diversification and inclusion of Latin founders in Tech. Accenture was a supporter of the LatinX Summit as well, and the keynote address was delivered by an established tech influencer and investor, John Henry, co-founder and CEO of Loop, an exchange-first platform for scaling Shopify brands, a Forbes 30 Under 30 and Inc 30 Under 30, listed on the Ebony Power 100 list, and so much more. Henry sold his first business by the age of 21. He is a big investor in women and Latin entrepreneurs, and offered an incredibly insightful point of view about how the market and actual capital is flowing now to support minority founders.
The reality is the market is totally different today. Inclusion is different now than it was in 2016, especially after the George Floyd incident. Henry arrived at Capital Factory to deliver his keynote address straight from a breakfast meeting with the premier venture capital fund in all of Silicon Valley, which means the consciousness of the tech landscape is exposed via Silicon Valley’s pulse. Henry took the pulse of tech, and described having goosebumps after his discussion.
What is imperative for Latin and minority founders to understand is that emerging markets are now positioned in a way that has not been possible for decades, and possibly ever before.
As Henry explained, “People in our communities are not fully grasping the extent of the power that you actually have. And here’s the thing, when you don’t know that you have the power, it affects your confidence when you’re walking into a conversation where you don’t understand that you have more leverage than you know you have. It affects the psychology of the conversation, and then the pattern recognition isn’t there, because they’re [investors] just looking for pattern recognition, certain traits in founders that they know are going to be successful.”
More budget and more capital is being raised than ever before to support Latin and minority business. It isn’t uncool to be socially savvy any longer. It is in fact, a necessity to be socially and culturally inclusive to do business and navigate the world.
"Even more onerous. . . passive change will never change these systems. We have to build them ourselves. We're the change." - John Henry
John Henry describes entrepreneurs as being corporate rebels in his keynote. Entrepreneurs understand the capitalist framework but never compromise who they are as an individual. This is a notion we support with magnanimous pride at Blended Sense. We specifically aim to allow creatives to be who they really are, within a framework that allows them to create, but also take part in the money flowing through business.
At the same time, our small business owners are all entrepreneurs, too. They support their own aspirations and big dreams, from developing CBD-based tonic waters to help assuage pain after chemotherapy (DuSöl), developing tech that protects kids from over-using their cell phones (Pinwheel), or developing next-edge technology that helps to furnish cognitive enhancement and the management of depression symptoms to people through biotechnology (SenseEye). We’ve worked with companies that empower women (Radical Girl Gang!), serve underrepresented cultures (The Doughminican), and keep money flowing where it’s needed most – inside local communities.
Blended Sense was, itself, a rebellious act of trying to refine a lack of safety and consistency in the creative market, experienced by Abigail Rose Baez as an actor. Her pain of not being able to find capital as a woman founder, is experienced by so many in this space. Her co-founders, Gerogina Elizondo Griffin and Albert Baez, both of Latin heritage, are in an emerging group of founders supported by a break-out in investor support that was previously hard to come by.
The venture capital ecosystem is setting records in the age of digital transformation. Already in 2021, Venture Capitalists have invested $8.8 billion across nearly 400 deals in Latin America, according to Pitchbook. That’s more money that was invested than in 2019 and 2020 combined.
The time is now.
If you’re a Latin entrepreneur, and eager to learn where funding for your next venture will come from, listen to Henry’s keynote in full. It’s packed with incredible information that will shape how you do business going forward.
And reach out to us at Blended Sense. We’re ready to help you create content to move your Latin business into the foreground where it belongs.