Venture Capitalists Focus on Hispanic Demographic

As Investors scour for new themes and ideas,  a group of funds have looked to indicators such as population growth and disposable income to generate deals.   From this analysis, these funds have focused on the Hispanic demographic and Hispanic Owned companies that target tremendous growth and wealth that the Hispanic demographic will  have in the coming years.

Statistics: US. Census Bureau predicts the Hispanic population with rised to about 59 Million by 2025.   Most important will be the disposable income which is approximated to be $700 Billion and growing.    

It would be a serious error for anyone to underestimate the Hispanic presence in the world of entrepreneurs. With over two million Hispanic-owned companies currently in the United States, with more being added every month, it is obvious that the Hispanic community is seeing itself represented more and more frequently in the business community.


One way that Hispanic-owned businesses are making their presence known is by entering the venture capital arena. When a venture capitalist helps a minority-owned business, there is a tremendous amount of goodwill built up. This goodwill is often translated into business and networking opportunities that benefit both parties involved.


Venture capitalists often find themselves actively seeking out new investment opportunities that are designed to benefit the Hispanic community. More than ever, investors are looking to build a strong base in the Hispanic and Latin America communities. For example, according to the Latin American Venture Capitalist Association, venture capital and private equity funding more than doubled from 2009 to 2010. This is a trend that has not been seen anywhere else in the venture capital community. This means that Hispanic start ups currently find themselves in the middle of one of the most start up-friendly economic periods in recent memory.

One reason that more and more Hispanic venture capitalists are emerging onto the scene is because of the tremendous growth opportunity available. The United Nations commissioned a study on the number of “poor” citizens in the Latin American population. In 2002, 44 percent of the population was considered poor. In 2010, that number dropped to 32 percent. In other words, in a period of eight years, the Latin American middle class grew by 70 million people!


Entrepreneurs who are looking for someone to fund their start ups are finding themselves being met with a warm reception by Hispanic venture capitalists. Having been standing on the sidelines in the past, Hispanic venture capitalists now understand the benefits of taking chances on new businesses, both Hispanic-owned and otherwise.

Organizations such as HITEC and the Latino Coalition are becoming major advocates for Hispanic businesses, working towards creating a business environment in which Hispanic entrepreneurs can truly thrive.

One way to keep current on the role of Hispanic and non-Hispanic venture capitalists is to subscribe to the HITEC blog, which provides a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics, ranging from IT professionals to the economic climate.

These venture funds have dedicated themselves to sourcing and investing in business that target the Hispanic community. However, there are other, multi-strategy, funds such as Carlyle and Vestar who have invested in businesses with similar missions. And while this VC group is small and intimate now, as the growth and buying power of the Hispanic community materializes, it seems logical to assume many more investors will enter the fray.




Hispanic Heritage Month ROI in Heritage

In September 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later it became a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). During this time, America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking countries.

The month of September is a historically significant one for many Latin American countries. September 15 is the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16 and 18.

With over 45 million Hispanics in the U.S., it is crucial for marketers to be aware of this important time of year for Hispanic culture. Hispanic Heritage Month presents an opportunity for businesses to integrate themselves into this growing community by showing support. It is important that this support not be seen as token, and one of the best ways to do this is via sponsorship.

There are many levels of sponsorship, so businesses of all sizes can participate in supporting this celebration. No matter who you are or what you sell, there is a place for your brand in the Hispanic community, especially during this time. Hispanics have a strong sense of loyalty and reciprocity, so if you genuinely give to the Hispanic community, rest assured that you will get back. Your ROI will skyrocket if you get creative and position your support strategically during this month.

Hispanic Heritage Month means a great deal to Hispanics. It is the culmination of years of efforts at recognition by American culture. Integrating yourself into the Hispanic market by supporting Hispanic Heritage month could very well set you apart from other brands.

Those who support Hispanic Heritage Month appear to be sincerely supporting Hispanic heritage, and not just supporting their own business. Know about the numerous opportunities to take part in this special time of year for Hispanics.

© Sofia E. Keck – Sell it in Spanish ™


Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on September 15th? Why do we have this celebration in the United States?

Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on September 15th? Why do we have this celebration in the United States?

Chosen Answer:

I don’t know why it starts on September 15th exactly. But it’s just to showcase some things about the Hispanic history and culture in the US. Which is really intertwined with the US culture as a whole if you think about it, because European Spanish colonists had settled parts of the US even before English settlers (the southwest / Texas, California, Florida). And those parts of the country still have strong connections with their Spanish past , even in terms they use and names for places, etc (also a lot of that is due to Mexican immigration of course and their closeness to Mexico).

So they just want to make a month for another minority community (that is, Spanish speakers of any race really), just like they have a black history month. Both are minority communities by comparison with the overwhelming majority which identifies as “non-Hispanic white” (something like 70% of the country still).

There are white / European themed celebrations as well, all year long ; for example St. Patrick’s Day (which is an Irish-American thing), and from the Anglo-American side of things there is Thanksgiving (which is pretty much universally celebrated here but is originally commemorating an Anglo-Indian meal), 4th July (which celebrates the early Anglo-American independence from Britain of course), etc.
by: DinoDeSanto
on: 12th August 11

Guide To General Solicitation And The JOBS Act

For the first time in nearly 80 years, private startups and small businesses can raise investment funding publicly- using sites like Facebook or Twitter to help spread the word, and taking in investment online via equity crowdfunding sites who power the investment process in a more open and collaborative way.

Before today, publicly advertising the fact that you were raising investment (general solicitation) was against the law for early stage private companies. Fundraising from the general public was the exclusive domain of larger companies who can afford to spend the millions it takes to become listed on stock exchanges like the NASDAQ.

But now, as a result of Title II, early stage investing in the U.S. has stepped squarely into the digital age and has become more public, kicking off one of the largest new capital markets in our time for online investing via equity crowdfunding.

As the CEO of where we help companies raise investment online, and as a participant in JOBS Act legislative and regulatory initiatives, I’m thrilled at seeing the last 2 years of hard work on the JOBS Act come to fruition among participating friends, colleagues, policy makers, and regulators.

What’s more, the new opportunities this creates to help companies raise capital and grow will not just transform the startup investing world, but also evolving markets like impact investing in for-profit Social Enterprises.

In this brief article I’m going to share a little background on the laws governing private investment in the U.S., what Title II means for investors and entrepreneurs in the U.S., and outline the basic mechanics of how companies looking to raise crowdfunded capital can take advantage of Title II of the JOBS Act in a safe and legal way.

Background on Title II of the JOBS Act

It was 1933 when the Securities Act was passed in the U.S., creating with it a ban on general solicitation (advertising investment to the general public for private companies). At the time, radio was the dominant communication medium, and there was little access open information, education, or disclosures to help protect investors.

While these laws passed in 1933 helped reduce fraud at the time, they also had unintended consequences that hurt honest everyday small business owners and entrepreneurs, restricting them in their efforts to attract potential investors and critical seed and growth capital.

The world has changed since 1933, and early stage investing has been long overdue to catch up.

On April 4th, 2012 the JOBS Act was signed into law and included two investment crowdfunding related items in Title II and Title III. It was then the job of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) to implement the new laws and regulations. But the SEC delayed JOBS Act implementation for over a year, as its leadership was in open opposition to what legislators and pro-business advocates had created and passed into law.

Then on April 10th of 2013, Mary Jo White was sworn in as the new Chair at the SEC. She quickly pushed the new regulations forward and put Title II to a vote in July, passing with a 4-1 vote in favor.

That brings us to today.

How Does Title II and General Solicitation Work?

Today, as these laws finally roll out, we now have clarity and a path for open and public fundraising for startups and small businesses.

Here is the SEC Fact Sheet for Title II, and a more detailed guide to How General Solicitation Works.

In short, companies who file Form D with the SEC can generally solicit to the public. Within 15 from soliciting they must disclose additional information about the solicitation.

Only accredited investors can actually invest in fundraising rounds where companies generally solicit, and companies are required to perform strict verifications that all investors are accredited, or face being banned from fundraising for 1 year.

To simplify the details down for you, here are the basics:

For Startups & Small Businesses

  • You can now generally solicit and advertise publicly
  • Only accredited investors can actually invest in generally solicited companies
  • File Form D with the SEC before you begin soliciting, letting them know you will
  • Disclose details about your general solicitation to the SEC within 15 days from first solicitation
  • Strict verifications done by companies are required to confirm that each investor is accredited
  • The penalty for not adequately meeting and following general solicitation requirements with the SEC is being banned from fundraising for a full year

For Investors

  • Only accredited investors can invest in companies who generally solicit
  • Qualifying as accredited means having $1 million in net worth, or making over $200,000 a year for the past 3 years
  • Investors will need to prove accredited investors status, which can be done through written confirmation by a CPA, attorney, investment advisor, or Broker-Dealer, or income-related IRS forms


Implications of Title II of the JOBS Act

The notable venture capitalist Marc Andreesen was quoted as saying that part of his investment thesis centers around the idea that “software will eat the world.”

The existing private and early stage investment markets are now being eaten by software and will rapidly transform from a world of private boardroom deals towards a more open, collaborative, and efficient online process, much of which will center around investment crowdfunding.

Given the potential scope of the crowdfunding market under Title II, it’s interesting to consider the following…

What will happen to the existing Reg D and placement market of roughly $1.2 trillion annually? How much of this will move online and towards online platforms?

And over 2 to 3 years, what portion of the roughly $30 billion annual venture capital market will move towards this online investment model?

And finally, how much new capital will flow in as Title III of the JOBS Act is implemented by the SEC (estimated early 2014), bringing non-accredited investors into the fray as a whole new set of investors and capital?

There are estimates on the size of these markets, but only time will tell.

One area I’m particularly passionate about is the potential for investment crowdfunding to rapidly develop and crowdfund local ecosystems. And not just in the US, but globally in countries like crowdfunding in Mexico where they have the potential to leapfrog from nascent early stage market to a more clustered and healthy investment ecosystem.

An interesting statistic is that according to a recent TechCrunch article, only 3% of the U.S.’s 8 million accredited investors are currently active in the tech startup space. That leaves a lot of room for growth.

With general solicitation now putting opportunities in front of untapped accredited investors and the ones who are already engaged, the angel and individual investor capital base is certain to grow.

For companies fundraising, the growth of these capital markets and the movement towards online systems and investment crowdfunding is going to bring much greater potential access to capital and opportunity. Most early stage entrepreneurs don’t have an existing network of wealthy potential investors, and fundraising is hard.

Now that the general solicitation ban is lifted, within a matter of days startups and small businesses can leverage the internet as a marketing tool for their fundraising, and use an online investment platforms where investors have already been engaging, like CircleUp or Crowdfunder, to reach potentially thousands of potential investors. Prior to this, reaching a targeted audience of 20 or more active investors often took 4 to 6 months.

Reason For Caution & Safety In The Market

While general solicitation is now a powerful new tool in the fundraisers arsenal, there are important restrictions and securities requirements to follow. Companies who don’t follow these guidelines will be banned from fundraising for a full year, which for many startups is a death sentence.

Online platforms will be helpful and an important place to bring necessary education, standardization and proper process to online solicitation and offerings that companies undertake.

Doug Ellenoff, significant JOBS Act participant, securities attorney, and partner at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole said, “Today’s implementation of Title II of the JOBS Act is momentous for the US capital markets. Title II, however, is only available to certain entrepreneurs that qualify and aren’t deemed to be “bad actors” and to investors that have more substantial financial means and are verified to qualify as Accredited.

Ellenoff also stated that, “I do caution both entrepreneurs and investors to be cautious about the amount of money any investor invests in venture financings to ensure that it is suitable for them in the context of their overall financial picture and so that a complete loss wouldn’t alter their lifestyle in any meaningful sense.

Title III: Equity Crowdfunding with Non-Accredited Investors

According to current regulations, businesses may not raise money with non-accredited investors.

Title III will create rules and a path for non-accredited investors to begin investing in companies, but the SEC has yet to finalize any rulings. The timing of Title III is expected to include a proposal and a commenting period coming this Fall, and for finalized rulings and a vote in early 2014.

If you’re passionate about supporting entrepreneurship, or being an investor who helps early stage startups or social enterprises get funded and grow, getting involved is as simple as joining one of the leading platforms that are building these new investment ecosystems.


*This post is for educational purposes and does not represent legal advice. To reduce Title II compliance risks and potential penalties, it’s important to consult with your lawyer prior to initiating any general solicitation campaigns via Crowdfunder or any other online platform.


U.S. Hispanic Entrepreneurs’ Runaway Growth

Hispanic-owned businesses—there are about 3.2 million of them in the U.S.—will generate $468 billion in revenue this year, according to a new study from consultancy Geoscape. That’s up from 1.6 million businesses and $254 billion in 2002.

One explanation for the fast growth: Recent research showing that immigrants are27 percent more likely to start a business—and also more likely to perceive opportunity and less afraid of failure—than native-born Americans.

“For a good period of time, Hispanic businesses concentrated in the trades, especially agriculture and construction,” says Javier Palomarez, chief executive officer of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Today, we have businesses of all sizes in every industry and every corner of the country.”

I spoke recently to Palomarez as his organization, which serves as an umbrella for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers, prepared for its annual convention this week in Chicago. Edited excerpts of our conversation follow.

To what do you attribute the increase in Hispanic-owned businesses?

Culturally, it’s within the DNA of the community. It’s a collaborative community. Many people have arrived from other countries, or aren’t far removed. They’ve had to make it on their own, to bootstrap it. And starting a business is an effective way to build wealth.

What’s the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce doing to promote that community?

We’ve been keen on focusing on commerce, entrepreneurship, and job creation. I took over about three years ago, as the organization’s first corporate-trained chief executive. Previously, we had more of a civil rights kind of bent. Now, our whole idea is to mainstream the story of the Hispanic business enterprise, to tell the story that’s gone untold: I’m talking about the contributions that Hispanic-owned businesses are making to the U.S. economy.


Why the shift?


As the community comes into its own, it has different needs. One of the clear manifestations of where we are was the last presidential election. Never before has our community played such a critical role in electing a president; never again will a president be elected without appealing to our community. Sixty-thousand Hispanics turn 18 every month. I don’t care if you’re running for president or local dogcatcher, you have to consider the Hispanic market. So the message now is economic: Look at where the growth is. It’s in the Hispanic business community.

What are some specific issues that are important to the organization?


First and foremost, it’s to make sure that America recognizes the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Beyond that, the tried-and-true challenges: access to capital. Health-care and insurance reform is critically important. The numbers in the federal government are pretty abysmal. Hispanics make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, and we’re in the single digits for federal contracts.

You’re talking about Small Business Administration reporting onfederal contracting. One argument I’ve read from agencies is that they couldn’t find women- or minority-owned businesses to meet their contracting needs. Do you buy that?


That’s bunk. Have you heard of the Billion Dollar Roundtable? It’s a coalition of 18 companies that are making sure to do $1 billion of business with companies that are women- and minority-owned. If Lockheed Martin (LMT), Ford (F), Verizon (VZ),Boeing (BA)—if those companies can figure it out, surely the government can.


What rights did Hispanic and Asian people have during the civil rights movement?

I’ve always wondered what rights Hispanic and Asian people had during the civil rights movement. Mainly because I’m Hispanic and have tan skin and I wonder how much different my life would be during that time.

Chosen Answer:

There weren’t many hispanics and asians in the south during that time. They were mostly on the west coast, so honestly I wouldn’t know what rights they had.
by: Natalia Symone’
on: 29th November 10

Denver vs. Silicon Valley: Where we’re better and where we need to grow

When I travel outside the Mile High City, I’m often asked what makes Denver so attractive for startups. While our tech community and the companies it’s home to are gaining traction by the month, the benefits of launching a startup in Denver aren’t necessarily as obvious as those associated with major tech destinations like the Valley and, more recently, New York.

But when we were preparing to launch Convercent into the governance, risk, and compliance market, there was never any doubt where we should set up shop. In fact, I recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal about some of the key reasons why Denver-Boulder is in an exciting time for tech acceleration (and our mayor did, too). Indeed, the tech hub here is actually piping with opportunity — it’s by no coincidence that $280M in funding came through the city alone last year. The perks you’d find in the Valley like daily farm-to-table meals and ping-pong tournaments aren’t the standard, but there are other important and significant advantages to cultivating a tech company here, all unique to our own local culture.

But just like most relatively new, fast-growing developments in the tech sector, we still need to iron out some kinks and improve upon certain areas before Denver truly recognizes its full potential. There are distinct areas where Denver’s tech innovation excels, but also places where we still need to grow to take our own tech scene to the next level.

What we do best

Denver has an ideal work-life balance. The city isn’t just home to slew of high-growth tech startups, it’s also home to very successful awesome food start ups as well as some of the best breweries in the US. The Rocky Mountains are in our backyard for people who love their skis and snowboards in the winter and mountain bikes and hiking boots the rest of the year. In fact, it’s this balance that often attracts top talent from New York and the Valley to Denver — people get burned out and are drawn to Denver’s high quality-of-life. The outdoors are a key part of Denver’s overall culture and everyone makes a point to take pride in these defining factors and enjoy what our city has to offer.

Within our working world, the quality of life is arguably just as high. The tech community in Denver works to foster a cohesive, supportive environment where people have unique access to the resources they need to scale: The Mayor, Erik Mitisek’s band of superstars at the Colorado Technology Association and local incubators like Galvanize all actively find ways to help startups excel and forge a close-knit network. In fact, the city of Denver and Mayor Michael B. Hancock recently helped Convercent open the doors to its new office in Denver’s Golden Triangle district, a vibrant, up and coming neighborhood where it seems a new startup sets up just about every other week.

Even the tech companies themselves work to support each other’s growth, which is a dramatic contrast to the competition you find in other tech hubs where everyone’s concerned about who’s launching what first. Our office is also a communal, shared space for local artists, entrepreneurs, and other startups to come use at no cost, as well as a venue for local networking and tech events. Even as Denver’s tech hub becomes more dense, this supportive nature hasn’t wavered. In fact, the recent and steady successes of the Denver/Boulder region’s companies seem to have only fueled our drive to help each other excel.

This close-knit community also helps give way to focused, thriving corporate cultures. In Silicon Valley, founders and CEOs are constantly concerned with other companies poaching their employees. Being outside of this noisy ecosystem, Denver is less susceptible to this company-hopping routine and, as result, employees are overall more invested in their work, driving greater company morale and productivity. Companies are able to stay focused on their visions and goals without the distractions of passing tech trends and launches.

Where There’s Room to Grow

I’d like to see Denver creating a few juggernauts on the level of Salesforce or Google. We need a few of these behemoth tech companies to help anchor Denver as major hub for technology, and help bring in the top talent and resources needed to propel the smaller surrounding companies forward.

The success of TeleTech, an innovator of customer-experience technolog; Ping Identity’s recent $44 million round; and Rally Software’s recent initial public offering (now up 100 percent) are all steps in the right direction. But we need more.

We need Sympoz, Datalogix, Sendgrid, Newsgator, Full Contact, and Convercent to continue along the path they’re on until they become nationally-recognized businesses that are leading their respective markets. Lastly, we need Governor Hickenlooper and Tom Clark, the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, to continue their great work bringing companies like Arrow Electronics to Colorado and land a few other giant, anchor companies for Denver’s tech community to reach new levels of success.

Another development that would help significantly grow our local entrepreneurial community is a bigger market for angel capital. The issue isn’t that money for seed startups is hard to come by — there’s plenty of money if the opportunity is right. The issue is that investors only want to bet on proven technology executives with ample experience in successfully scaling companies.

These “fundable” teams aren’t as prevalent in a newly developed tech scene, and while our early stage companies are often piping with new and innovative ideas, a certain track record is required to attract capital. Incubators like TechStars are helping to usher in more qualified seed startups, but what will really move the needle is recruiting respected founders into Colorado, inspiring our own executives to start their own businesses, and encouraging Denver’s proven entrepreneurs to continue launching new companies rather than simply enjoying Colorado after some initial success.

Lastly, part of what’s hurts Denver’s tech community most is its own reputation. The Rocky Mountain West is known for skiing, hiking, turning Rocky Mountain spring water into Coors beer, and creating the cable industry. Outside Colorado, there’s an underlying sense that a technology company springing out of this unassuming area can’t possibly be ahead of the curve. A shift in this kind of thinking should come organically as Denver’s tech market continues to gain traction, but until it gains more national recognition, some extra effort goes into proving that your company has what it takes.

Despite a few areas to improve upon, I wouldn’t trade Denver’s high quality of the life, supportive tech network and strong company cultures for the advantages that come along with real estate in one of the coastal the tech hubs. With Colorado now claiming four of the top ten most popular cities for startups, I have ambitious hopes and dreams for how the region’s tech community will continue to take shape.

Patrick Quinlan is the chief executive of Denver-based Convercent, an enterprise cloud software company that raised a $10.2M series A in January (check out VentureBeat’s profile of its dynamic office space). He’s been leading Denver tech companies for decades.