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Chicago’s new Chingona Ventures will invest in diverse businesses (and founders)

ImpactAlpha, January 15 – Fresh off of five years at Chicago’s MATH Ventures, Samara Mejia Hernandez saw an opportunity to create an alternative to what she says is “undifferentiated capital” going to “undifferentiated investments” in the Midwest and beyond.

Her firm Chingona (slang for “badass woman”) will invest between $100,000 to $250,000 in up to 30 early-stage businesses over three years. The firm targets fintech, future of work, food technology, female technology, and overall wellness companies. Its initial investments include Tiny Organics, a New York-based baby food startup that is expanding to the midwest, and Career Karma, a San Francisco-based coding education and coaching platform.

Chingona is not solely focused on diverse founders, but its portfolio companies tend to skew that way: Tiny Organics’s founders are women and Career Karma is a black-led business.

“If we got more of these voices, the tech ecosystem, and I believe returns, would look very different,” Hernandez told ImpactAlpha.

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