For entrepreneur-turned-investor Yesenia Gallardo Avila, switching sides of the table was all about representation.
She joined the team at Occam Advisors three years ago to work with one of the firm’s clients, a London-based family office called Potencia Ventures. She is investing that firm’s capital, which was generated from real estate.
Potencia had a generalist tech investing and impact strategy in 2009 but zeroed in on education and future of work investments in 2015. Those investments are largely in Latin America, India and the U.S. Potencia invests in other funds as a limited partner and directly into companies. Those decisions are led by Avila.
Since Avila started working with the firm, it has made direct investments anywhere from seed to Series A stage. Potencia has a portfolio of 30 funds it has invested in as an LP. Four to five of those manager evaluations were under Avila’s purview. On the direct investment side, she has led their last four to five investments.
“Even as much time as I have spent in communities where there are underrepresented managers and founders, the assets that we manage are significant enough that I have only met roughly five other, in the U.S., Latina women who have this kind of decision making and managed this asset size,” she said of her decision to join Occam.
“There is a lot more diversity in junior, mid-level folks in different firms,” she added. “That was really important for me to have more of a face and a voice where we see so few women and Latinx especially. The numbers are pretty dire.”
According to the latest study of diversity within venture capital, Hispanic representation was 7% of the workforce and just 4% of investment professionals. The study was done by the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte.