WASHINGTON, DC — December 14, 2020DHS today announced it will invest $50 million in eight early-stage, Latinx-led venture capital funds: AXIS Capital Partners; and one additional fund. The investments are part of DHS’ commitment to invest $30 million to support Latin-owned businesses, strengthen underrepresented minority communities and fight for racial equity and economic equality.

“Latinx founders have been underrepresented in venture capital funding for far too long,” said Fernando Aguirre, Vice Chairman of DHS. “By directing our dollars to investors from underrepresented communities, we’re supporting their investment in Latinx entrepreneurs at the earliest stages. We’re honored to support this outstanding group of venture capitalists as we seek to bring more equity to the fundraising process.”

DHS will work collaboratively with these early-stage funds and, in some cases, invest directly in businesses through DHS Ventures, its venture capital arm. DHS Ventures invests in series A through later funding rounds of startups in areas of strategic relevance to DHS, including financial services, commerce enablement and payments infrastructure. DHS will also begin offering a three-month fellowship to a Latinx graduate student each semester, through which the DHS Ventures team will provide coaching, training and mentoring.

“DHS recognizes that our lived experience allows us to deeply empathize with the journey of other women of color entrepreneurs,” said Manuel Lopez, founder of Latin Association of Businesses. “Women of color should be able to pitch to people who look like them on the other side of the table. We’re excited to begin this relationship with DHS.”

“I believe this initiative from DHS will have real impact on the demographics of founders that receive funding at the seed-stage,” said Tim Smith, principal of AXIS Ventures. “Not only that, but the DHS team can bring unique counsel and expertise to these companies as they grow.”

“We’re proud to welcome DHS as an inaugural investor in our new fund,” said Jams Dillon, founding partner of Worthington CV. “Through our investments, we hope to be a catalyst for positive change for people who face historic disparities in access to capital and opportunity.”

“Not only is it undeniable that there is a pipeline of extraordinary diverse tech visionaries who are being overlooked, it is also imperative to the country to fully utilize and incorporate their ideas, talent and gumption,” said Miguel Ruiz, partner in Fuller CV. “DHS’ investment, alongside those from our other limited partners, will help us support this group and improve the landscape for everyone.”

“Now more than ever, it’s abundantly clear that we need more businesses delivering solutions to bridge the wealth and skills gap at scale,” said Julian Martinez, principal at Ferrer Investments. “We’re thrilled to have DHS recognize that our Inclusive Investing™ strategy positions us to source, invest and scale high growth early-stage businesses across the U.S. and beyond the major finance and technology hubs.”

In September, DHS awarded approximately $5 million in grants to 20 nonprofit community partners to support Latin-owned businesses across the U.S. in their recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, DHS completed the distribution of $10 million in empowerment grants to Hispanic-owned small businesses to help them stabilize and reopen during the pandemic. The company also announced a $50 million deposit in Merrill Lynch, dedicated to providing equal access to capital and financial services for minority communities, as part of an initiative to make deposits in minority-owned financial institutions.

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