Alpha’a Stories: Navigating the VC waters as a Latin American Woman

Manuela Seve
Feb 26, 2019 · 3 min read
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I thought that my background in finance would give me a huge advantage when it came to fundraising, after all I’d been part of the boys club before. I’d worked with men, or should I say for men. It’s funny how the #metoo movement ended up touching us women, even though we never saw it coming.

My life in Brasil was shielded, I had loving parents who believed in me, but social convention is a tricky thing, we get stuck in this web of patterns which have been around long before we were around and we hardly notice how some choices are simply not attainable if you were born a woman.

I’ve never considered myself a feminist, I’m not extremely political, if I had to choose a side it would be the classic right, and by classic I mean Adam Smith, free market relative to classic left Keynes, and intervention, but I won’t bore you with classic economical theory specially because it’s long been forgotten. We automatically assimilate politics to religion and gun control, rather than the former.

I left finance to make a difference to provide a solution which did not exist, and stumbled upon becoming an activist for change using a language, which is at its essence universal, the arts. During this process I’ve met so many amazing women and discovered their struggles and battles and issues which I never even noticed I’d gone through my entire life.

But for the purpose of maximum effect I’ll stick to my story and to what I’ve discovered in this journey, the fundraising journey. Female founded companies have a much harder time, not to play the victim but I’m sure our round would be closed if we were a male founded team, women just have to show more work, more traction and more strength simply because: we cry?

I once lost a job which I was more than qualified for as an analyst in a Private equity firm, I later learned that I had not been hired because: “Women cry”. That stuck with me, even though I pushed it to a dark corner of my mind, it stayed there in the back, lurking. My impulse was to find ways to not cry, after all its a sign of weakness right? And its what we all do, we make our selves tougher hardened and go out to face the world. But that’s not what makes us amazing, we drive change because we find sutil ways to infiltrate the system, to break patterns using charm instead of strength, to think outside the box, after all the box wasn’t built for us.

After a lot of reflection, I find myself facing this as every other challenge an opportunity to hack the system from within and to align ourselves with other powerful beings who understand that tears can actually represent so much more, I’m sure there will be many tears at the many finish lines we’re yet to conquer.

In terms of fundraising our company alpha’a had an incredible year in 2018, we grew revenues over 30% a month, and joined an accelerator program Nex3 that really elevated us to another level, but after a few cold calls we found a fund who took the pledge on us and shared our mentality that minorities simply have a higher multiplier in terms of capital, since we’re just used to having to do a lot more with a lot less, so kudos New Age Capital for supporting women and Latinas.

Please feel free to reach out if you’re feeling frustrated in the words of Lady Gaga it’s not about winning or loosing but in accepting rejection and not giving up on your dreams.


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