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Included VC 2021 Reflections: Anais Cisneros

Anais Cisneros joined Samos Investments and Rally Cap Ventures in June 2021. Currently, Anais invests in Europe through Samos and in Latam through Rally Cap.

It’s safe to say that Anais has thrown all she has got at Included VC; from always being on hand to chat and collaborate with other Fellows to being a driving force in the public sourcing of decks from communities for a simulation investment committee. Not to mention having the strongest Twitter game of them all (following Anais on Twitter is a MUST!)

Highlights include:

  • 🤯 The knowledge bombs from Included VC that are still ringing in Anais’ ears
  • 🐦 How Anais Twitter game has evolved during Included VC
  • ✨ How Anais is using her experience and learnings to give back to female entrepreneurs in the Latin American region

INVC: What were you doing when you were in the process of applying to Included VC?

AC: So, 2020 had come by, and honestly, it felt like a wave hit me! I tend to be a person who plans a lot, but the pandemic really took me by surprise, so I started rethinking my life. I found Included VC by accident searching for programmes that cater for investors, because I realised that when I looked into the investor landscape, everyone looked the same and I did not want that to be our reality.

INVC: What are three things (mic drop/knowledge bomb moments) that Included VC has taught you that you will remember forever?

AC: Firstly, venture capital is a people business, and it’s a people business of repeated interactions. You want to make sure that you treat people well, and that you stay in good faith with most people. This was a constant thought in several talks whether it was Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner at Seedcamp or Matt Goldstein, Managing Director at M12.

Secondly, it’s very important to have a personal brand and it can help you find your tribe. For instance, I’m very much interested in FinTech, future work, female founders, and I voice that out quite a lot across social channels. It helps me also connect with founders who are looking for investors to relate to that. This I learned from Beata Klein, Associate at Creandum, and it was definitely a pivotal moment for me in the Fellowship.

We’re still a long way to diversify in the investor landscape. Anyone can become a founder and becoming a founder doesn’t discriminate. However, in order to become a successful founder you usually need funding and that’s when diversity matters. By diversifying the investor landscape, investors can relate to founder stories, and they can be open to take a closer look at their business model. Representation matters.

INVC: Have there been any moments that you’ve collaborated with the other fellows who you likely wouldn’t have met otherwise?

AC: I’ve collaborated with a lot of the Included VC family. One of my favourite collaborations was when I worked with Suad and Constanza (two other Latin Fellows, shout out to Lama VC ;) ) on a piece about investing in LatAm to educate our fellows. This research was then transformed into two different pieces; one that Suad wrote and one that I wrote on Included VC’s publication.

Another cool moment was when I wrote a piece with Kuu and Lali on our reflections from a session with Gary Stewart, CEO of FounderTribes. It really helped me get to know them better and we were all drawn together for similar interests.

Another moment when I collaborated with the Fellows was when we did the public sourcing of decks from our communities for a simulation investment committee. A huge part of Included VC is about giving back to the community, and we wanted to make sure that the people who are in our communities could also have a benefit out of that. We publicly sourced decks, and are giving feedback to each of the participants, which is a lot of work, but we’re happy to do it! I wanna try and be congruent with my actions.

INVC: Two memorable AMA speakers

AC: Sophia Bendz’s session was so insightful! She gave us amazing knowledge on how to stay true to yourself while being impactful. Also, Sophia is great at crafting a personal brand, which was one of the bigger learnings for me since before Included VC, I was not as thoughtful about it. It is definitely a tricky balance because you want to remain truthful to who you are and transmit that authenticity- Sophia has definitely nailed it! It was great for me to learn from her, and also just to give the opportunity to amplify her message through my write up of the session.

Another fantastic AMA session was from Laura González-Estéfani. I was super excited because she’s also very multifaceted and had some great advice on how to support founders as well as thrive in a global career. I really liked the AMA sessions, because they complimented a lot of the learnings that we had with very diverse points of views. A lot of the AMA guests that we picked were people that we looked up to for a specific skill set, so I always learned quite a lot.

INVC: What pieces of wisdom and guidance have you received from the Partners in your 1–2–1 mentoring sessions?

AC: I had a great session with the wonderful Charlotte Salasky, Investment Relations Director at Notion Capital. Charlotte has really nailed how to create long lasting relationships. Being in a people business is hard and it’s not something that you can parameterize, so she gave me some tips on how to connect with people and even provided some recommendations on readings and courses. I hope I can make her proud in a couple of years.

Another fantastic mentor I had is Adizah Tejani, Partnerships and Product Innovation at HSBC, as she is a fellow woman in fintech. In our session she shared her personal story and the reasoning behind her multifaceted career (started in edtech and went into fintech). She was super kind and even introduced me to some people. I hope we will continue to stay in touch through the years!

I also really enjoyed the group mentoring sessions, because we, especially after becoming a VC, could come in and ask some questions that we wouldn’t necessarily know the answer to. While I am still at the very beginning of my VC career, having access to individuals who have walked the path and can share their experience with us fellows is a priceless opportunity. It has definitely helped me get multiple insights and have multiple points of reference outside my own for when I have to face a decision.

INVC: Are there any ways that you will continue to contribute to diversifying?

AC: I never saw myself as diverse, I just saw myself as me. It’s a really strange moment when you realise that you’re the only one for everything. Then they’re like, ‘you’re diverse’. And I’m thinking, ‘wait, what? me?’ Diversity is a hard thing to tackle. I think many are diverse in their own way, and it’s just about allowing for different thoughts, and making sure that everyone has a chance to express their opinion and point of view.

I am creating a personal brand towards that. I’m quite active on Twitter (active for the last four months) and I am trying to make sure that I reshare every opportunity that I see with my community. I’ve also started a community for kick-ass female entrepreneurs for the Latin American region, called Amela. Going through Included VC made me even more aware of how unevenly opportunities are given to people. Earlier this year I saw an article that said that $0 has gone to only female founded teams in Latin American in 2020. I was just really enraged, and I think before I used to think someone was going to do something about it. But Included VC was a platform that really allowed me to push myself to really be the change. I am starting in the geographies I usually cover: Europe and Latam.

INVC: Tell us about your Twitter game

AC: I used to think Twitter was the place where Trump goes to shout, so I never really used it. During Included VC, I realised that it can be a very powerful way to amplify your message and reach many people. It has helped me get access to a lot of those resources and enables me to share them with others in an effective way. Also, it has helped me find new communities to be part of and connect with people that have similar interests. I joke around that since the pandemic I partially live on the internet and I have made many friends there, some of whom I have even met in person.

INVC: How has Included VC exceeded your expectations?

AC: I knew that joining Included VC was a once in a lifetime chance. Nikita and the Included team have really crafted a complete Fellowship. I have access to all of these amazing people, and for someone who’s a curious person, this is massive. At first I was a little shy of starting projects because I didn’t want to compromise myself on things that I wouldn’t necessarily finish. But, as I got to meet more people from the fellowship, I was able to see who I could rely on, and then try and build something that’s bigger than just myself.

Nikita pointed out the power of compounding. I never thought about it that way, but I think it does make a lot of sense as it’s about making sure that you continue to build from a certain ground and build on that, exponentially. Included VC has also made me aware of some of the privileges I’ve had so far and it has helped me channel how to distribute the knowledge that I have into the wider web.

INVC: How has Included VC contributed to your development?

AC: Included VC has definitely made me feel more empowered. I’ve never really lacked too much confidence. Everyone gets imposter syndrome, but I try to handle that. Included VC has allowed me to connect with remarkable people who have worked hard for everything they have achieved. For instance, I have a really great relationship with Carmen and Giulia, women I admire and do so many great things with their time. In my case, I had not seen as many women with so much fight and so much eagerness to do things. Being part of a community that wants to make things happen has given me a burst of action driven energy.

INVC: Three words to describe Included VC.

AC: Community, Excellency, Empowerment

Stay connected

👉 Follow Anais on Twitter and LinkedIn

👉 Follow Rally Cap Ventures on Twitter and LinkedIn

👉 Follow Samos Investments on Twitter and LinkedIn

👉 Follow Included VC on Twitter and LinkedIn



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