Contxto – This past Wednesday, I attended an ArkAngeles.co conference in Mexico City. I was impressed not only by the auditorium’s look and feel, but the energy and tenacity radiating from attendants.
The gathering featured some of the biggest names in the Mexican startup, VC and finance worlds. These included ArkAngeles.co co-founder, Luis Barrios, albo’s Angel Sahagún, 500 Startups’ René Lomelí, two startups from 500 startups’ portfolio, as well as a Q&A session with María Ariza, BIVA’s CEO.
ArkAngeles.co to the rescue
For those who aren’t aware, ArkAngeles.co is Mexico and Latin America’s primetime syndicated venture fund. It allows aspiring investors to support promising startups with smaller checks, fewer risks, and for the most part, it’s all virtual. Overall, this crowdfunding-like platform seeks to provide more funding options for startups and invest in alternative (exponential) assets for investors.
I left the event feeling recharged and motivated. Most of the talks revolved around turning far-fetched ideas into reality. A couple of years ago, the very thought of launching a challenger bank (basically a chunk of code able to compete with the most powerful capitalistic institutions out there) was comical.
I still laugh about this but not because of the concept. Rather, from the original cynicism surrounding these companies, being disproven by their successes.
“Startups are naturally a pessimistic game,” said Roberto Salcedo, founder of Bubap, one of the startups that pitched during the event. “People usually think of the reasons why something would not work. I want to invite you all to think about why this could work and how we could make it.”
A different venture approach
The attractiveness of ArkAngeles.co is that it allows new investors to participate in the market with tickets as small as US$500. Which is relatively small compared to what traditional venture funds require from LPs.
Additionally, ArkAngeles.co facilitates the entry of more parties within the ecosystem and helps founders leverage and scrap together potentially remaining capital from a round. Basically, it’s like co-investing with big funds.
In my case, I love venture capital. Not only does it allow investors to gain potentially attractive returns but because it’s basically like funding the future. Instead of stepping aside, watching how everything unfolds, having no impact whatsoever, you’re part of the transformation to the new technological revolution.
ArkAngeles.co very own tagline is “mobilizing capital to visionary entrepreneurs,” which is accurate. What it represents is a redistribution of resources. It is creating more wealth, more job opportunities, better market products, not to mention improving humanity’s quality of life.
“This is not philanthropy, this is philantro-capitalism,” said Barrios.
Gambling vs. investing
Many still believe it is a risky game, and yes, of course, it is. But that’s the very purpose of venture funding. What is foolish, though, are some practices and technicalities impeding retail investors from funding certain companies.
It’s certainly ridiculous how people can gamble their money at casinos or play around with crypto, exposing their wealth to extremely volatile ups and downs. All the while, investors must be “certified” or “sophisticated” to back up a vision, a cause or a startup they truly believed in. Honestly, nonsense.
Founders can now look for alternatives other than their rich uncle or an institutional VC fund with so many requisites. Aspiring VCs or angels can now invest smaller checks in more companies while gaining first-hand experience.
All the while, the ecosystem still needs more participants and more angel activities. In order to “close the circle,” there needs to be more liquidity alternatives.
According to María Ariza from the event, “I come from private capital. What is happening in private capital in Mexico is that investment times are being extended too much and it is because we are having a hard time finding liquidity for our investors.”
I believe both BIVA and ArkAngeles.co have the same purpose at their respective scales. Both of them are basically platforms allowing new issuers and investors to find funding alternatives to the status quo.
In other words, they want other (more strict) exchanges and traditional VCs. Not necessarily replacements, but completing the timeline and the gaps created by the market.
Fortunately, things are changing. The funding process for early-stage companies is becoming easier for both investors and founders due to platforms such as ArkAngeles.co easing processes and requirements.
I’m certainly very excited to see how all of this unfolds and what new opportunities come about. My final comment is that we might be seeing a fintech startup listing in BIVA sooner than later. “There is one that already got a great ticket, what we have explored with its investors is that it will be listed in BIVA,” added Ariza.
I have a feeling I know which startup this is, but who knows. What are your guesses?