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👊🏽 ¡Échale ganas! The Story Behind Launching Ganas Ventures
0xCEb5
March 8th, 2022

My parents left their farms and families in Mexico in the ‘80s in pursuit of giving their kids a shot at the American dream. Life was always tough, but they always said: ¡échale ganas! (give it all you've got). Now ganas is what I expect from founders I back & from me.

Before I got to where I am today, my mom worked as a sweatshop worker, a babysitter, and a maid (she still cleans houses) and my dad was a fruit picker, a factory worker, and in his final days a truck driver.

My dad passed from a terminal illness that wasn’t caught due to our lack of health insurance. I was 23 when that happened. I remember vividly running down the stairs and hearing my dad sigh his last breath because from that point on my life changed forever. I had to grow up fast and became my mom’s co-pilot parenting my younger brother and sister.

¡Échale ganas!

And although it felt like everything was lost, I always held on to my dad’s go-to mantra “¡échale ganas!’ I kept saying it to myself, when we had to go through bankruptcy, lost the car, the house, went through a cancer scare, and fell into a deep depression. I had to pick my chin up because my family needed me and there was no luxury of failing.

The importance of Community

After my dad passed, I leaned on community more than ever. I had learned to lean on the community since my days in South Central, where I was born and raised. You see, it was the community that provided food on days when we needed it and physical security when bad things were happening in the hood.

The F SHOW Women, 2015
The F SHOW Women, 2015

Fast-forward: through the Latino IBM community, I was able to get my first job in consulting and then sales at IBM. The Native American community inspired me to interview 100 early-stag women founders from 18 countries for The F SHOW. That led to a community of women who opened my eyes to the big gap in capital going into and the opportunity in investing in women founders. From then on, I wanted to write checks for underestimated founders. I went to work in startups and thanks to the support of the women founder community, I went to get my MBA at IE Business School and break into venture capital. The IE community, helped me find my first VC gig at K Fund, an early-stage VC fund in Madrid, Spain.

Riding the VC mechanical bull

Backstage Capital team: Brittany Davis, Christie Pitts, Arlan Hamilton at InspireFest, 2018
Backstage Capital team: Brittany Davis, Christie Pitts, Arlan Hamilton at InspireFest, 2018

Riding a mechanical bull is all about getting on and staying on and that’s the analogy that best illustrates my VC journey. I came back to the US, took side-hustles until I went to work for Arlan Hamilton at Backstage Capital. The fund was going through an evolution and I ended up leaving and taking on an operator role at a Series A startup. And for 3 years, I both worked a full-time job and tried to stay on the VC mechanical bull, by serving the startup-VC ecosystem through organizations like All Raise, Indie.vc (I became a Scout), NextGen (I became a Venture Partner), etc.

Three things happened next:

  1. As I started investing capital and time into our community of underestimated founders, funders, and friends, my brand evolved to that of a go-to investor for founders that lay outside of reach (or zone of interest) of traditional Silicon Valley funds.
  2. At the same time, the death of George Floyd happened, and the VC industry said it wanted to invest more in Black, Latinx, and other underestimated founders. This meant that funds were looking for investors with deal flow like mine.
  3. Then COVID happened, I spent more time on Twitter and on activities serving our community (e.g., building matching tools and newsletters). That led to the growth of my popularity and community of Twitter followers.

And I believe it was these 3 things that together led to two big opportunities: an invitation to join Lightspeed as a Scout and launch my first fund as a GP at The Community Fund, an early-stage fund investing in community-driven companies.

Co-launching my first fund

Launching The Community Fund I (TCF I) was incredibly cathartic.

I had doubts about whether I could ever launch, manage, and invest via my own fund successfully. But after launching TCF I and watching it be successful, my doubts as a GP disappeared. That said, I did learn a lot about being a GP at a fund and a community-driven fund. I had to thoughtfully work with my partner on the flow: thesis development, developing content for thesis-aligned founders, deal sourcing, selecting, winning and stewardship, operations, and more. And it was during this time period that my investment count went up to 80+.

At TCF I, we had a sole LP, Flybridge, and that meant they were investing out of their fund and there were no fees to make my role at TCF I a full-time paid GP role. Carry is awesome but not when you don’t come from money and have to work a full-time job on top of managing a fund - which is what I was doing. Long-term this setup wasn’t going to be something I could sustain. So, I talked to my Co-GP and decided to transition out of TCF and go off on my own.

I walked away from TCF in October, researched starting my own fund in November and December, and in the last week of December decided to quit my full-time job and go all-in on my fund. The first Monday of the year, I put in my 2-week notice and right after that I formed my traditional 506c fund: Ganas Ventures, an early-stage fund investing in Web 2 and Web 3 community-driven in the US and Latin America.

Launching 👊🏽 Ganas Ventures

Ganas Ventures is all about putting in all I’ve got and finally having the opportunity to - not just survive - but to thrive! I know that if I give it my all (“le echo ganas”) and invest in community-driven founders that give it their all (“le echan ganas”), Ganas Ventures will invest in the future unicorns & decacorns and create outsized returns for my investors.

To me being a GP at a VC fund doesn’t just add to the opportunity to make a lot of money for my investors, though. To me being a VC represents a unique high-risk, high-reward opportunity where I can work with the community to enable the creation of generational wealth for my family, my community and for me.

Our …

  • vision is to create generational wealth in community
  • mission is to invest in the best community-driven companies
  • values center around caring, transparency, and succeeding together con ganas and our value proposition is the power of our community

I can’t wait to support the creation of a new generation of wealthy people who are representative of our population, care about others, and provide opportunities for our community of underestimated founders, funders, and friends to rise to their full potential.

Join me at Ganas Ventures and let’s generational wealth in community.

Ganas Ventures Featured Committed LPs
Ganas Ventures Featured Committed LPs

Alone we can do a little and together we can do a lot. I invite you to join our LP family and me at Ganas Ventures.

  1. Apply to become an investor in Ganas. Learn more and apply to become an investor in me & Ganas Ventures. If you align with our thesis in community, vision, mission, and values, I invite you to learn more and apply to become a member of the Ganas LP family here.

    Note: If you’re in, I’ll get back to you ASAP. I’ll do my best to get back to everyone but in case I’m unable to, I really appreciate your trust and support!

  2. Apply to join the Ganas team. Learn more and apply for our open roles here.

  3. Join our upcoming events. RSVP for our upcoming Twitter Spaces series to learn more about venture capital & Ganas here.

    1. March 14, 2022 - How to break in and stay in VC
    2. March 21, 2022 - How to launch & run a VC fund
    3. March 28, 2022 - Why and how to invest in VC funds

Additional Resources

TechCrunch | Community-first operator Lolita Taub is launching her own venture capital firm

For first time LPs

For aspiring emerging fund managers

  • Thread | What it means to be an emerging fund manager
  • Wiki | Venture Education
  • Twitter Series | Asking for a Stealth Mode GP
  • List | Women emerging fund managers to follow
  • List | Resources for women emerging fund managers
  • LP Intros | GP-LP Matching Tool
  • Startup Deal Flow | Startup-Investor Matching Tool

For aspiring VCs

  • Book | Venture Deals Brad Feld
  • Post | Bringing Diversity into Venture Capital
  • Thread | Breaking into VC

Author

Lolita Taub is a GP at Ganas Ventures where she invests in pre-seed and seed community-driven companies in the US and Latin America. With 15 years working within the Silicon Valley ecosystem, she has accomplished $70M+ in sales and made 90+ investments as an angel investor, Scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and VC at Backstage Capital and The Community Fund. Lolita is also a Co-Founder of proprietary matching tools Startup-Investor Matching Tool, the GP-LP Matching Tool, and the LaaS community which brings along a community of over 4K+ founders, funders, and ecosystem friends. Forbes and Inc Magazine have featured her as a woman promoting investment in underestimated founders and funders. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. Lolita is currently in LATAM, hunting for unicorns, and most importantly, she is a dog mom to the cutest Dachshund mix, Choco. Follow Lolita on Twitter @lolitataub.

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