Government throws in its weight
With positive momentum on side, government bodies are hoping to tap the new investor pools and develop funds that can drive the small and medium-sized enterprise market forward. Nafinsa, one of Mexico’s development banks, raised a venture capital fund five years ago.
Adriana Tortajada, fund manager of Nafinsa’s fund, tells of her surprise when they first launched: "We had the fund set up and all the money there. We sent out notices telling people to apply and sat back waiting for the flood of applications. Not a single person applied." There just wasn’t an entrepreneurial culture in Mexico. Now, though, Tortajada is working with her team to change this. New university programmes are being launched to teach potential entrepreneurs how to tackle business proposals and grow businesses successfully and efficiently. Angel Venture Investors has received more than 300 emails from entrepreneurs so it seems a corner has been turned. Today Tortajada’s fund has invested in 35 companies focused on scientific innovations and technical progression. Four have been written off. The rest are growing nicely.
The second initiative supported by the government is Mexico’s first fund of funds. The Fundo de Fundos, which is supported by four Mexican development banks, recruited Felipe Vila in early 2009 from HSBC: "I was head of investment banking at HSBC for Mexico.