Anna Raptis, founder and CEO at Mexico-based venture capital firm Amplifica Capital, was always someone who’s been “interested in facilitating economic development.”
Born in Australia, she followed that lead, holding positions with the United Nations and the World Bank, spending two decades working in the energy sector. That’s what ultimately brought her to Mexico: a focus on providing access to clean, safe and reliable energy as a way to help the country develop and improve people’s lives.
Her background in investing in building and developing investment opportunities, along with a notion to change the narrative around the lack of female tech entrepreneurs in Mexico, was what pushed her into venture capital.
She started out investing as an angel and in a couple of funds to learn more, with a focus on companies looking to solve important problems in Latin America.
“There are so many challenges, which means there are so many opportunities,” Raptis told TechCrunch. “Through investing in tech in Latin America, we can really make a difference in people’s lives.”
Raptis started Amplifica in 2020, the name inspired by the thesis of “celebrating, magnifying and amplifying the success of female founders in the region.”
In fact, her focus is on what she called “gender lens investing,” a concept driven by the notion that you can get better returns through investing in diversity. Amplifica invests mainly in teams where there are female founders or co-founders or goods and services focused on women. If a founder is not a woman, she does look deeper at the leadership team and to see what policies and practices they have in place supporting women.
“I was very inspired by a lot of women in the U.S. building similar funds because I haven’t seen anything like this,” she added. “These women showed me what was possible, and we know that when women see others have success it motivates them to think they can have a try.”
Raptis is a solo general partner working with a staff of five and began raising capital for her first fund, which recently closed with $11 million in capital commitments, exceeding its $10 million target. This fund has nearly 100 investors, including Mexico Ventures (a joint venture between Fondo de Fondos and Sun Mountain Capital); Grupo Herdez; Maria Ariza, CEO of BIVA; Melanie Devlyn, CEO of Devlyn Holdings; Daniel Undurraga and Oskar Hjertonsson, founders of Cornershop; and Loreanne Garcia co-founder of Kavak.
She explained that there are a lot of new funds in Mexico, but believes Amplifica’s success in raising money was because its focus on female founders is unique.
However, that aspect was also what made it a challenge, she recalls.
“People were skeptical because this is something that people had not seen in Mexico before,” Raptis said. There were a lot of questions around that, like, ‘Is Mexico really ready for a fund like this?’ and what would it mean to be investing in women in tech.”
Amplifica has invested in 10 companies so far, including inter-city mobility services startup Kolors, Verqor, focused on agricultural financing for inputs, and Mujer Financiera, an Argentine company providing tools for financial inclusion for women. In addition, Raptis wants to invest in 10 to 15 more companies in the next two years.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the VC ecosystem in Latin America, and we want to be the fund that the best female entrepreneurs in tech, in Latin America, reach out to first,” she added.