Updated (Here is our subsequent Mercury News story about this)
The Mexican secretary for small and medium enteprise, Alejandro Gonzalez Hernandez, gave a taped presentation to a group of entrepreneurs last night at the Computer History Museum (a virtual talk; he wasn’t there physically), during which he disclosed that Mexico has seen its first technology start-up receive venture capital in the U.S. We haven’t confirmed this, but we’ll take his word that this is a first.
The company, called JackBe, which has created websites for companies like Sears and Citigroup’s Mexico operations, raised $6.5 million in a November round of funding. The company ended up raising money from East Coast venture capitalists, but the U.S.-Mexico government initiative to create TechBA, an incubator office here in Silicon Valley (San Jose), gave JackBe a West Coast base to manage…
its customer relationships, according to organizers of the TechBA event last night. We may post more about the event, where we saw lots of interesting Mexican-based companies give presentations.
Related to this is a recognition by venture capitalists that Mexico offers a significant market opportunity, and also that the Hispanic market at large — including here in the U.S. — is worth looking at. Sausalito venture firm, Sienna Ventures, is now raising a targeted $100 million for its newest fund to focus on Hispanic market, according to VentureWire (sub required).
Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the U.S., Census Bureau data shows. Their buying power is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2008, up from $653 billion in 2003, according to the Census Bureau and the Selig Center at the University of Georgia…Sienna may be alone in its altruism, however. The firm’s general partners plan to donate 5% of their personal profits to charitable organizations benefiting the Hispanic community — an unusual step for a venture firm.
Update: corrected title of Mexican secretary.