Office Hours: I’m the Head of Venture Growth and Partnerships at Republic and the co-founder of VCFamilia, a community of 250+ Latinx investors. I’m Cheryl Campos. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Cheryl Campos. I’m the Head of Venture Growth and Partnerships at Republic where I focus on working with VCs, accelerators, and our robust community to help investors and founders thrive.

I’m also the co-founder of VCFamilia, a community of 250+ Latinx investors started just one year ago. We are working hard to normalize the Latinx experience in VC and make capital more accessible both for funders and founders.

I kicked off my career in finance as an analyst at Barclays in the investment banking division through the Financial Institutions Group and Structured Products. I then went into private debt/equity supporting underrepresented small businesses. Taking a sharp left turn into tech was the biggest risk of my life but because it was mission-oriented and timed right, it also became the most rewarding experience.

I’m passionate about the intersection of finance, technology, and social impact, specifically, supporting communities of color.

On the side I am also a professional model, working with brands like Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Macy’s and walking NYFW for years. I’m dabbling in acting now and you can find me on HBO’s Mrs. Fletcher.

Ask me anything about breaking into VC, community building, investing in crypto, web3, being a multi-hyphenated Latina in the VC world, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @CherylCampos!Elphas – please ask @CherylCampos your questions before Friday, February 4th. @CherylCampos may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
How do I get involved with VCFamilia!? This is exactly how I want to contribute for my comunidad and invest my money. At the same time, I am just starting my investment learning journey and doing courses through Arlan Hamilton's academy.Any resources that you can share are designed for Latinx investors in training?Also, I would love to connect you with BeLatina and The Mujerista so they can feature your work.
Hey @CherylCampos, thanks a lot for doing this AMA! :) As someone who is currently into product management, building early-stage products, entering into venture capital is my 3-4 year plan from now. Considering my interest for working with founders (and early-stage companies) and passion for product building, how do you think I should be steering my journey forward to break into the VC space?Would love to know some first-hand tips from someone in the field, especially to a person like me who has so far had experiences across Product management, marketing, and branding in tech.
@CherylCampos - thank you for joining us here! It's really fun to hear about your side hustle as a model/actress in combination with your success as a business woman. Others have asked how you got into it, so my additional question would be how are you growing that side of your career and how much time do you invest?Modeling/acting has been a childhood dream of mine that I thought I would grow out of... but that desire is still there. In fact, with everything I have been through in my life (losing a child, becoming a professional photographer, founding a nonprofit, etc.) I think I actually have a lot more depth to bring to acting. Thank you for answering questions and helping others - we are grateful for you!
🤩 thanks for stepping up for others to follow! I love the republic platform and our goal is to raise 75M reg CF later this year! So nice to connect up and learn more about you! Cheers Pamela
I don't think I have any questions that others haven't asked (I'm very curious about how you got into modeling and acting on the side), but I just wanted to say that it sounds like you're doing some incredible things for the Latinx VC community. That's absolutely amazing and congratulations on your success! Well-deserved! 💙
Hi Cheryl! Thanks a lot for being here! How did you make the transition into tech? And how did you get your start in modelling and acting?
I’d like to upvote this question and also add to it- when you switched into tech, how did you use your experience to market yourself/demonstrate value to the role you are now in? What advise do you have for those with less work experience but are still looking to work in VC?Thank you!
Thank you for your question! It’s a long story but will try to keep it short. Back in college I did not think that I was going to ever go into tech. I wanted to be the first CEO of a bulge bracket bank. I did a banking internship, then went into banking full-time, then went into private debt/equity. I became the breadwinner of my family, and bought my mom has house. That was my journey, or so I thought.However I had a mentor who I found that was working in tech, and it dispelled lot of things. She was Latina, she was non-technical, and she was driven. I saw myself at her and when I realize I wanted to go to VC, I sought her advice. You don’t have to be technical, you don’t have to be completely broke (I did take a pay cut to join tho) and you can make a difference through tech. I was inspired and took the plunge. 4 years later, the equity makes me an accredited investor, and I am leadership at a Series B unicorn. Me, a first gen Latina from inner city NY. As for modeling and acting, I started moonlighting back in banking, which is kind of hard given you work 100 hour weeks. Then after running the NYC marathonand lost 40 pounds, I built my portfolio and was signed to STATE management, one of the largest agencies in New York. I was able to work for Tom Ford, Macy’s, Louboutin and more. I also started dabbling in extra roles for acting, and then was featured in a HBO show. I was able to get my SAG card and I’m currently interviewing with agents in LA. I really don’t know what I’m doing on this side 😂 I’m just bumbling along and hoping for the best.
Hi Cheryl! I am a founder that just exited after selling my company to the original investors. During my fundraising journey, I built a good network, became an investment scout and consultant. I now am planning to build a VC/Venture Builder. Any suggestions or advice! If you're in the NYC area, would love to grab a coffee and chat!
Congratulations! You will truly be a value add VC because you’re talking from experience. It really will come down to your network being the reason why you get a role in VC because generally folks want to understand who the person is before having them join full-time. I do try my best to post all open roles I see through the @familiavc account as well if that helps. I want to clarify if you are trying to build a venture firm yourself, because I feel like if you are, that would be incredible and have the same approach as a founder. What unique insight do you have that will allow you to make the best bets? How are you going to differentiate yourself from other VCs? Why will founders gravitate to you? Transact Global is a great group of women emerging fund managers you should check out!
Great to be connected Cheryl! Would love to connect with you and learn more.
What's the best resource for identifying well-funded Latinx start-ups? I'd like to leverage my skills to advance the community. Unfortunately most companies I encounter do not have sufficient funding to keep them competitive with against other offers.
Hi Cheryl! What are your thoughts around data management and web.30? Do you think there's a use case for re-selling it like we do in 2.0 - If yes what it would be? - or if you don't really see it working out just the same due to the nature of 3.0, what is another potential use case to explore with data management :)
Hi Cheryl, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with us here!As I'm a founder of a women-focused community-based startup in web3.0 (Metaverse, Immersive Experiences, Gaming) I would love to ask you: - What were your biggest learnings in community building and what pitfalls would you recommend founders to avoid?- How is fundraising in web3.0 space different or currently changing in opposed to traditional fundraising structures & processes (if at all)? - As a woman in a male dominated industry, what was your biggest struggle(s) you had to overcome and what helped you to overcome it? Best,Luise
Hi thank you for your questions! 1. I would say community building is all about just doing it, failing tests fast, and continuing to iterate on making sure that everyone has a sense of belonging. It’s also very helpful that if there’s a mission that brings everyone together, that people will just assume roles and help you organize the community without you having to be the essential person to do that. Some pitfalls? Not shutting down channels fast enough especially when they weren’t working right, giving some people the benefit of the doubt when they really weren’t adding much to the community, and feeling incredibly burned out after a while. if things aren’t going right, move and move fast.2. Crypto deals are moving at the speed of light with incredibly high valuations and a very tight knit crew of investors. More than ever, it is all about network and who believes in what you’re building because everything is pre-product pre-revenue. It’s the wild Wild West and the industry changes everyday. Stick to building out your network of potential investors and make sure they are actively investing in the space.3. I realize that I can have all the pedigree and credentials as I want, and I will still feel imposter syndrome. It’s about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and not worrying about whether people say. It is all about what you do in this industry and earning your stripes.2.
My goodness. What do you say when people tell you that you do too much? What are some some best practices to breaking into VC? And best advice for founders?
It’s funny because I always think I’m not doing enough. There’s so much to do in this industry and I just want to make sure I’m using my full potential and resources to make the most of my time. Especially when I realize that for some initiatives I am the ONLY person that will actually do anything because I’m passionate about it, so it really is up to me or nothing will change.I transition from traditional finance to Republic back in August 2018. I had done some coffee chats with VCs who all said that to transition it’s either going to business school or pivoting to a startup. I found Republic to be in a unique position that it was a start up but disrupting VC, and so I loved the mission to democratize private investments while also working hard in a fleeting start up environment. It turned out to be the right decision, but everyone has a different path into this industry.Founders pour their blood, sweat, tears, everything just for VCs to judge them. It’s inherently unfair. Know that the game is rigged and with that knowledge, move forward to be relentless around the growth of your company with or without VC, which by the way, isn’t really for 90% of businesses.
HI CHERYL! Thanks so much for joining us! Also we need to have a catchup soon!
Thank you for doing this! How did you find people who would be interested in joining your community? Where all did you meet them/get to know them?
Hi Cheryl,Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise!What advice would you give to someone looking to build a community from scratch in 2022? In the web3 space? As someone whose ambition is apparent, how do you personally designate your time day-to-day to ensure the scale and growth of both your work with Republic and VCFamilia? I am a solo-founder, and sometimes the micro-level everyday 'to-dos' take away from the sense of progress on the overall macro-level vision, and lead to a feeling of stagnancy. I would love to hear your insights on how you allocate your focus, energy, and time for building both!
Thank you for your questions!There are so many communities right now, that it is incredibly difficult to make one that cuts or a noise. For VCFamilia it was clear that what we had was community market fit. Word of mouth spread, and more members invited more members, and people really felt a sense of belonging because it was tied to an affinity group. So many people volunteered when we needed to create an initiatives committee, and I’m glad to have a board that I can rely on when times get tough. I would say that some of the best communities are ones where everyone is aligned in either the goal or purpose of the community and or have some bonds through affinity or other.For me it’s always a work in progress. I still don’t know sometimes how I handle it, I haven’t set my boundaries properly because I feel like I’m always thinking about one or the other. I write a lot of things down, believe me it could be way more organized but stickies work best for me. Do whatever works for you.I still try to get at least six hours of sleep a night, I run every other day 3 to 4 miles bc I have a very active imagination that I can let run loose during a run, and I always have dinner with my mom with no electronics.
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your transparency and insight.I run for the same reason! :)