Samara Mejia Hernandez is a principal at MATH Venture Partners in Chicago, where she supports entrepreneurs from mentoring to investing.
As one of the only Latina venture capitalists in Chicago, she stood up to improve her industry by making it more diverse and inclusive. In December 2016, she co-wrote a LinkedIn blog post that went viral called “Why your boss is still a white guy.” It challenged the lack of diversity among startup companies and their investors and served as a call to action. The piece drew a lot of backlash but also a parade of praise from minority entrepreneurs.
“My dream and my goal is to be able to provide capital to entrepreneurs and specifically entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups,” Hernandez told Blue Sky in April 2017. She was promoted to principal in October 2017 from senior associate; since then, she’s created a mentorship circle and support group for people to lead them to resources, mentorship and potential investors, she said.
She also has extended her mission to tackle under-represented groups in her board activities. She is on the boards of Communities in Schools of Chicago, a dropout prevention nonprofit; and VentureUp, a network of emerging venture capitalists. She is a board observer of Austin, Texas-based Liveoak Technologies, an online platform for financial services companies to onboard and verify customers. Hernandez also is on the leadership council for Women Tech Founders, and an active mentor at 1871 and with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier in her career, she spent nearly eight years at Goldman Sachs, with a consulting stint with NuMat Technologies in between. She holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.