Rachel ten Brink, general partner and cofounder of early stage venture capital fund Red Bike Capital aims at investing in SAAS, health and wellness, and fintech innovations that are sure to disrupt in whatever industry they exist. The Costa Rican-native is just one of ninety Latinas who has ever raised over $1 million in venture capital. She is also a member of countless organizations looking to further Latino influence across multiple spaces. The founder is copresident of the Columbia Business School Hispanic Alumni Association, a board member of Latinas in Tech and Code Inspire, AboveBoard, and the Latino Corporate Director Association.
ten Brink shares how she sees her heritage as her superpower, three ways that she is involved with the community, and what conexión means to her.
What do you do today?
I am general partner and cofounder of Red Bike Capital, an early stage venture capital fund based in New York that invests in verticals that are primed for disruption and growth: SAAS, health and wellness, and fintech/financial inclusion.
What was your biggest professional accomplishment over the past year?
This year we launched Red Bike Capital, welcoming supportive limited partners (LPs) and backing great founders.
How has your identity and your connection to your culture evolved as your career has progressed?
When I think about my Latino heritage, I think about it as my superpower. The values of the community shaped me as a person and as a leader: residency, fierce determination, strong work ethic, value of human connections, value of education, and love of family.
What community involvement is important for you outside of your role? How have you seen your own community change during your career?
I actively champion diversity in tech because it’s good for the ecosystem and great for returns. Here are three ways I accomplish that:
1. Develop the next generation
- Copresident, Columbia Business School Hispanic Alumni Association
- Board Member, Latinas in Tech (largest community of Latinas in tech)
- Board Member, CodeInspire (teaching diverse kids from kindergarten to fifth grade how to code)
2. Expand number of diverse senior leaders and board members
- Board Member, AboveBoard (largest platform for diverse executive talent)
- Latino Corporate Director Association
3. Create a more diverse tech ecosystem
- Improve access: mentor at Y Combinator, Techstars, Entrepreneurs Roundtable, 500 Start-ups, Columbia Business School, and NYU
- Increase visibility for women/diversity in tech: Keynote AWS Female Founders Forum, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Women in Tech
- Active member in diverse and women’s Communities: Top Latinx in Tech, LatinxVC, VCFamilia, Transact Women in VC
- Featured by TechCrunch, the New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Yahoo News, El Diario, etc.
The theme of this year’s Leadership Summit is Conexión: a reminder of the cultural connection that bonds Latinos and a call to embrace the exponential power we wield when we move as one. What does conexión mean to you and how has it helped you in your life and career?
As a first-generation immigrant, I have always been very connected to my Latin heritage. I was born in Costa Rica, my parents are Cuban and my husband is Venezuelan, and my friends are Mexican, Puerto Rican, Colombian—from everywhere. I feel very connected to the community as a whole and our shared values. We are so much stronger together.
This is the first generation of Latinos who have the potential to see people that look like them in virtually every kind of role and leadership position. Many of us, and those who came before us, had to make our own way and find mentors who may not have shared our experiences. What does mentorship mean to you and how are you passing your own experiences forward?
I am one of just ninety Latinas that have ever raised over $1 million in venture capital, and one of 0.1 percent of general partners that is a Latina. Latinos are a huge economic wave in the future of this country, and every day I think of how I can open more doors for those coming behind me—I want to be the example, not the exception.