Although many venture capitalists operate across the United States, deploying billions of dollars combined, the industry has traditionally been dominated by a white male demographic. For those outside of this group, breaking into the industry can seem intimidating. But Beto Pallares found a way in—all thanks to his dedication and passion for helping others and to a mentor who took a chance on him.
Pallares is the founder of Audaz Capital, an early-stage tech venture fund based in El Paso, Texas, which focuses on backing projects that advance upward mobility in the Southwest. It prioritizes investment in efforts to provide more clean water, greater food security, improved energy reliability, better financial tools and a higher quality of life for communities in need.
For more than 16 years, Pallares has also served as the president and CEO of Joseph Advisory Services, which has deployed more than $128 million over at least 7,000 deals in its lifetime, with backing for 41 minority investors. He considers this a top priority and a privilege.
“Look at who is disproportionately involved in being an asset allocator or a venture capitalist in the U.S.—it’s typically white men. You have a small percentage of women, an even smaller percentage who are Hispanic,” Pallares says. “Chances are that if the industry follows a particular pattern, you are only going to implement those patterns you’ve been exposed to.”
Pallares adds, “What can make a real difference is bringing in someone with a different lens, different characteristics, asset base, then they’re going to apply pattern recognition as well. And by doing that, then you will enrich the overall possibility of financial and societal gains.”
It’s an opportune time to build support for minority voices in venture capital. A recent news report cited data showing Hispanic startup entrepreneurs receive just 2% of venture capital investment funds, and for Pallares, it’s a personal quest to boost that number multiple times over.
Growing up as a Mexican immigrant in El Paso, Pallares comes from a family of eight children. He dreamed of being a drummer or poet before ultimately studying economics in college. That education opened up the world to him—literally and figuratively, as he got to visit more than 45 countries while pursuing a host of careers across various industries. Eventually, he began working on Wall Street (and he’s been to 20 more countries since).
It was during his time in New York that the 9/11 attacks happened, and while Pallares was out of town when disaster struck, the tragedy inspired him to join the military. Ultimately, he was discharged due to his eyesight and returned to El Paso. Here, he would eventually start his career in venture capital, though not without starting and operating a restaurant. (Because why not?)
Whether serving his country or serving his clients, Pallares has always prioritized helping others. In particular, he champions Hispanic people and businesses, supporting them on the road to success.
“I view my responsibility as someone who has a fair amount of access to capital…to figure out how we best steward these assets for long-term future growth,” Pallares says. “My job is to find that entrepreneur, the right person to back that’s going to break the barriers and get this done. The responsibility is always to invest behind people and help communities.”
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