Lolita Taub, a prominent member of the local venture capital community and Baltimore-based Catalyte’s former chief of staff, no longer lives in Baltimore. Moreover, as she recently confirmed to Technical.ly, she isn’t planning to live here again anytime soon.
The funder left her position at Catalyte, which uses AI and data science to support tech workforce development, in January to gear up for the start of her VC fund, Ganas Ventures. But she has been physically gone from Baltimore since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020 and pushed many companies, including Catalyte, into remote work. She now lives in Santiago, Chile, where she continues Ganas Ventures’ mission of supporting companies in both the US and Latin America.
Taub is no stranger to starting a fund: She previously launched The Community Fund, a $5 million venture offering early-stage support to community-focused companies, with investor Jesse Middleton of Flybridge. She previously worked as a limited partner at Menlo Park, California-based Portfolia’s enterprise fund, as well as a VC at Backstage Capital (the venture fund started by Arlan Hamilton to invest in women, people of color and LGBT founders) and K Fund.
She is an undeniably popular personality in the VC community, with over 60,000 Twitter followers. That popularity has also led to criticism, including a recent discussion with Taub at the center about whether it’s OK for a VC fund manager to charge for founder consulting. Regardless, Taub made waves in the VC world and, for a time, Baltimore could say that those tidal shifts originated from here.
Where she lays down roots next is anyone’s guess. For now, though, she says her goodbye to Baltimore in this Exit Interview.
Technical.ly: Can you break down why you left Catalyte?
Lolita Taub: The same reason I joined: venture capitalism and a mission to create wealth in community. Back in 2019, I was first introduced to Catalyte by a VC that invested in the company, alongside Steve Case at Rise of the Rest. Catalyte was particularly interesting to me because of its focus to address the $1 trillion dollar tech talent market, and enabling social mobility in the lives of talented people. I loved the mission so much that I moved from San Diego, California to Baltimore, Maryland.
Simultaneously, I kept my foot in the venture capital world and was an operator-investor. I invested evenings and weekends and worked at Catalyte during the day. It crossed my mind that I could keep the two-job thing going for a while, but it was wearing on my mental and physical health. It prompted some soul searching and I had to be honest with myself: I had the stuff (e.g., the brand, deal flow, the track record, a winning thesis) to be a solo fund manager, and being a solo GP was what I really wanted to be doing.
So, I left Catalyte to launch my own solo fund.
Why did you decide to move out of Baltimore vs. staying in the city after leaving Catalyte?
Amid the pandemic, the Catalyte team no longer worked at our physical offices at the Federal Reserve. We worked 100% remotely. And, instead of working remotely from Baltimore, my husband and I decided to work remotely from San Diego, where we could be with family.
And yet, I miss Baltimore’s crab cakes, the Ravens fam, the startup ecosystem (I even made this Baltimore Startup Guide), Dangerously Delicious Pies (try the steak mushroom onion and gruyere pie!) and the friends we made. I get nostalgic thinking about it.
What have you been up to since leaving Baltimore? Where have you lived since?
Since Baltimore, I moved on from The Community Fund and Catalyte and launched Ganas Ventures, a venture capital fund investing in pre-seed and seed Web2 and Web3, community-driven startups in the US and Latin America.
Geographically, we moved to San Diego for a bit before setting out to live in Latin America for a year to get in touch with my roots, eat good food and hunt for unicorns. We’re currently in Santiago, Chile, and heading out to Buenos Aires, Argentina soon.
Tell me more about the Ganas Ventures fund.
At Ganas, we invest in community-driven founders through our own community of operator-investor LPs. We’re on a mission to produce outsized returns. And, while we’re at it, we’re changing the narrative of who VCs are, who we invest in and how companies become unicorns by just being us.
And I opened up a public application to invest in Ganas for members of our community! We did this because we want the Ganas LP family to represent our diverse community! If you’re interested in learning more, visit us at ganas.vc.
Do you ever see yourself coming back to Baltimore?
It’s completely possible. It would be nice to visit our old stomping grounds, walk around Federal Hill Park and find a spot on the grass and enjoy the water view.
What are you looking for in the city and community where you want to put down roots?
I don’t know if I will ever “put down roots” and stay in one place forever. What I do know is that I will always look out for our global community of underestimated founders, funders and friends, in Baltimore and beyond.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.-30-