The most successful investors are those with vision. They’re capable of seeing opportunities where others can’t, often leaning on instinct as much as cold, hard data.
The Latinx investors on this list may not all be household names, but their financial backing has helped launch or rejuvenate thousands of businesses. With many more hits than misses to their name, they’ve also amassed substantial personal wealth in the process.
• The wealthiest Latinx investor in the United States is Orlando Bravo, a Puerto Rico native who co-founded the private equity firm Thoma Bravo.
• Another investor with Puerto Rican heritage, Jose Feliciano, has accumulated more than $3 billion in personal wealth through his financing firm Clearlake Capital Group.
• Mexican-American Pablo Legorreta founded Royalty Pharma, which provides funding to pharmaceutical developers in exchange for future royalty income.
In 2008, the young dealmaker Orlando Bravo paired up with buyout guru Carl Thoma to launch the software-focused private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Since then, there’s been no looking back, with the firm proving itself a force in the buyout sector and Bravo becoming the first Puerto Rico-born billionaire. Currently, Forbes pegs his net wealth at upwards of $6 billion.
Bravo has led more than 325 software company buyouts since starting the firm, with a total transaction value in excess of $100 billion. His deals have been so successful that Forbes crowned him “Wall Street’s best dealmaker” in 2019.
The celebrated investor hasn’t forgotten his roots. When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017, Bravo led a relief effort for the island. And he made a $100 million commitment to nurturing Puerto Rican startups through his foundation’s Rising Entrepreneurs Program.
Legoretta founded Royalty Pharma, the world’s largest investor in pharmaceutical royalties, in 1996. The firm provides the funding that prescription drugmakers such as AbbVie, Pfizer, and Merck need in order to complete late-stage clinical trials and introduce products to market in exchange for future income streams. It also purchases the existing royalty rights from current pharmaceuticals.
Today, Legoretta—who earned a degree in industrial engineering in Mexico City before embarking on an investment career—is worth well over $3 billion, according to Forbes. He’s dedicated part of that fortune to raising the quality of healthcare in Latin America, launching a nonprofit that’s provided more than 450 scholarships to doctors and other medical providers so they can study abroad.
Through his investment firm Clearlake Capital Group, José Feliciano has combined a rare ability to identify target companies and provide the expertise they need to maximize their growth potential. Feliciano and his team focus on small- and mid-market companies, looking for buyout opportunities that might fly under the radar for most investment firms. To date, his firm has amassed a stout portfolio of $43 billion in assets under management, consisting of businesses in the technology, industrials, and consumer segments.
Prior to establishing Clearlake with Behdad Eghbali in 2006, the Puerto Rico-born Feliciano held investment banking roles at Goldman Sachs and served as the chief financial officer of a short-lived tech startup. Today, Feliciano—not to be confused with the musician of the same name—has a personal fortune of more than $3 billion.
Miami has seen a dramatic change since Jorge Pérez started his development company, The Related Group, in 1979. Today, the city displays a skyline that didn’t exist four decades ago—and perhaps no one has played a bigger role in that transformation than Pérez.
Born in Argentina, the visionary real estate mogul moved to the United States in 1968, ultimately making his home in Miami. When he launched The Related Group, his initial focus was on multi-unit housing for working-class families, although these days he’s more known for his upscale developments catering to the well-heeled. In recent years, “the condo king of South Florida” has also expanded geographically, building or planning projects in metros like Atlanta, Denver, and Las Vegas.
Manny Fernandez is best known for his appearances on CNBC’s “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor,” where he showcases his knack for spotting and nurturing new business ideas. Behind the camera, Fernandez boasts an impressive résumé with a litany of roles—angel investor, entrepreneur, and writer among them.
In 2013, he created SF Angels Group, a consortium of angel investors dedicated to finding promising tech startups in the Bay area. Shortly thereafter, Fernandez, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, introduced DreamFunded, an “equity crowdfunding platform providing exclusive insider access to some of the most sought-after seed- and later-stage private companies in America.”
Fernandez is currently one of the most sought-after experts in private investing, regularly speaking at tech companies and major universities around the world.
Saade founded Impact Master Holdings, a firm that invests in and helps grow businesses in the technology and economic development spaces. The Puerto Rico native is also a venture partner at Fenway Summer, a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage investments.
Saade lent his considerable expertise to the public sector, assuming the role of chief of investment and innovation for the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Obama administration. In that capacity, he helped manage programs that invested $128 billion in more than 330,000 businesses. It appears that he’ll return to government once again, having recently been nominated by President Biden to chair the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
The Bottom Line
Americans of Latin heritage have made an indelible mark on the investing world, founding highly successful financing ventures that have provided capital for countless businesses.