As the founding partner of Insikt Ventures, James Gutierrez built a $5-million venture capital fund with a concentration on seed investments and Series A funding for ventures in the financial technology (fintech) and consumer products sectors. James Gutierrez is currently building upon decades of experience in the lending space with a focus on inclusivity.
In 2005, James Gutierrez expanded into the community development finance market as the co-founder of Progreso Financiero (now doing business as Oportun). Reflecting his passion for extending financial wellness opportunities to low-income populations and marginalized subcultures, Oportun provides unsecured loans to clients who have limited credit histories. Today, Gutierrez is involved with two companies that offer these types of targeted lending services: Oportun and Aura Financial.
Both in the fintech and inclusive banking sectors, James Gutierrez has positioned himself on the cutting edge of the fight for wealth equality. His work has included working with organizations such as the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council and SEO-SF’s Advisory Board to further industry and government initiatives that offer financial wellness opportunities to groups that have been traditionally marginalized within the United States. He also supports grassroots efforts to combat racial discrimination and promote green practices.
Despite a current economic climate that dramatically favors the rich over the poor, James Gutierrez sees a number of reasons to remain hopeful in 2021. He cites the passage of bill AB-979 (which ensures minority presence on the boards of California companies) and the rise of the ESG (Environmental Sustainability Growth) investment movement as progenitors of positive change.
On a personal level, James Gutierrez will continue to expand his efforts to support opportunities and inclusivity for underserved and disenfranchised communities. He spoke about these efforts in a recent interview with the fintech news leader Mass News.
“I yearn to continue to be part of an organization that makes a big impact in leveling the playing field, ” said James Gutierrez. “I spent the last 15 years working on FinTech that serves primarily the Latino community. There, I focused on the problems of underbanked people. There’s been a change that we didn’t fully maximize through the last two companies (Oportun and Aura). Thus, I want to create a more comprehensive experience for similar individuals.”
To further these ends, James Gutierrez is endeavoring to develop a new brand of financial company that will serve as a “one-stop shop” for clients from marginalized populations to access a broad spectrum of services as well as “trusted insight, tracking tools, and everything else an individual may need for long-term financial wealth creation and growth.” Although it will connect with people “100% digitally” and take full advantage of the supreme convenience and easy access of online operations, this company will concentrate on positive relationship-building and fostering “a connection and feeling of trust.”