DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Maria Empanada, a leading Argentinian craft casual restaurant, today announced that it obtained up to $3.5 million in Series A funding from the Colorado Impact Fund (CIF). Maria Empanada offers artisanal, hand-crafted and fresh-baked empanadas and other traditional Argentinian dishes in three locations across the Denver metro area.
Maria Empanada was founded by Lorena Cantarovici, who came to Denver from Argentina with only $300 in her pocket and the determination to bake her way to the top of the American dream. She started selling empanadas from her garage, mostly to friends and family. Four years and three locations later, her efforts have paid off: Lorena won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2017 Colorado Small Business Person of the Year Award; Zagat rated Maria Empanada as “one of the 12 hottest new bakeries in America;” the chain won a Top 50 Colorado Companies to Watch Award; and Maria Empanada has been featured on the Food Network and in a multitude of local, national and international publications.
“Lorena Cantarovici is emblematic of the type of entrepreneur CIF supports,” said Grace Oliva of the Colorado Impact Fund. “We have been incredibly impressed by Lorena’s ability to develop an on-trend, differentiated and highly scalable craft casual concept. CIF is excited to partner with a talented and dynamic female entrepreneur. Supporting female and minority-led businesses that have the potential for high growth and profitability is central to CIF’s mission.”
Cantarovici noted that “Maria Empanada is all about the American dream – the belief that everything can be accomplished through hard work and perseverance. CIF’s investment means I get to take that dream to the next level – to drive growth of new Maria Empanada locations. There is such a strong demand for craft-casual food and Maria Empanada is continuing its mission to become the nation’s leading artisanal empanada restaurant concept.”
About Maria Empanada
Maria Empanada was founded in Denver in 2010 by Lorena Cantarovici, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She started the company as a catering business first baking out of her family’s home kitchen, then out of her converted garage. Today, with three locations across the Denver metro area, Maria Empanada is recognized as the leading maker of artisan empanadas, tartas and Spanish tortillas in the United States. Maria Empanada prides itself as setting the standard for this unique gastronomic art form –it is one of the few places where artisans still finish each empanada by hand. To learn more about Maria Empanada, visit www.mariaempanada.com.
About Colorado Impact Fund
The Colorado Impact Fund, founded in July 2014, is a venture capital firm dedicated to supporting local Colorado companies that generate consistent investment returns in addition to positive community outcomes. Investors in the Fund include some of Colorado’s most respected executives, families, foundations and corporations, each of whom is committed to making a difference in the State of Colorado and beyond. Targeting investments in the areas of community health, natural resource conservation, education and workforce development and economic development, the Colorado Impact Fund leverages its collective experiences, resources and networks to help Colorado entrepreneurs create exceptional and lasting companies. For more information, visit https://www.coloradoimpactfund.com/