PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Elevate Capital recently completed a $26.0 million first close of the Elevate Fund II to enhance its efforts to support underserved minority and women entrepreneurs with early-stage funding. With Fund II now officially launched, Elevate Capital has already lined up six investments, all of which are led by Black founders and CXOs.
Investment in Fund II is led by two institutional investors: Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Growth Account. Fund II has also attracted dozens of prominent investors, such as Chelsea Stoner at Battery Ventures who are participating privately.
In Fund I, Elevate Capital validated its approach of providing "mentor capital" to companies led by women, under-represented communities, and other diverse backgrounds. To date, it is performing in the top quartiles of funds nationally in terms of IRR and cash returns. Built on this success, Fund II will quadruple the investment power and expand the firm's reach nationally.
"According to Morgan Stanley, there is a $4 trillion wealth gap for women and minority-owned businesses. We are showing with our performance that our model can support these entrepreneurs and get phenomenal returns for our investors. Fund II will allow us to expand our proven model to have more reach and make larger investments," said Nitin Rai, Founder and Managing Partner of Elevate Capital.
"If we have learned anything in 2020, it's that we must move beyond talking about inequality to doing something meaningful to address it. Funding, guiding, and scaling the business ideas of our best minds based on talent, not privilege, is the investor's contribution to social progress. Meyer recommitted to the Elevate Capital team for Fund II because they delivered results —social results and financial results. And the Elevate Capital team recommitted to Meyer for Fund II because working together, we can build a better tomorrow," said Rukaiyah Adams, Chief Investment Officer of Meyer Memorial Trust.
Along with its first close, the Elevate Capital team has lined up the first wave of six investments to put the capital to work immediately. The companies are in the technology, life sciences, and medical device sectors. They are led by Black founders or CXOs, including five led by Black women, which typically account for less than 0.0006 percent of venture capital investments by dollar amount, and less than 80 have received over $1 million in funding. All of these founders have raised over $1 million in funding which represents a significant advancement for this category of entrepreneurs.
The incoming portfolio companies include:
- Obatala Sciences is a biotechnology company that offers research enabling products and brainpower to scientists in industry and academia to advance tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Dr. Trivia Frazier is the founder and CEO of Obatala Sciences, which is based in New Orleans.
- Revry is a global streaming network launched in 2016 in Los Angeles that focuses on queer content and creators. Alia J. Daniels and LaShawn McGhee are co-founders and serve as COO and CPO, respectively.
- LegUp connects families with available childcare. The Seattle-based company is on a mission to make childcare accessible for all. Jessica Eggert is the founder and CEO of LegUp.
- Time Study is a technology firm that powers enterprise time intelligence presenting a clear picture of how employees spend their time to derive insights that drive progress. Kishau Rogers is the founder and CEO of New York-based Time Study.
- Goalsetter is a savings and financial literacy application that also provides FDIC and Mastercard-backed debit cards for teens and savings accounts for the whole family. Tanya Van Court is the founder and CEO of Goalsetter, which is also in New York.
- Forest Devices is a medical device startup that develops a novel stroke screening device designed to detect early signs of strokes. Carmelo Montalvo is the Chief Operating Officer of Forest Devices, which is located in Pittsburgh.
Critical to the fund's model is to create supportive structures to help the entrepreneurs navigate the difficult early phases of company growth. Elevate Capital has a bench of seasoned, successful founders who serve as Venture and Executive Partners who invest back into the ecosystem to support a new generation of leaders as mentors and advisors.
"Built on our proven track record and intentional approach, our deal pipeline of minority and women founded startups is robust and we're coming out of the gate strong nationally with our commitment to investing in the underserved minority and women entrepreneurs. Elevate Capital has pioneered the effort of making early-stage investments in women and underserved minority founders since 2016. We are doing our level best every day to make a meaningful dent in the $4 trillion gap," said Rai.
About Elevate Capital
Elevate Capital is a Pacific Northwest-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs, including women and minorities, including communities of color, veterans, and entrepreneurs located in underserved areas. Since 2016, Elevate Capital has invested $10 million in 29 startups of which 80 percent were led by diverse founders. For more information, visit elevate.vc or follow Elevate Capital on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
SOURCE Elevate Capital