PORTLAND, Ore., March 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Elevate Capital, Oregon's first inclusive venture capital fund that supports inclusion and diversity by targeting entrepreneur investments in women and minorities that includes founders of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, and veterans, announced it is raising a second fund. The $40 million venture capital fund will inject four times the amount of capital into regional and national startups and dramatically increase access to capital for underrepresented founders.
To make the venture capital fund happen, Elevate Capital is announcing a new general partner team of three entrepreneurs and operators, in addition to founder and managing director Nitin Rai, to help founders build generational wealth, provide mentorship, a network, and education: Jill Nelson (Ruby founder), Raghu Raghavan (Act-on Software founder), and Kumar Sripadam (Redback Networks founder).
Nelson, who is developing the mentorship program, will work closely with five executive partners: Nat Parker (Moovel founder), Ana Chaud (Garden Bar founder), Michael Choi (Axiom founder and CTO), Ketan Sampat (CafeGive founder), and Chris Bright (Zapproved co-founder and CMO).
In Elevate Capitals' initial fund, the firm has realized several exits and demonstrated strong overall fund performance with a greater than 40% cash return in 28 portfolio companies with two successful exits in three years. More than 80 percent of the investments were led by diverse founders and created 500 jobs, predominantly in the Portland metropolitan area and Oregon.
Elevate Fund II will continue on the proven investment strategy of the first fund. The focus will be on early-stage Seed and Series A investments led by diverse founders. The performance showed the value of Elevate Capital's focus on mentorship. The fund is supported by experienced entrepreneurs and operators who have participated in successful exits of their companies of a total value of approximately $2 billion, who also serve as mentors and resources for portfolio companies.
"Elevate Capital embodies what Portland stands for: an inclusive, innovative, and scrappy start-up culture," said Nitin Rai, Founder and Managing Director of Elevate Capital. "We have shown that by focusing on this area, we are cultivating entrepreneurs that have traditionally not had access to capital and they are delivering. Our performance is showing the entire venture capital industry why investing in female and multicultural-led startups is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do."
Recent research reports from Morgan Stanley strongly advocate for investment in diverse founders: "There is no question that the systemic failure to find and fund female and multicultural entrepreneurs represents a market inefficiency."
In their reports, Morgan Stanley found that businesses led by women and diverse founders received 80 percent less capital than businesses overall. They characterize this as a "trillion-dollar opportunity."
Looking at investment returns just on gender, a recent survey showed women-led businesses return more than 2.5 times the profits of companies run by men.
Elevate Capital is targeting a first close of Fund II in the second/third quarter of 2020 and will be making investments immediately after that. "We already have a strong pipeline of opportunities, so we are eager to be able to capitalize on them as soon as we can," added 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 that include communities of color, veterans, and entrepreneurs located in underserved areas. Since 2016, Elevate Capital has invested $10 million in 28 diverse startups. For more information, visit elevate.vc or follow Elevate Capital on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.