Media Contact: Nitin Rai, Managing Director, Elevate Capital, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-799-5200
Elevate Capital announces first close of its two funds and cohort of investments in women and minority owned startups
Portland, OR (August 31, 2016) – Elevate Capital announced that it has completed the first close of its $3 million Elevate Inclusive Fund and $10 million Elevate Capital Fund and has made investments in its first cohort of six women and minority entrepreneur-led startups.
Elevate Capital is a Pacific Northwest-based venture firm that invests in early stage under-represented entrepreneurs, including women and minorities that include communities of color, veterans, and entrepreneurs located in under-served regions.
Elevate Capital, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, and Kimberly Branam, Portland Development Commission (PDC) Executive Director, along with other investors in both funds, will recognize and showcase these investments at a media and investor-only showcase event on August 31, 2016 at the Oregon Story Board.
“Seventy percent of Oregon’s new jobs happen when existing businesses grow and expand,” Governor Kate Brown said. “Promising businesses owned by Oregonians in underserved communities need and deserve access to investment capital to help them grow, and Elevate Capital’s announcement of these first six recipients is proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well in all Oregon communities.”
“I am truly elated to see this idea come to fruition and celebrate the first six recipients of the Elevate Inclusive Fund,” said Loretta Smith, Multnomah County Commissioner. “This is a key example of how we can foster wealth creation within our communities of color and low-income neighborhoods and get us closer to becoming an even more competitive and equitable place for folks to live and work.”
“We’re very proud of our role in seeding the Elevate Inclusive Fund as one of the first investment funds in the nation to support inclusion and diversity,” said Kimberly Branam, PDC Executive Director. “Our number one question at PDC is “who benefits?” And in this case it is small, entrepreneurial endeavors, led by diverse founders, with the potential to become much larger players in our regional economy.”
Investors in the Elevate Inclusive Fund were led by a $250,000 commitment from the State of Oregon, $500,000 from Multnomah County, and $500,000 from Portland Development Commission, as well as additional investments were raised both from in and out-of-state entrepreneurs.
Elevate Capital closed on its $4.2 million investment that was led by a $2 million investment from Meyer Memorial Trust, $250,000 from Oregon Community Foundation, and individual investors such as local entrepreneur Steven Marsh who invested in both funds, and certain members of the TiE Oregon Angels and Willamette Angels Group. Both funds are on a rolling close till first half of 2017.
“We are happy to see Elevate Capital has completed its first close. Meyer Memorial Trust is excited to find a new partner focused on investing in under-represented and underserved communities, including communities of color,” said Rukaiyah Adams, Meyer Memorial Trust Chief Investment Officer.
“I’m excited to be able to support Elevate Capital and the great companies they’re helping to find capital, expertise, and other resources they need to be successful,” said Steven Marsh.
Elevate Capital is investing $25,000-$75,000 in early seed investments from its Inclusive Fund and up to $500,000 in seed and series A stage type investments from the Capital fund. It will have additional funds available for follow-on investments from both funds.
“We are off to a great start! I am delighted that we have achieved this milestone so quickly and I am very thankful for the overwhelming support we have received from our investors and the community at large,” said Nitin Rai, Managing Director of Elevate Capital.
“Not only have we been working hard to raise capital, we have been simultaneously managing an overwhelming interest from entrepreneurs to seek capital from our funds. As a result, we are pleased to announce our first cohort of investments at first close,” said Rai.
The first cohort of investments includes:
Blendoor: Founded by Stephanie Lampkin, an African American entrepreneur. Blendoor is a blind recruiting app that hides a candidate’s name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias. In just a few months since beta launch, Blendoor has attracted over 250 companies, 5,000+ candidates and has been features in Forbes, NPR, and Fast Company. The team of Stanford and MIT graduates hold over 30 years combined experience at companies spanning Microsoft, Netscape, Simply Hired, and BCG. Blendoor is based in Silicon Valley, but plans to establish a presence in Portland Oregon. Blendoor received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
Goumikids: Co-founded by Lilli Yeo, an Asian American entrepreneur and former veteran employee at Nike. Goumikids is a kids apparel company with deep roots in social mission and sustainability. It makes mitts, boots, hats, jamms and preemies. Ten percent of all proceeds, and 100% of proceeds from goumigiving go directly to support efforts that protect children and invest in improving the lives of girls globally including girls rescued from human trafficking and orphaned children. Goumikids is based in the Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC) accelerator in Beaverton, Oregon. Goumikids received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
Hubb: Founded by Allison Magyar, a serial woman entrepreneur. Hubb brings order to the chaos of content management for meetings and conferences via automation and helps reduce costs of managing events for large corporation via its cloud based software. Founded by veteran event management professionals, Hubb is based in Vancouver, Washington, but hires a number of employees who live in Portland, Oregon. Hubb received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
I.T. Aire: Co-founded by Jason Patz, a disabled veteran. I.T. Aire specializes in providing the world’s most reliable and energy efficient Data-Center Cooling Systems. The company also holds key utility patents protecting popular data-center cooling techniques, which are licensed to data-centers for use in accomplishing their energy efficiency initiatives. ITAire is based in Portland, Oregon. I.T. Aire received funding from both Elevate Inclusive Fund and Elevate Capital Fund.
RFPIO: Founded by Ganesh Shankar, an Indian American entrepreneur. RFPIO’s cloud-based Request for Proposals (RFP) software is a response management solution that eliminates the friction often associated with responding to RFPs and significantly reduces cost of managing the RFP process for businesses. RFPIO is based in Beaverton, Oregon. RFPIO received funding from both Elevate Inclusive Fund and Elevate Capital Fund.
Versi: Co-founded by Jorge Guzman, a Hispanic American entrepreneur. Versi is a Yelp-like mobile app that allows businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to expose their products, services, programs and community resources to the growing Latino market. Versi is based in Portland, Oregon. Versi received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
Each of the six startup companies will select mentor and advisors from Elevate Capital’s pool of mentors in residence of successful entrepreneurs, many of whom are charter members and mentors at TiE Oregon or investors in Elevate Capital Fund. Elevate Capital Fund will partner with TiE Oregon and offer its newly launched TiE XL, a lean startup-based virtual accelerator and education program to the startups receiving funding.
“In additional to making investments, the mentoring program at Elevate Capital will fulfill our commitment towards mentor capital to these startups. It is a vital ingredient in their overall success,” said Mr. Rai. Mr. Rai will serve on the boards of RFPIO and ITAire. Additionally, Mr. Raghu Raghavan former CEO and founder of Acton is also expected to serve on the board of RFPIO and a key advisor to its CEO.