San Francisco – November 19, 2020 – Cooley advised Impact America Fund, which makes early-stage investments in tech-driven businesses that create new frameworks of ownership and opportunity within marginalized communities, on the closing of its second venture capital fund at $55 million. Eric Doherty, Elizabeth Reese and Amanda Nielson-Galloway led the Cooley team advising IAF on the fund’s formation. Craig Venable leads the Cooley team advising IAF on its investments.
IAF believes the next generation of market leaders will be companies that recognize the largest market inefficiency of our time is systemic racism and disrupt the problem by deploying technology where an injustice intersects with a multibillion-dollar market opportunity. The goal of Impact America Fund II, which was backed by 67 limited partners, is to find those companies and accelerate their growth between seed and Series B.
“This is likely the largest fund ever raised by a sole Black female general partner,” Kesha Cash, founder and general partner of IAF, said in a blog post announcing the new fund. “It’s an important milestone, especially in a year marked by expansive calls for social and economic justice, but it's really only the beginning. We’re building toward a future where every person of color in the US can participate in the economy fully and on their own terms.”
“We’re focused on impact at scale. In venture capital, ‘impact’ is often associated with ‘small,’ ‘mom and pop’ or ‘charity,’” Cash continued. “And the larger national collective imagination also undervalues companies that serve low- and moderate-income communities. We reject these expectations. Companies can be both profitable and purpose-driven.”
IAF looks for business models where the forces that drive business success also increase ownership, opportunity or other forms of empowerment and searches for founding teams with direct knowledge of the communities, systems and problems it wants to address. The diversity of IAF’s portfolio is a reflection of its focus on the inherent impact of these companies and the lived experience of their teams. Of the companies IAF has already invested in, 80% are led by a person of color, while 70% are Black-led. And in pursuit of ethical, inclusive and sustainable outcomes, IAF also prioritizes for products and services that are built and scaled with careful constraints and dedication to their workers and customers.
As the only law firm worldwide with 40+ lawyers focused full time on fund formation, Cooley is primary fund counsel to 500+ investment fund organizations. In 2019, the team closed 300 funds raising more than $28 billion in capital commitments.
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