“We’ve seen incredibly innovative ideas from underrepresented entrepreneurs — from companies offering inclusive health services for women, to start-ups helping companies mitigate climate impact for underserved communities—and we’re convinced that an inclusive investment strategy leads to better returns and innovation. We want to ensure that these companies and their founders have the same access to capital as anyone else,” Peter Krawiec, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide corporate development, said in a press release. “We hope that our investment will be catalytic — sparking a force-multiplying effect by inspiring others to invest in these companies, fostering inclusion and innovation, positively impacting communities, and creating generational wealth and financial return.”
US’ Amazon has announced its investment of $150 million in Amazon Catalytic Capital, a new initiative involving VC funds, accelerators, incubators, and venture studios that provide funding to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. The multinational company expects to support more than 10 funds and over 200 companies through the next year.
In addition to capital, the companies in the funds’ portfolios will receive mentorship from Amazon executives and gain access to resources to support their business and technical strategy. Amazon teams will also work with the start-ups to identify partnership and product collaboration opportunities that could accelerate their growth.
Historically, underrepresented founders have had less access to start-up venture capital and greater difficulties in securing funding to bring ideas to fruition. Studies consistently show that Black, Latino, women, and LGBTQIA+ start-up founders are underrepresented across the total number of funded start-ups.
Through this initiative, Amazon has invested in the following funds: Collide Capital, Elevate Future Fund, Share Ventures, and the Rising Stars Fund.
Collide Capital is a Black-owned seed and pre-seed venture capital fund led by two founders under the age of 35. To date, Collide Capital has backed over 40 companies, of which 80 per cent+ are led by Black, Latino, and/or female founders.
Elevate Future Fund, which is overseen by Energy Impact Partners (EIP), focuses on increasing funding to underrepresented founders working on solutions to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and clean energy future. Elevate will also collaborate closely with Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, which invests in emerging climate technology companies.
Share Ventures is a Los Angeles-based venture fund and venture foundry focused on human performance. Share focuses on solving problems by creating and investing in innovative companies that unlock human potential, in categories including health tech, future of work, people tech, fintech, transportation, and purpose tech (companies facilitating impact and change), added the release.
With its first investments in 2022, the Rising Stars Fund is a pre-seed venture capital fund investing in underrepresented founders of colour in the US. The fund is part of the Techstars investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customised programming for early-stage entrepreneurs.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)