Seedfunders, a St. Petersburg-based early stage investment firm, has launched the Seedfunders Opportunity Fund, to make pre-seed investments in Black-owned startups throughout Florida.
“Black entrepreneurs matter,” Seedfunders said in a news release announcing the new fund.
Research shows that entrepreneurs of color often have uniquely positioned ideas for technology-driven businesses, but cannot raise the capital to get started in what is typically referred to as the “friends and family” round, Seedfunders said. The new Opportunity Fund will supply that capital.
Seedfunders has made 24 investments in a wide range of technology startups since it was founded in 2017. The new fund will have slightly different investment criteria than the organization has used in the past.
“We have always been interested in investing in startups with social value in addition to the economic potential. This fund takes that a step further by making that part of the selection and investment process,” said Dave Chitester, Seedfunders co-founder. “While we typically have required a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to consider an investment, the goal of the Opportunity Fund is to supply the capital to create that MVP. Once that is accomplished, we will consider the potential for funding through the next cycle of the investment process.”
Seedfunders has established an investment management board to oversee the Opportunity Fund. It will be led by Irv Cohen, a Wall Street veteran who is Seedfunders co-founder and a co-founder of Florida Funders. Cohen is also the local chair of Social Venture Partners, a global network. Other members of the Opportunity Fund Board are Seedfunders partners Geoff Keith, Ruth Ross and George Lange. They will be joined by local community leaders, the news release said.
The Seedfunders Opportunity Fund is open to all accredited investors. The minimum investment is $5,000.
For more information, contact Dave Chitester, Dave@Chitester.com. For information on applying for funding, please contact Geoff Keith, Geoff.S.Keith@gmail.com.
Note: St. Pete Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton is a partner in Seedfunders.