Mission Driven and Purpose Capital Directory—USA Seed & Venture Capital Committed to Social Progress

 In Benefit Venture Blog, Directories, Female Founders, Purpose

Mission Driven and Purpose Capital Directory—USA: Seed and venture capital funds all have very particular criteria for investment in new and young ventures. Today, the fastest growing special emphasis is on social progress. This includes many kinds of purpose driven startups, but especially those aimed at women, diversity, eco-focussed business, healthcare, education, and sectoral emphases where products are aimed to improve the quality of life. It is great to see that over 50 of the funds that I list below have a female focus and more than 60 have a focus on minorities/diversity. Both categories may pay additional attention to other characteristics of the firms they back.

The majority of startups get going without capital from third parties. Of course they may get loan finance or other forms of credit at the early stages of the venture. However, there are many reasons why external finance may be a vital ingredient to establishing the business. It could be that a significant volume of sales are needed before any surplus is created. There are some who will need special/expensive equipment to produce the goods. Traditionally, those who sought external equity were judged on the numbers and if they could produce credentials that were reassuring to the investor. Often the nature of the founders themselves is a stumbling block to raising investment, rather than the viability of the business concept and plan.

Today, I would say that passion, purpose and possibility are key. An exclusive focus on revenue and return, with a fixation on forecast balance sheets and market shares, may be misleading. In addition, the answer to ‘why?’ has become of paramount in startup viability. For these kinds of reason is not surprising that mission driven or impact investment has risen in importance to investors. This Directory of Mission Driven Capital is intended to help those frustrated finance-seeking entrepreneurs on a mission to find the increasing numbers sources of capital investors dedicated to them.

There are more and more sources of seed and shaking hands on a dealventure capital which have a bias in favor of purpose driven and sustainable business. Their number is growing very rapidly; this directory has more than 200 firms.They add criteria beyond the purely financial to make their investment decisions, but that does not in any way imply that they are soft touches. Ten or more of these impact-oriented investment firms are already BCorporations. My guess is that more will seek to become a BCorp. It’s also interesting to note that over 150 venture capital firms have invested in a B Corp, many receiving multiple funding rounds.

Support for a Progressive Society

Startups founded or led by groups in society who have long found a negative response from venture capitalists can now find that there are funds set up specially focused on their needs. I built the Mission Driven Directory—USA a few years ago, but I am finding that as I make updates, the numbers and types of funds for inclusion is expanding very quickly. The kinds of people for whom they have been established include those traditionally under-served, particularly women, people of color, minorities, the disadvantaged, but now include outfits like the 1571 Fund (see listing below) that backs dropouts, renegade students & sci-fi scientists at the earliest stages of their companies.

If you are angling to start a business and need capital to get off the ground, but say to yourself, “Nobody will ever back me”, don’t despair. If your venture is driven by purpose and passion, chances are that you will find a vc who is open to people like you. As well as venture capital funds and firms there are many organizations devoted to supporting and helping under-served groups to advance in society. Seneca Women, for instance, is one of a growing number dedicated to amplifying women’s voices, supporting women creators and partnering with organizations to advance women in the economy and around the world. The US Chamber of Commerce lists 14 Resources for Black Owned Businesses. In the Directory, you will see many minority focused capital funds. Some specialist mission driven sources of capital are dedicated to a particular region or cit. An example is the New Economy Initiative that is dedicated to transform Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Since 1991, Association for Economic Opportunity (AEO) and its member and partner organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO’s more than 1,700 members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist under-served entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses.

How to Approach a Listed Firm

Any pitch to these investors in mission driven companies will need to be even more rigorous than to conventional Venture Capitalists—to include the benefit-based aspects of the startup. They make statements such as this one from Now Capital, “dedicated to enabling early-stage companies with transformative solutions for a prosperous world. We invest seed capital into paradigm-shifting companies and accelerate startup growth through our networks and growth expertise.”

Approaching these mission driven capital organizations is best done by reference, and in any case close attention will need to be paid to the investment criteria these sources of mission driven capital use and the special requirements they demand of potential investments. A blanket and un-tailored approach will not do. Find out about the stage of business in which the company makes investments there’s no point in approaching a firm that specializes in seed capital if your business is well-established.

Be aware that despite my attempts to keep entries updated, the Mission Driven Capital Directory may not yet have listed the very new source of mission driven venture capital that would be ideal for your new venture. So keep searching for the right financial partner for you.

A Progressive Alternative to Mission Driven Venture Capital

Equity Crowdfunding has taken off thanks to a few pioneers who managed to get the law changed so that equity funding is open to non-accredited investors—us ordinary mortals. The leader of the pack was and still remains Wefunder. Their aim is to attract people to invest in ‘founders of the future’, and as they boldly state, “we’re here to fix capitalism.” The company is a Public Benefit Corporation and a BCorp, and hence a majority of the campaigns they run to raise equity are for startups or early stage companies that are likewise purpose driven and want to make the world a better place—doing good and making profit.

Investments can be made with as little as $100. Amounts raised go from $50K to $5 million. The upper limit was just reset, thanks in large part to Wefunder’s campaigning. So far more that 1,500 founders have been funded, $287 million has been invested, $5 billion additional funding has followed from Wefunder investments. As important as anything else is the fact that nearly 20,000 new jobs have been created.

How to Use the Mission Driven Capital Directory

Many of the mission driven and purpose capital sources have a special focus. I have marked each of the investors in mission driven companies with their special focus, and some have more than one. The categories are general and imprecise. If you think you have found a potential investor in the Directory, then not only visit their website, but dig deeper. One good way might be to examine the companies in their portfolio. Then, if one strikes you as relevant and interesting to you and your startup, make contact, visit them and understand the sues they faced. You may even find that the founder would be happy to make an introduction to the investor firm.

Trianz has a very good Guide for Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses. It covers much more than funding and is well worth a visit. Trianz is a firm that helps leaders and organizations reimagine value to stakeholders and transform with digital technologies. Tips, Tools, and Resources for Black-Owned Small Businesses is a good source of help, too. It’s from Tailor Brands who want to see Black-owned small businesses flourish. The guide provides information on starting a new business, marketing tips, advice on overcoming adversity, networking opportunities, and other valuable tools for success.

Other investors in mission driven companies have an even sharper focus, for example:

Next Frontier Capital invests in Montana businesses; the Designer Fund invests in businesses where there is at least one founder who is a designer; Rise of the Rest Seed Fund only invests in promising seed stage companies outside Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston, or Afore Capital that only invests in pre-seed companies; Bonsal Capital is a mission-driven partnership, and supporting education has been a core driver since 1999.. Some, such as Wave Equity Partners have very precise purposes. In Wave’s case, it is to find and empower innovative solutions that create high growth businesses and also nourish our ecosystem. Grounded Capital Partners have a laser focus on regenerative agriculture.

Sustainability-focused funds attracted record inflows during the first quarter of 2021, pushing global assets under management in Environmental, Social & Governance funds to nearly $2 trillion, according to a report from Morningstar.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, then visit Funding the Benefit Sector, where you may get results. Likewise, if you think raising equity through crowdfunding may make more sense for you, then go to the Crowdfunding Directory—USA. A very full listing that goes beyond equity (including loan finance and Community Development Financial Institutions) is at the Access to Capital Directory.

If you do make contact with any of the firms, please do mention that you discovered them through Venture Founders.

This list in incomplete—for sure. Please write to will@venturefounders.com to make additions, updates or improvements.

Mission Driven Capital Directory

  1. 100 Black Angels & Allies (C/S &M) https://www.blackangels.co/
  2. 1571 Fund (C/S & T) https://www.1517fund.com/
  3. 2045 Ventures (M &T) https://www.2045vc.com/
  4. 645 Ventures (M &T) https://645ventures.com/
  5. Access Ventures (C/S) https://accessventures.org
  6. Advantage Capital Partners (S/E) https://www.advantagecap.com
  7. A-Force Ventures (W) https://www.aforceventures.com/
  8. Alante Capital (S/E & C) https://www.alantecapital.com
  9. Alfa Impact 8 Ventures (M & W) https://www.alphaimpact8.com/
  10. Aligned Partners (W) http://www.alignedvc.com
  11. Amplifyher Ventures (W) https://www.amplifyherventures.com/
  12. Attain Capital Partners (S/E & T) https://attain.capital/
  13. Renewal Funds (C/S & S/E) http://www.renewalfunds.com
  14. Arthur Ventures (T) https://arthurventures.com
  15. Aspect Ventures (W) http://aspectventures.com
  16. Backstage Capital (W, M & C/S)  http://backstagecapital.com
  17. Bain Capital Double Impact (S/E & C/S) https://www.baincapital.com/businesses/double-impact
  18. BBG Ventures (W) https://www.bbgventures.com/
  19. Belle Capital (W) http://www.bellevc.com
  20. Beta Boom (W, M, T) https://betaboom.com/
  21. Better Ventures (S/E) http://www.better.vc/
  22. Big Path Capital (S/E & C/S) http://www.bigpathcapital.com/
  23. Black Angel Tech Fund (M, T) https://www.blackangeltechfund.com/
  24. Black Operators Ventures (M) https://www.blackopsvc.com/
  25. Black & Latino Angel Investment Fund of New Jersey (M) https://www.blackandlatinoangelfund.com/
  26. Black Star Fund (M) https://www.blackstar.fund/
  27. Black Tech Nation Ventures (W &M) https://btn.vc/
  28. Bonsal Capital (S/E) https://www.bonsalcapital.com
  29. Brava Investments (W) http://bravainvestments.com/
  30. Broadway Angels (W) http://www.broadway-angels.com
  31. Builders Fund (S/E) http://www.thebuildersfund.com
  32. Buoyant Ventures (S/E & T) https://www.buoyant.vc/
  33. Candide Group (CS/SE) https://candidegroup.com
  34. Capita3 (H & W) https://www.capita3.com/
  35. Capital Impact Partners (C/S) https://www.capitalimpact.org
  36. Capitalize VC (M) https://www.capitalizevc.com/
  37. Catamount Ventures (S/E & C/S) http://www.catamountventures.com
  38. Chloe Capital (W) https://chloecapital.com/
  39. City Light Capital (C/S) http://citylightcap.com
  40. Clean Energy Angel Fund (S/E & T) http://calcefangelfund.com
  41. Climate Impact Capital (S/E)  https://climateimpactcapital.com
  42. Clean Energy Venture Group (SE & T) https://cevg.com
  43. Closed Loop Partners (circular economy) https://www.closedlooppartners.com
  44. Colorado Impact Fund (H, S/E& T) https://www.coloradoimpactfund.com
  45. Collab Capital (M) https://collab.capital/
  46. Collaborative Fund (S/E) http://www.collaborativefund.com
  47. Committed Capital (S/E) http://www.committedcapital.com/
  48. Commons Capital (S/E, C/S) http://www.commonscapital.com/index.htm
  49. Concrete Rose (M) https://concreterosecapital.com/
  50. Cowboy Ventures (C/S & T) http://cowboy.vc/index.html
  51. Coyote Ventures (W & H) https://www.coyote.ventures/
  52. Cue Ball (S/E) https://cueball.com/home/
  53. Cutting Edge Capital (C/S) https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com
  54. Debut Capital (M) https://debutcapital.com/
  55. Designer Fund (H & S/E) https://designerfund.com
  56. Digital DX Ventures (H & T) https://www.digitaldxventures.com/
  57. Diverse City Ventures (S/E & T) https://www.diversecityv.com/
  58. E2JDJ (S/E, T & C) https://www.e2jdj.com/
  59. Echo VC Partners (S/E, T & M) https://www.echovc.com/
  60. Elevar Equity Partners (M) https://elevarequity.com/
  61. Elevate Capital (M & W) https://elevate.vc/
  62. Epakon Capital (M) https://www.epakon.com/
  63. Exposition Ventures (S/E & T) https://exposition.ventures/
  64. Drumbeat Ventures (C) https://www.drumbeatventures.com
  65. DBL Partners (M & C/S) http://www.dblpartners.vc
  66. Echoing Green (W, M, S/E) http://www.echoinggreen.org
  67. Elevate Capital (S/E) http://elevate.vc
  68. Emmeline Ventures (W) https://www.emmelineventures.vc/
  69. Engine No. 1 (S/E) https://engine1.com
  70. Expansion Capital Partners (T) http://www.expansioncapital.com/index.php
  71. Fairbridge Park (C/S & H) https://www.fairbridgepark.com/
  72. Fearless Fund (M & W) https://www.fearless.fund/
  73. Female Founders Fund (W) http://femalefoundersfund.com
  74. Fenway Summer Ventures (T) http://fenwaysummer.com
  75. Fika Ventures (T) https://www.fika.vc/
  76. Force for Good Fund (M & W) https://www.lifteconomy.com/forceforgood
  77. Founder Collective (S/E) http://www.foundercollective.com
  78. Foundry Group (T) https://foundry.vc
  79. Fresco Capital (C/S) http://www.fresco.vc
  80. General Catalyst (M, W, C/S, & S/E) https://www.generalcatalyst.com/
  81. Generation Investment Management (T) https://www.generationim.com
  82. Genius Guild (M) https://www.geniusguild.co/
  83. Giant Ventures (T) https://www.giant.vc
  84. Gingerbread Capital (W) https://gingerbreadcap.com/
  85. Global Good (S/E, C/S & T) http://www.intellectualventures.com/globalgood
  86. Golden Seeds (W) http://www.goldenseeds.com
  87. Good Growth Capital (T) https://www.goodgrowthvc.com/
  88. Graham & Walker Venture Fund (W & T) https://grahamwalker.com/
  89. Green Cow Venture Capital (S/E & T) https://www.greencow.vc/
  90. Grit Ventures (T) https://www.gritventures.com/
  91. Grounded Capital Partners (SE) https://www.groundedcapitalpartners.com
  92. Halogen Ventures (W & C) https://halogenvc.com/
  93. Harlem Capital Partners (M & W) https://harlem.capital
  94. Hearst Lab (W) https://www.hearstlab.com/
  95. Heed Capital (S/E & T) https://heedcapital.co
  96. High Street Equity Partners (M) https://www.highstreetequity.com/
  97. Hi Mark Capital (M & W) https://himarkcapital.com/
  98. Homebrew (S/E) http://homebrew.co
  99. Illuminate Ventures (W) http://www.illuminate.com
  100. Impact America Fund (SC, C/S, T) http://www.impactamericafund.com/
  101. Impact Engine (S/E) https://www.theimpactengine.com
  102. Impact Venture Capital (T) https://impactvc.com
  103. Incite Ventures (C/S) https://www.incite.org
  104. Investors Circle (S/E) http://www.investorscircle.net
  105. JC2 Ventures (T) https://www.jc2ventures.com
  106. Jumpstart Focus Fund (W & T) https://www.jumpstartinc.org/investing/focus/
  107. Jumpstart Nova (M & H) https://jumpstartnova.com/
  108. Kapor Capital (S/E & M) http://www.kaporcapital.com
  109. Koa Labs (S/E) https://www.koalab.com/
  110. L’Attitude Ventures (M) https://lattitudeventures.com/strategy
  111. LDR Ventures (W) https://ldrventures.com/
  112. Leap Global Partners (M &T) https://leapglobalpartners.com/
  113. Level Up Ventures (M) https://www.levelupventures.com/
  114. Lightship Capital (M & H) https://www.lightship.capital/
  115. Lorient Capital (H) https://lorientcap.com
  116. Lux Capital (T) http://www.luxcapital.com
  117. Magnify Ventures (H) https://www.magnify.vc/
  118. Marathon Fund (M) https://themarathonfund.com/
  119. Marcy Venture Partners (M, H & C)
  120. Maveron (C) https://www.maveron.com
  121. Mendoza Ventures (M, W & T) https://mendoza-ventures.com/
  122. Mergelane (W) https://www.mergelane.com/
  123. Merian Ventures (W & T) https://www.merianventures.com/
  124. mHub Product Impact Fund (H & T) https://www.mhubchicago.com/
  125. Mindfull Investors (S/E) http://mindfullinvestors.com
  126. Mindshift Capital (W) https://www.mindshiftcapital.com/
  127. Mission Driven Capital Partners (CS/SE) https://www.missiondrivencp.com
  128. Mission Driven Finance (CS/M) https://www.missiondrivenfinance.com
  129. Moore Ventures (S/E & T) https://www.moore-ventures.com
  130. Next Frontier Capital (S/E) http://www.nextfrontiercapital.com
  131. New Age Ventures (S/E & M) https://www.newage.vc
  132. Next Wave Impact (M) https://nextwaveimpact.com/
  133. New Community Transformation Fund (M) https://newcommunityfund.com/
  134. Now Ventures (S/E & C/S) http://nowventures.co/
  135. Obvious Ventures (S/E & H) https://obvious.com
  136. Omidyar Network (S/E & C/S) https://www.omidyar.com
  137. Open Opportunity Fund (M) https://theopportunityfund.com/
  138. O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures (SE & T) http://oatv.com
  139. Overlooked Ventures (M & W) https://www.overlookedventures.com/
  140. Owl Ventures (SE & T) http://www.owlvc.com
  141. Palladium Equity Partners (M) https://www.palladiumequity.com/
  142. Pipeline Angels (W) http://pipelineangels.com
  143. Pivotal Ventures (C/S & M) https://www.pivotalventures.org/
  144. Plain Sight Capital (C/S & T) https://www.plainsightcapital.com/
  145. Plum Alley (W) https://plumalley.co
  146. Portfolia Funds (W) https://www.portfolia.co/
  147. Precursor Ventures (C/S) https://precursorvc.com
  148. Propel Capital (S/E) https://www.propelcapital.org
  149. PS27 Ventures (M, T & H) https://ps27ventures.com/
  150. Radicle Impact (S/E) http://www.radicleimpact.com
  151. Reach Capital (C/S & S/E) https://www.reachcapital.com/
  152. Red Bike Capital (C/S, H, M & W) https://redbikecapital.com/
  153. Reinventure Capital (C/S, M & W) https://reinventurecapital.com/
  154. Renewal Funds (S/E) http://www.renewalfunds.com
  155. Resilient Ventures (M) https://resilientventures.org/
  156. Rethink Capital Partners (C/S, S/E & C) https://rethink-capital.com
  157. Rethink Food (S/E, T, C) https://www.rethinkfood.org/
  158. Rethink Impact (W, T, H &S/E) http://rethinkimpact.com
  159. Rise of the Rest Seed Fund (C/S) https://www.revolution.com/entity/rotr/
  160. Riveter Capital (M & W) https://rivetercapital.com/
  161. Rivet Ventures (W) http://www.rivetventures.com
  162. Rogue Women’s Fund (W) https://roguewmn.com/
  163. RSF Social Finance (S/E) http://rsfsocialfinance.org
  164. SJF Ventures (S/E) http://sjfventures.com/
  165. Sagona Capital (S/E) https://www.sagonacapital.com
  166. Seae Ventures (H, T & M) https://www.seaeventures.com/
  167. Serena Ventures (S/E, C/S, H & T) https://www.serenaventures.com/
  168. Shatter Fund (W, T, H, S/E) https://shatterfund.com/
  169. Shields Capital (H) https://shieldscapital.com
  170. Slausen & Co (M & W) https://www.slauson.co/
  171. Social Capital (S/E & T) http://www.socialcapital.com
  172. Social Impact Capital (S/E & H) https://social-impact-capital.com
  173. Social Leverage (T) https://www.socialleverage.com
  174. Sofia Fund (W) https://sofiafund.com/
  175. Sogal Ventures (C/S & F) http://www.sogalventures.com
  176. Solidarity Capital Group (S/E) http://www.solidaritycap.com
  177. Somerset Capital (M, W &T) http://somersetcapital.ai/
  178. Sou Sou (W) https://investsousou.com/
  179. Springbank VC (W, T, C, C/S & S/E) https://www.springbank.vc/
  180. Springbank Collective (H & W) https://www.springbankcollective.com
  181. SteelSky Ventures (W & H) https://steelskyventures.com/
  182. Stray Dog Capital (S/E & C) https://straydogcapital.com
  183. Strugatz Ventures (S/E & C/S) http://www.strugatzventures.com
  184. Supply Change Capital (C & T) https://supplychange.fund/
  185. Sustain VC (S/E, M & H) https://sustainvc.com
  186. SV Latham Capital (M) https://www.svlatamcap.com/
  187. Sybilla Masters Fund (W & T) https://masters.vc/
  188. The Artemis Fund (W & T) https://www.theartemisfund.com/
  189. The BFM Fund (M) https://www.bfm.fund/
  190. The Community Fund (D & C/S) https://www.thecommunity.vc/
  191. The Ecosystem Integrity Fund (S/E) https://ecosystemintegrity.com
  192. The Builders Fund (C/S) http://www.thebuildersfund.com/
  193. The Helm (W) https://thehelm.co/
  194. The Jump Fund (C) http://thejumpfund.com
  195. The Rise Fund (S/E & C/S) http://therisefund.com
  196. The 22 Fund (M,W & S/E) https://the22fund.com/
  197. The W Fund (M,W, T, S/E & H) https://wrule.vc/
  198. The WXR Fund (W, M & T) https://www.wxrfund.com/
  199. Torch Capital (C) https://torchcapital.vc
  200. True Wealth Ventures (W & H) https://truewealthvc.com/
  201. Two Sigma Investments (T) https://twosigmaventures.com
  202. TMV (M & W) https://tmv.vc/
  203. 3×5 Partners (S/E & T) https://www.3x5partners.com
  204. Uberis Capital (S/E) http://www.uberiscapital.com/
  205. Unschackled (S/E & M) https://www.unshackledvc.com
  206. Vamos Ventures (M, H & T) https://vamosventures.com/
  207. Vest Her Ventures (W) https://www.vesther.co/
  208. Village Capital (SE & C/S) http://vilcap.com/
  209. Vision Ridge Partners (S/E) https://www.vision-ridge.com
  210. Vulcan Capital (SE & C/S) https://vc4a.com/vulcan-capital/
  211. Wave Equity Partners (S/E & T) https://waveep.com
  212. Webster Equity Partners (H) https://websterequitypartners.com
  213. White Road Investments (S/E) http://whiteroadinvestments.com
  214. WK Kellogg Foundation (S/E) https://www.wkkf.org/what-we-do/mission-driven-investments
  215. Women’s Venture Capital Fund (W) http://www.womensvcfund.com
  216. Xcelerate Fund (W) http://www.xxceleratefund.com
  217. X Factor Ventures (W) https://www.xfactor.ventures/
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