At PeakChange we believe that, in order to foster a just and reflective society, we need to invest in the development of all kinds of entrepreneurs - not just the white guys in hoodies.
Through PeakChange, both Jim and Melanie have supported organizations and ventures that empower women and girls, particularly those of color. As Board Chair of Girls for a Change, Jim cares deeply about developing and empowering young women to become social change agents. To create real change, support is needed through access to capital and direct entrepreneurial engagement.
Here are the stats:
- Less than 1% of venture capital investments have been made in businesses founded by African Americans.
- Less than 6% of VC funding currently goes to women-led businesses, the fastest growing sector in the US, accounting for 46% of US businesses and 16% of US jobs.
- Only 11 start-ups led by black women led have raised $1 million or more in outside financing since 2012. That’s about 0.1% of the total number of VC deals.
Where the Magic Happened
Jim met Julianne Zimmerman a few years ago when he and Melanie hosted a weekend workshop on catalyzing systemic change in the investment world. During the workshop, Jim and Julianne discovered they shared a deep seriousness about addressing global challenges and opportunities — and also a twisted sense of humor that enabled them both to face into those challenges with vigor.
Ed Dugger and Jim connected through Social Venture Network (SVN), a premier organization for promoting innovation in social businesses. SVN is a nonprofit membership organization composed of socially responsible business leaders who are committed to creating a more just and sustainable world. At SVN, innovative approaches to sustainability and entrepreneurship abound. Did you know that Investors’ Circle, BALLE, and other investment groups were born out of SVN? If not, now you do!
The Reinventure Investment Approach
At one of the SVN conferences, Jim had the opportunity to hear Ed pitch the concept of Reinventure and was hooked. Reinventure sees emerging, vibrant networks of innovative entrepreneurs, many of whom are of color or are women, and all of whom have been overlooked by mainstream investors. There is an untapped pool of worthy founders who are pursuing scalable business opportunities, and addressing challenging social and environmental issues, yet lack the capital to grow.
Reinventure Capital is currently raising a $50M fund to invest in early-growth-stage (“breakevenish”) companies led by women and people of color. The fund will provide equity and debt financing for expansions, acquisitions, buyouts and recapitalizations. Reinventure will build a cross-sector portfolio of 10 to 15 US-based companies, investing in teams and business models they can help to grow profitably.
Why Investing in a Fund General Partnership Matters
Jim invested in the Reinventure General Partnership to help get the fund off the ground. General Partners (GPs) accept financial exposure beyond the amount of their investment, critical to the nature of their partnership and is key to the success of any new GP fund. Investors in the GP share in the same profit pool as the fund’s managers and are actively involved in the fund’s management and operations. GPs do a lot of the heavy lifting collectively, and their returns are proportionate for their level of risk. Limited Partners (LPs) in contrast, are passive investors, although they may be syndicate investment Partners as well. In addition to Reinventure, Jim is a General Partner in Dev Equity, a fund that helps innovative companies in select Latin American countries expand their growth, profitability, and impact. Learn more about GP vs LP commitments here.
First-time funds, particularly impact funds, can be really tough to get off the ground. Jim has invested in the Investors’ Circle Patient Capital Collaborative (PCC), a series of funds that invest in early-stage, innovative companies engaged in tackling the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges. The PCC funds focus on high-growth companies that are improving quality of life, alleviating poverty, and transitioning society to a more sustainable economy.
How You Can Get Involved
For further thoughts about Reinventure’s investment thesis and the context in which it is framed, see the Reinventure website and blog archive. If you are interested in becoming an Advisor or Ambassador for Reinventure get more information here. If you have questions for Ed and Julianne about joining the fund, please contact them directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.