Oakland Impact Investment Fund Launches First-of-its-kind Seed Capital Product; Deploys $300,000 to Accelerate Bay Area Small Businesses

OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- ICA is excited to announce that six local companies are the first-ever recipients of a brand new, responsively-designed, entrepreneur-friendly seed capital investment product by ICA. ICA has deployed a total of $300,000 in equity investments in support of our mission of closing the racial and gender wealth gaps. 

From a specialty chocolatier, to an artisan tea maker, to a high-end cosmetics brand, ICA's newest companies are diverse. The six companies receiving seed capital from ICA are: Charlotte Truffles, The Final Sauce, GDS Cloth Goods, GloGirl Cosmetics, Oakland Craft Company, and Teas with Meaning. 100% of them are run by women of color.

The six companies have already been able to put the investment funds to use. Oakland-based GDS Cloth Goods is hiring for a new position, and the company, which makes sustainable, reusable cloth goods for "daily rituals", is closing on a lease for a new location for its warehouse and factory. Teas With Meaning, which produces artisan teas in Oakland, has used the funds to increase workers' hours and boost inventory ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. 

"I couldn't be more excited for our entrepreneurs! We always knew there were more entrepreneurs to serve, but we didn't have the right product. Now, with this seed capital, we have the tools to serve them — better and deeper," said Caron Gugssa-Howard Director of Programs at ICA. "I have been so impressed with how fast these companies have grown since completing The Lab and I can't wait to see what they do next," she added. 

The six companies are the first to receive ICA's newest seed capital investment product, which has been purposefully designed from the ground-up to accelerate early-stage, growth-oriented businesses that have participated in the Lab at ICA. This combination of tailored advising and right-sized capital will help entrepreneurs establish a runway for resilience and scale, and allow ICA to invest in companies earlier on in their growth trajectories. 

ICA's seed capital enables early-stage businesses – that are not typically able to attract investors – to access equity financing. This product bridges a financing gap for smaller, earlier-stage, growth-oriented businesses that are traditionally overlooked by mainstream funders, lack the personal networks to fundraise, and often only have access to high-cost debt options. Equity gives much-needed flexibility and growth capacity to the businesses and does not add debt to their balance sheets. 

As a nonprofit venture capital Community Development Financial Institution, ICA makes investments that support our vision of building and economy that works for all. These new investments bring ICA's total portfolio to 18 companies and come on the heels of 6 growth capital investments announced earlier this year. In sum, ICA has deployed more than $2.5M since January 2021

"This new product is a game-changer for early-stage entrepreneurs. We are on a mission to break down barriers to access to capital and these six great investments are proof that our approach is working," said John Gough, Chief Investment Officer at ICA. 

As with all ICA investments, all six companies will continue to receive ICA's strategic advisory service, and as-needed support from the ICA team. 

ICA makes equity investments ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000 with a focus on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. Our investment strategy intentionally focuses on racial and gender equity, and supports companies that are committed to our shared mission of wealth creation and distribution to a diverse workforce. 

You can find products from the six new investment companies in the ICA marketplace and in stores throughout the country. To read more about ICA, our investments, our programs, and our companies visit ica.fund.

Media contact:

John Gough
(406) 607-0123

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