Impact Ventures is training a new cohort of local companies and potentially adding to its pipeline for the newly-launched Dallas Inclusive Capital Fund.
The Dallas-based nonprofit accelerator announced the lineup of its Spring 2021 cohort, which has pivoted during the pandemic to an all-virtual model, this time with tracks for small businesses, as well as high-growth tech startups.
“We’ve really built the program around the entrepreneurs' needs,” said Benjamin Vann, Impact Ventures’ founder and CEO, in a statement. “For us, it’s about going deep with our founders and producing real outcomes that drive change in our communities.”
This time around, eight companies are participating in the small business-focused Local Entrepreneur Accelerator Program track, which focuses on companies located in southern Dallas that are looking to grow through flexible debt capital. In addition, twelve companies are taking part in the tech-focused Inclusive Innovation track, which is aimed at pre-seed and seed-stage companies.
This cohort programming is supported by a recent three-year $450,000 grant from the Communities Foundation of Texas’ W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund Impact Ventures landed in April – one of the largest gifts it has received to date. It’s also supported by funding and other resources via a recent partnership with Atlanta’s Jabian Consulting.
“Within our current system, women, Black and Brown entrepreneurs often don’t fit traditional debt or venture capital criteria,” Vann said. “We’re creating a model that meets the needs of under-resourced entrepreneurs, creates a new class of non-traditional investors and transforms communities.”
In addition to receiving training, the members of the Spring 2021 cohort will enter the pipeline of Impact Ventures’ newly created Dallas Inclusive Capital Fund. The fund focuses on providing flexible loans and “patient equity” investments to underrepresented entrepreneurs, addressing structural barriers that have long prevented founders of color from accessing capital. Vann said Impact evaluates a founder’s character and ability to follow through during the cohort program in the underwriting process. The fund offers various investment routes like credit lines, revenue-based financing, and convertible note options to founders.
Ultimately, the fund is looking to raise $20 million and is currently raising $5 million for a pilot fund. For that pilot fund, Vann said it is looking to invest in pre-seed companies with investments of about $100,000 and seed-stage investments between $250,000 to $500,000. It will also make "entrepreneur-friendly" flexible loans between $50,000 and $250,000. It’s looking to make between 12 and 15 investments with the pilot fund.
“The idea is how do we democratize access to capital in terms of who gets to build generational wealth through entrepreneurship, but then also who gets to benefit from those said investments,” Vann previously told NTX Inno about the Dallas Inclusive Capital Fund.
Meet the members of Impact Ventures’ Spring 2021 Cohort below.
Local Entrepreneur Accelerator Program track:
- The Good Jerky (Fort Worth) – a maker of fish-based, health-conscious jerky snacks.
- Goextele Communications (Mesquite) – a broadband services solutions provider focused on commercial and residential customers.
- Le Rouge Cuisine (Dallas) – a Creole cooking catering and private event company.
- CoCo Residential (Dallas) – a real estate services agency.
- Hair By Akoni (Dallas) – a hair product distribution company for people with textured hair.
- MilkSpace (Garland) – an e-commerce platform selling breastfeeding products.
- CURLe (Dallas) - a brand of hair care products design specifically for people with curly hair
- BCM Engineering Solutions (Dallas) – a process improvement consultation service.
Inclusive Innovation track:
- HomematchX (Dallas) is a home buying platform adding a social-media-like element to residential real estate.
- Church Space (Houston) – a platform helping religious institutions lease out their spaces for events.
- SOLVE (Dallas) – a virtual shopping and delivery service.
- Reyets (Washington, D.C.) is a social justice platform to empower safer communities through resources, reporting, and data analysis.
- Medworthy (Dallas) – a software and IT solutions company.
- LTR NOW (Fort Worth) – a proptech platform the allows rental experiences to be shared and stored.
- Modern City (Anchorage, Ak.) – a real estate tech platform.
- Musa Health (Houston) – a startup focused on helping diaspora members manage and pay for health insurance for family members back home.
- MultiPark Valet (Dallas) - a valet management platformconnecting drivers to parking facilities
- Concession Delivery (Plano) – a platform helping schools and booster clubs fundraise through concession sales.
- Language Learning Market (McKinney) – a marketplace for buying and selling language learning and other educational resources.
- Cybershield Security (Dallas) – a cybersecurity software and solutions company.