In a focused effort to support underfunded and underrepresented entrepreneurs, Founders First Capital Partners (Founders First) announced its initial close of a $9 million Series A financing led by the Surdna Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, according to statements provided by The Surdna Foundation and Founders First.
The announcement revealed that the financing seeks to position businesses for scale, but also to demonstrate the value proposition in supporting minority-led small businesses. Moreover, Founders First will reportedly become one of the country’s largest revenue-based finance and advisory support investment platforms for underserved small businesses.
“This Series A will accelerate the deployment of Founders First’s $100 million credit facility from Community Investment Management to fund 400 companies,” The Surdna Foundation stated. “Diverse founders are defined as those companies led by women, military veterans, LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) founders, offering them more flexible growth capital than traditional bank debt. The funding will also allow Founders First to expand into new regions across the United States.”
The Surdna Foundation also mentioned that of the more than 400 companies that completed the Founders First programs, 83% reported increased revenues in 12 months, while 53% reported increased revenues by 25% in just six months. Additionally, Spring Point Partners, Kauffman Foundation through the Capital Access Lab Fund at Impact Assets, LivingCities Blended Catalyst Fund, The Impact Seat, and Lindmor Foundation as additional investors of the recent financing.
Kim Folsom, founder and CEO of Founders First, reportedly remarked that her company is thrilled to have support from global social impact leaders such as The Rockefeller Foundation. It is known for advances in various sectors, including science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges.
“With this investment we can greatly increase our reach to diverse business owners who are poised for high growth but aren’t a fit for venture capital or have the assets to meet traditional lending requirements,” Folsom reportedly said.
Maria Kozloski, senior vice president of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Innovative Finance Initiative, stated that The Foundation’s investment will support the expansion of Founders First and thereby funding for underserved entrepreneurs who for too long have lacked adequate access to traditional funding networks.
“Together, we will create high-quality jobs and increase wealth in underserved communities,” said Kozloski.