Access Ventures Announces New Regional Capital Fund
Access Ventures invests nationally, we care about innovation and creating a more inclusive and creative economy everywhere. That said, our office sits on a street corner in a neighborhood in Louisville, KY, the city that we all live in and love. As an organization, we’ve always balanced our work nationally with our local programs and presence. A lot of work has gone into building out our entrepreneurial community since the time of Techstars’ Founder, Brad Feld’s, visit and Steve Case’s arrival with Rise of the Rest. We have made great strides as a community yet, capital formation and specifically risk capital for early-stage entrepreneurs has been difficult to secure. We want our city to thrive and for the economy here to support innovation and growth.
In an effort to better support entrepreneurs in Louisville and Southern Indiana, Access Ventures is excited to announce Render Capital as a regional approach to solve some of these critical gaps we see every day. We envision a robust and thriving regional economy where entrepreneurs see Louisville and Southern Indiana as a place they can find appropriate risk capital necessary for them to start and grow.
There is much that still needs to be determined as we move towards a launch in January, but we are excited to announce this major step forward as we look to deploy $2.5M in 2020 alone in the regional community. Our mission is to establish the Louisville region as a national leader in a truly bi-state strategy around innovation, entrepreneurship and creative capital essential for our mutual success. This mission is critical for our region because new businesses stimulate our economy and mobilize our community by creating jobs, bringing talent, and attracting investment.
In an effort to better support entrepreneurs in Louisville and Southern Indiana, Access Ventures is excited to announce Render Capital.
At Access Ventures, we believe that access to capital is a necessary part of economic growth. And yet, the stark reality is that the limitations of our current economic system perpetuates exclusion that continues to marginalize the most vulnerable among us.
These root issues have many forms and remaining obstacles. For example:
1. Centuries of wealth inequality in the United States have made it nearly impossible for emerging entrepreneurs of color to access the critical risk capital that family and friends play in pursuing opportunities and dreams. (The average black family in the United States has 7% the family wealth of a white family – essentially removing a critical source of financing for entrepreneurs of color that hope to start and grow companies that would inevitably create generational wealth for their families).
2. Foundations and high net worth individuals remain entrenched in outdated portfolio construction models even though younger generations continue to demand more alignment of values in their investing. Not to mention that the field of impact investing/ESG/values investing has demonstrated it can perform (and in some cases outperform) trusted industry benchmarks.
3. Regional economic development continues to focus on venture and traditional finance as the solution to the capital gap when 83% of companies start and grow with some form of non-traditional capital. Additionally, investors complain about a lack of qualified deals in a community while simultaneously demanding community support entrepreneurs and yet quietly refuse to financially step in with critical risk capital. (Investors need to generate returns and so remain forever in pursuit of the elusive unicorn while not considering the possibility of alternative structures to the equity that may be a win for entrepreneurs and investors alike. It is a forever “chicken and egg” until capital begins to adjust how it envisions deployment/returns/purpose).
4. Communities continue to bifurcate their approaches as well – ignoring the symbiotic relationship between a thriving main street and a thriving entrepreneurial community. We either focus on high growth startups funded through traditional means (still ignoring the 83% of new ventures statistic); or, we kick them to high-risk community development lenders for financing. Ignoring that the high growth companies and the talent they hope to attract want to exist within a community that values culture. A truly regional strategy needs to encompass a full suite of solutions to support all types of new ventures in accessing the risk capital they need.
We believe that access to capital is a necessary part of economic growth.
Access Ventures’ has worked deliberately at the community-level – places like Shelby Park in Louisville, KY; and, more broadly across the country with Kiva, Village Capital and other partners in the pursuit of building a more inclusive and creative economy. Five years in, we have learned a ton as we have worked to address some of the root causes of these issues we face every day. For us, one of the underlying problems that surfaces in many forms is the current economic system itself. While no system is without its limitations and the freedoms we enjoy in the United States affords us many opportunities other nations cannot fathom, it should be our goal to ensure more people every day have what they need in order to thrive.
At Access Ventures, we envision an economy that functions for all people, and in which everyone is valued. We are working to ensure that all people have the financial mobility to pursue their visions, goals, and dreams—not just for themselves, but also for their families and for their communities.
Sign-up today to be the first to learn more as we roll things out in 2020.