Ulili Onovakpuri and Brian Dixon raised Fund III, securing $126 million and investing in 15 companies to date
OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Kapor Capital — one of the first Venture Capital firms to invest in early stage startups that close gaps of access for all — announces the launch of Fund III, raised by managing partners Ulili Onovakpuri and Brian Dixon. The $126 million fund is the firm’s largest to date and continues its legacy of investing in tech startups affecting social change that positively impact low-income communities and communities of color.
Fund III marks an inflection point for the firm as it’s the first time Kapor Capital has partnered with multiple limited partners, which include Cambridge Associates, Align Impact, Ford Foundation, Bank of America, PayPal, Twilio, Footlocker, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, EIP Elevate Future Fund, Southern Poverty Law, The California Wellness Foundation, National Geographic Society, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Stardust Equity. Onovakpuri and Dixon began raising the fund in 2021 and have already invested in 15 companies, including Cayaba Care, a maternity support service; Daylight, the first digital banking platform designed for the LGBTQ+ community by the LGBTQ+ community; and TomoCredit, a credit card for young adults, students and immigrants.
“Investing in innovative people and ideas is what fuels economic and societal progress, but far too often access to that capital is unequal and unbalanced,” said Roy Swan, Director of Mission Investments at Ford Foundation. “We are thrilled to partner with Kapor Capital to ensure that the bright minds looking to transform our industries have the resources they need to soar.”
For over a decade, Kapor Capital has invested at the intersection of tech and social impact. Onovakpuri and Dixon will continue leading Kapor Capital in its mission to invest in founders who share the desire to build businesses that create a more equitable economic future—one that doesn’t discriminate based on who you know or what zip code you grew up in.
“What excites us about Kapor Capital are the layers of impact embedded in the fund’s strategy that are also reflected in their team,” explains Brandon Boros, Associate Director of Align Impact. “The focus on closing gaps for low-income communities and communities of color, in addition to the emphasis on supporting entrepreneurs with lived experience from those communities, is a powerful combination to address social justice and racial equity issues in our society. We’re drawn to the sectors and early stage at which Kapor Capital is investing, the unique entrepreneurial profile they’re seeking, and proud to support Brian, Ulili, and the Kapor Capital team as they expand their track record of elevating historically marginalized individuals and communities.”
Helena Hasselmann, Managing Director of Stardust Equity, notes: “Stardust has long admired Kapor’s mission and authenticity, and had the privilege of working in community with Ulili and Brian before becoming an LP. They are true pioneers of gap-closing investing, and we could not be prouder to support a team who has an impressive track record and a genuine understanding of the communities that we aim to empower.”
“Diverse-led venture capital funds create tremendous value in their work to make capital inclusive and accessible to founders and entrepreneurs of color,” said Anthony Oni, Managing Partner of EIP Elevate Future Fund. “The funds we are investing in Kapor Capital will further place capital in the hands of diverse people with the lived experiences to solve for inequity in marginalized communities. We look forward to watching this investment grow under the leadership of Ulili and Brian as they continue proving that diversity is key to a just and bright future.”
For Fund III founders, Kapor Capital’s investment approach is already proving to be invaluable. “As a queer founder building for the queer community, joining the Kapor portfolio felt like coming home,” said Rob Curtis, CEO and Co-Founder of Daylight. “Under-represented founders need more than just advice and connections — community support creates immense value. Brian and the Kapor Capital team helped us have the greatest chance of success growing from Seed to Series A.”
Dr. Olan Soremekun, CEO and Co-Founder of Cayaba Care, explains, “Beyond capital, Kapor invests in infrastructure and a team that shows the commitment in supporting founders to build impactful businesses. Our company has benefited tremendously from partnering with Kapor Capital — attending programming that is designed for founders, leveraging their in-house expertise to help shape our people and growth strategy, and tapping into the human resources network to fill our first critical hire.” “The Kapor team truly understands Tomo’s mission of unlocking credit opportunities for immigrants and minorities,” adds Kristy Kim, CEO and Founder of TomoCredit. “I am excited to partner with Kapor so we can not only generate financial returns from business but also make the world a better place.”
To date, of Kapor Capital’s Fund III investment portfolio, 46% of investments have a founder who identifies as a woman, 53% of investments have a founder who identifies as Black and 100% of investments have a founder who identifies as an underrepresented person of color.
“Fund III is the culmination of years of work championing tech startups that revolutionize people’s lives across a vast set of industries,” said Brian Dixon, Managing Partner at Kapor Capital. “I’m excited to continue to demonstrate the positive outcomes that investing generates — from creating new jobs, to providing growth opportunities to underrepresented groups, to solving critical problems for low-income communities and communities of color.”
“Our work at Kapor Capital proves that impact investing is here to stay,” adds Ulili Onovakpuri, Managing Partner at Kapor Capital. “I’m proud of raising this fund and am excited to continue to lead its deployment through our holistic approach fundamentally shifting the practices of the industry—influencing how we source deals, build relationships, and support founders, where positive impact drives profit, making it a crucial measure of success.”
“Having worked closely with Brian and Ulili for more than a decade, we know they are talented investors with unwavering commitment to building gap-closing companies,” remarked Freada Kapor Klein, Founding Partner at Kapor Capital. “Mitch and I are incredibly proud of them and know they will continue to be leaders in transforming the tech and VC ecosystem so that real problems are solved by entrepreneurs whose lived experience drives their passion to transform the quality of daily life in low-income communities and communities of color.”
“From its earliest days, Kapor Capital has pursued investments with the conviction that diverse and socially responsible companies don’t compromise financial returns but are in fact a formidable driver of them. In launching the firm’s largest fund, Brian and Ulili are building the strongest testament to the merits of this principle yet.” said Mitch Kapor, Founding Partner at Kapor Capital.
About Kapor Capital
Since 2011, Kapor Capital has invested exclusively in early stage, tech-driven startups committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and/or communities of color. Led by Ulili Onovakpuri and Brian Dixon, who became managing partners in January 2021, Kapor Capital was one of the first venture capital firms to openly accept cold requests via the website, create a fellows program to provide a pathway for individuals typically underrepresented in venture to enter investing, and launch the Kapor Capital Founders’ Commitment to help portfolio companies make collective progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a family of organizations, Kapor Capital, Kapor Center, and SMASH work collectively at the intersection of tech, diversity, and entrepreneurship to end racial and gender inequities that persist in the tech ecosystem. Learn more at KaporCapital.com
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SOURCE Kapor Capital