Raven launches $100m Indigenous venture-capital fund

Capital is set to go to Indigenous ventures that demonstrate viability

Raven's funds aims to address what the firm considers critical gaps in the Indigenous-finance ecosystem |Josh Laverty, Eplus, Getty Images

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners today announced that it has closed a $100 million venture-capital fund that is set to back early and growth-stage Indigenous enterprises.

The money was raised from many investors, including foundations, such as the McConnell Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Bush Foundation. There were also institutional investors, such as Bank of America, VanCity Credit Union, Telus Pollinator Fund, InBC Investment Corp., BDC and Economic Development Canada.

InBC told BIV in December that it was earmarking between $5 million and $10 million to several different Vancouver-based venture capital firms, including Raven.

This is Raven’s second venture-capital fund, after a $25-million first fund, which launched in May 2019.

Its website lists portfolio companies from its first fund as including the digital agency Animikii, the cosmetics company Cheekbone Beauty and the software-testing venture PLATO Testing.

Raven lists its offices as being in Vancouver and in Ottawa. Its investments, however, are not exclusively in Canadian companies. One of its investee companies is Ginew, which is a Portland, Oregon-based family business, according to Raven’s website.

The intent is for the fund to invest in companies during the next three to four years. The life of the fund is 10 years, Raven told BIV in an email.  

“Fund II will build on the success of Fund I to invest exclusively in Indigenous enterprises that demonstrate commercial viability, potential for scale, and measurable community benefit streams,” Raven said in a press release.

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business CEO Tabatha Bull said, “investing the time, effort, and funds into Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses across a variety of sectors creates a tangible impact toward the common goal of a prosperous Indigenous economy."

Raven’s second fund aims to address what the firm considers critical gaps in the Indigenous-finance ecosystem

“It provides patient equity and equity-like capital that are essential to the development and scaling of Indigenous enterprises,” Raven said in its release. “And, as an Indigenous-led and owned intermediary, Raven offers a culturally grounded and relationship-driven approach to partnership.”

Raven’s second fund is intended to be sector-agnostic, and investments are set to be targeted at five thematic areas:
•information technology and software as a service;
•climate and clean energy;
•food sovereignty and regenerative agriculture;
•health; and
•next generation consumer products.

gkorstrom@biv.com

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