Elevate Capital, a new venture capital firm based in Portland, today unveiled its first funds.
The firm announced that it closed both a $10 million Elevate Capital fund, as well as $3 million Elevate “Inclusive” fund that was created by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to help provide capital to early-stage companies founded by underrepresented groups.
Six women and minority-led startups as part of the “Inclusive” fund will receive $25,000-to-$75,000 in investment, as well as mentorship from Elevate’s network. You can read about each startup below.
The “Inclusive” fund included a $250,000 investment from the State of Oregon; $500,000 from Multnomah County; $500,000 from PDC; and participation from other angel investors. Governor Kate Brown, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, and PDC Executive Director Kimberly Branam attended a showcase event in Portland today to celebrate the funds.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) August 31, 2016
Elevate will invest up to $500,000 in seed and Series A-type investments for its main fund. The firm is led by is led by Managing Director Nitin Rai, a 26-year veteran of Portland who founded First Insight Corporation in 1994 and has invested in 18 startups across Oregon.
Rai told GeekWire in January that Elevate is different from other firms in the Portland region because it is led by entrepreneurs; its leadership team includes Robin Jones, Eric Boothe, and Stephen Green. He added that his team at Elevate has a “very close-knit network of other funders” available for syndication if larger seed and Series A investments need to be made.
Here is a rundown of Elevate’s first “Inclusive” cohort, with descriptions from Elevate:
Blendoor: Founded by Stephanie Lampkin, an African American entrepreneur. Blendoor is a blind recruiting app that hides a candidate’s name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias. In just a few months since beta launch, Blendoor has attracted over 250 companies, 5,000+ candidates and has been features in Forbes, NPR, and Fast Company. The team of Stanford and MIT graduates hold over 30 years combined experience at companies spanning Microsoft, Netscape, Simply Hired, and BCG. Blendoor is based in Silicon Valley, but plans to establish a presence in Portland Oregon. Blendoor received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
Goumikids: Co-founded by Lilli Yeo, an Asian American entrepreneur and former veteran employee at Nike. Goumikids is a kids apparel company with deep roots in social mission and sustainability. It makes mitts, boots, hats, jamms and preemies. Ten percent of all proceeds, and 100% of proceeds from goumigiving go directly to support efforts that protect children and invest in improving the lives of girls globally including girls rescued from human trafficking and orphaned children. Goumikids is based in the Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC) accelerator in Beaverton, Oregon. Goumikids received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
Hubb: Founded by Allison Magyar, a serial woman entrepreneur. Hubb brings order to the chaos of content management for meetings and conferences via automation and helps reduce costs of managing events for large corporation via its cloud based software. Founded by veteran event management professionals, Hubb is based in Vancouver, Washington, but hires a number of employees who live in Portland, Oregon. Hubb received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.
I.T. Aire: Co-founded by Jason Patz, a disabled veteran. I.T. Aire specializes in providing the world’s most reliable and energy efficient Data-Center Cooling Systems. The company also holds key utility patents protecting popular data-center cooling techniques, which are licensed to data-centers for use in accomplishing their energy efficiency initiatives. ITAire is based in Portland, Oregon. I.T. Aire received funding from both Elevate Inclusive Fund and Elevate Capital Fund.
RFPIO: Founded by Ganesh Shankar, an Indian American entrepreneur. RFPIO’s cloud-based Request for Proposals (RFP) software is a response management solution that eliminates the friction often associated with responding to RFPs and significantly reduces cost of managing the RFP process for businesses. RFPIO is based in Beaverton, Oregon. RFPIO received funding from both Elevate Inclusive Fund and Elevate Capital Fund.
Versi: Co-founded by Gorge Guzman, a Hispanic American entrepreneur. Versi is a Yelp-like mobile app that allows businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to expose their products, services, programs and community resources to the growing Latino market. Versi is based in Portland, Oregon. Versi received funding from Elevate Inclusive Fund.