Citi, the New York-based banking institution, announced today that it launched the Citi Impact Fund, a $150 million investment vehicle aimed at investing in “double bottom line” businesses — companies which generate financial returns and a positive social impact.
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Citi is funding this new investment vehicle using its own capital, and says it will focus on investing in U.S.-based companies.
The banking institution says its new investment fund is focused on addressing four main challenges: workforce development, access to the financial system, physical and social infrastructure, and companies focused on sustainability.
Citi says it is prepared to make investments of as much as $10 million out of the fund, and expects its prospective portfolio companies to have “demonstrated proof of concept, built an existing customer base, secured prior rounds of funding and exhibited the potential for scale in multiple markets.”
A portion of the fund is “designated for earlier stage seed investments,” the bank said, adding that the seed pool is exclusively earmarked for companies led or owned by women and minorities.
“The gender and ethnic gap in the startup world is very real, with reports showing a small fraction of venture capital funding being allocated to women and minority owned startups,” said Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs at Citi. “Our intention is to not only help these businesses scale and thrive but to also shine a light on the investment opportunities among this pool of often overlooked, high potential entrepreneurs.”
Citi says the new investment fund will ride alongside its existing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias