Impact America Fund founder and General Partner Kesha Cash has closed on a second institutional fund at $55 million. Impact America Fund is one of the largest fund raises led by a Black female general partner. This marks a significant increase from the first fund, which closed in 2014 at $10 million.
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The second fund has a large investor base with 67 limited partners. They include several foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Surdna Foundation. The clients of large wealth managers such as Cambridge Associates, Veris Wealth Partners, Caprock, Trillium Impact Partners and Monticello Associates also invested. And UBS committed capital through its CRA portfolio, which is targeted to make access to capital more inclusive.
The goal of the fund is to invest in companies with an “outsized impact on low and moderate income communities,” said Cash in an interview with Crunchbase News. “Eighty percent of the companies we’ve already invested in are led by a person of color. Seventy percent of them are Black-led. And while explicitly focusing on the diversity of founders is important work, it’s not our strategy.”
Raising, investing and building
The new fund has had multiple closes with a plan to invest in 25 companies. It has already made 11 investments including:
- CareAcademy — training for senior care professionals.
- Solo Funds — a loan platform for cash shortfalls.
- Upswing — a college coaching platform.
Sixty percent of the fund will be reserved for follow-on investing.
Impact America Fund has become known for investing in bridge rounds, according to Cash. This is for companies who want to hit a few more milestones before they raise a Series A from a large notable investor. With cash on their balance sheet they are negotiating from a position of strength.
“If we’re writing a check in the bridge phase, we believe they’re going to get to the other side, and we’re going to dedicate and devote our time over that,” she said.
The team is nationally distributed with individual members in Southern and Northern California, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The majority of the current portfolio is on the West Coast.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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