Citi Launches $150 Million Impact Fund to Invest in “Double Bottom Line” Startups With an Emphasis on Women and Minority Entrepreneurs
As part of its effort to narrow the gender and ethnic gap in the startup world, Citi announced today the launch of the $150 million Citi Impact Fund that will make equity investments in “double bottom line” private sector companies that have a positive impact on society.
This is the largest fund of its kind to be launched by a bank using its own capital. Investments, which could be as high as $10 million, will primarily be made in companies that 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.
Citi said in an announcement that it will invest its own capital in U.S.-based companies that are applying innovative solutions to help address four societal challenges: Workforce Development, Financial Capability, Physical & Social Infrastructure, and Sustainability.
“It takes companies of all sizes to address the challenges our society faces today,” said Citi CEO Michael Corbat. “While Citi’s global footprint and scale allow us to use our balance sheet to play an important role, smaller, newer, ‘double bottom line’ companies play an equally important role in driving change.”
Citi will actively seek opportunities to invest in businesses that are led or owned by women and minority entrepreneurs. As part of that commitment, the seed funding will be allocated exclusively to investments in businesses 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, 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’s approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) includes executing a business model that adds value to society through its products, catalyzing innovation through strategic philanthropy and taking a stand on issues that matter. This fund will complement Citi’s existing efforts, with the goal of achieving financial returns while making a positive societal impact. The focus areas above are areas where Citi has experience through its philanthropy, business transactions and its own operations and advocacy.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.