Raven Indigenous Capital Partners launches $46M Fund II

The fund aims to drive economic inclusion and prosperity among Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and has a target size of $75M.

Photo: Unsplash

Vancouver’s Raven Indigenous Capital Partners – North America’s only Indigenous-led and owned venture capital intermediary – launched its second fund today, named Raven Fund II. The organization announced its initial close of $46 million, and a target size of $75 million. The money will be invested as late seed and early-stage capital for innovative, scalable, and purpose-driven Indigenous enterprises.

Investors to the new fund include BDC Capital, Farm Credit Canada, the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, Vancity, Bank of America, and others.

Why it matters: Indigenous businesses are chronically underfunded. There are an estimated 325,000 Indigenous-owned companies in North America, including about 50,000 in Canada, according to the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses. Most struggle to access the required financing and networks to fulfill their potential, in part because Indigenous entrepreneurs cannot – or, understandably, do not want to – access traditional capital.

A fledgling approach: Companies applying for the Raven II Fund are screened through a unique, Indigenous-focused impact framework that expresses and reflects Indigenous ways of knowing and being. The fund’s goal is to empower Indigenous entrepreneurs with the capital and expertise they need to succeed, while recognizing progress is based on building trust.

“We want to transform the concept of money as power and extractions, to money as medicine, paving a path to healing, community empowerment, and economic reconciliation,” said Stephen Nairne, chief investment officer at Raven Capital. That’s why every dollar we invest is explicitly linked to elevating Indigenous peoples and communities.”

Taking wing: Raven’s first fund, launched in 2019, set an initial goal of $5 million and closed at $25 million. To date, it has made 20 investments in 11 companies, including Victoria-based OneFeather, a company developing Indigenous banking solutions, which is in the process of raising a Series B. Based on investor interest in Raven Fund II, Raven expects to reach its final closing target soon.

Birdsong: “At BDC, our role is to create more inclusive prosperity in Canada by supporting the creation of innovative businesses,” says Alison Nankivell, senior vice president of fund investments and global scaling at BDC Capital. “Raven is redefining venture capital from an Indigenous perspective. They’re demonstrating it’s possible to create a fund anchored in Indigenous culture and traditions, with a mandate to make a positive impact in Indigenous communities and deliver competitive financial returns.”

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