Through 2019, ICA has funded five businesses which have grown in value by $76.3MM since ICA made our initial investments. Together, these Investment portfolio companies have raised more than $30MM in outside capital, raising $16.5MM in 2019 alone.
2019 was a year of cultivating growth and stewarding our investments. ICA’s companies largely continued to meet their profitability and social impact goals, though one of our original investment companies, Prather Ranch Meat Company, closed its doors after more than 15 years in business. Several of our small businesses reached new heights in funding and media attention, opening new locations, expanding product lines, and expanding benefits offered to workers.
Companies in the ICA portfolio are led by management teams that are composed of a majority of people of color. They showed that good jobs are good business, growing average wages by close to 9% from 2018. These companies also grew revenues by 22%. The strength ICA’s portfolio companies nurtured in 2019 have helped them be resilient in facing the challenges of 2020.
In 2019, ICA’s signature Accelerator program celebrated growth on several fronts: two Accelerator Cohorts, new opportunities for companies to connect with investors, new geographic reach, and new team members. In total, ICA’s Accelerator companies raised close to $800K in 2019, employed 360 workers, and continued their track record of success.
When our 2019 Accelerator companies suddenly faced disaster in early 2020, ICA was there to continue the journey by providing capital and support to help them navigate the economic shutdown.
ICA continued to expand key aspects of the Accelerator program in 2019. We introduced a series of small business education events to serve more companies outside of the main Accelerator cohorts. We also launched the first-ever ICA Accelerator Pitch Events, allowing entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses in front of a live audience.
The Pitch Events get to the heart of the ICA Accelerator – opening doors to connection, capital, and community. When an entrepreneur steps on stage, it’s more than just a pitch. That brief time represents the culmination of their work in the Accelerator and showcases the hard work they’ve put into growing a successful business. The events are a true celebration of the entrepreneurs’ work, courage, and accomplishments.
While this Impact Report focuses on 2019, we cannot ignore the challenges that 2020 has brought. As Reem, Maria, and Fernay share in their posts for this Impact Report, the pressure COVID-19 has put on small businesses since March is hard to overstate. This pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the physical, emotional, and financial health of small business owners and workers. “Pivot” has now become jargon in our pandemic lexicon. But we are awestruck at the grit, guts, creativity, and resilience ICA companies have demonstrated over the past six months.
ICA’s mission is to accelerate great businesses. Facing the COVID-19 crisis, however, we knew that our first job was to help small businesses survive and stabilize, and then provide them the runway to adapt to the new reality. On March 20, ICA launched our Rapid Response Liquidity Fund to address the immediate and urgent cash needs of our businesses.
ICA’s investors and funders, new and enduring, answered our call to help us provide what businesses needed most: 0%-interest loans with near-immediate working capital and responsive, virtual crisis support. Thanks to the incredible support from our community of donors, to date ICA has deployed $840,000 to 21 companies from throughout the Bay Area. Nearly 90% of these companies are led by entrepreneurs of color, including 45% Black entrepreneurs; 75% are led by women entrepreneurs. They collectively represent more than 120 jobs and generate nearly $12 million in revenues.