Impact-focused VC ICA Fund closes inaugural fund for Bay Area small businesses at $10 million, announces new $25 million fund
Oakland, Calif., Oct. 13, 2023—Impact-focused nonprofit venture capital firm ICA Fund today announced the closing of its inaugural fund at $10 million. Launched in 2016, the fund has invested in over 50 businesses around the San Francisco Bay Area. Portfolio companies include local staples like Firebrand Artisan Breads, Red Bay Coffee, Bake Sum, and Back to the Roots, and 90% of funding has gone to women or entrepreneurs of color.
ICA Fund plans to raise and invest a $25 million fund to support local businesses by 2028. Over the past five years, ICA Fund has achieved remarkable growth in its asset size, surging from $5.7 million in 2018 to $19.3 million in 2023, reflecting its plans to scale investments in local businesses. This asset base will also expand ICA Fund’s ability to leverage debt capital and rapidly increase its support for small businesses.
“We’re tremendously proud to support local entrepreneurs in their work to build wealth for themselves, their communities, and their employees,” said Allison Kelly, CEO of ICA Fund. “Every single entrepreneur in our portfolio not only brings innovation to their respective industries, but positive impact and good jobs. This $10 million milestone is a testament to the dedication and leadership of our team. ICA Fund is looking forward to accelerating our work and funding even more business owners around the Bay Area.”
Many of ICA Fund’s investments were made through the organization’s innovative Impact Note model, which offers debt-free equity funding that returns ownership percentages back to the business as they meet social impact milestones such as creation of good jobs, implementation of sustainable business practices, and profit-sharing with employees. ICA Fund pairs its funding with high-caliber business advising to help businesses prepare to take on outside capital. Every $1 invested by ICA Fund generates $7 in outside capital, helping businesses quickly and sustainably accelerate.
ICA Fund is one of only 15 venture capital-certified community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the country and the only in Northern California working to ensure that everyday, Main Street businesses – such as coffee shops, retailers, breweries, and bakeries – can access equity-based, debt-free funding that allows entrepreneurs to continue investing in their businesses during critical growth periods instead of making monthly payments on a bank loan.
“The investment I got from ICA was a real game-changer for Bolita Masa. I was finally able to buy the better, more commercial equipment I needed to produce on a larger scale. It's amazing how much more I can get done now,” says Emmanuel Galvan, founder of Bolita Masa, an heirloom masa tortilleria based in Berkeley, California. “Thanks to that support, I've been able to expand my sales channels and even hire two new employees. It feels great to be growing and making an impact in my community.”
In 2022 alone, ICA Fund served 117 Bay Area businesses and invested $2.4 million in local entrepreneurs, with 100% of every dollar going to women or people of color. Companies that worked with ICA had a 16% overall job growth, contributing a total of 836 local jobs in the Bay Area. Since its launch in 1996, ICA Fund has worked behind-the-scenes to fund, nurture, and mentor more than 900 successful local businesses.
About ICA Fund
ICA Fund accelerates great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps. We support small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area led by founders of color and women by providing capital, coaching, and connections. ICA Fund helps entrepreneurs grow the value of their businesses and create wealth for themselves and their employees, driving toward our vision of an economy that works for all.