Oakland’s hit Asian American bakery Bake Sum lands $200,000 equity investment, including $150,000 from small business accelerator ICA Fund and $50,000 from investor Charles Huang, to accelerate its growth.
Oakland, Calif., June 15, 2023—Bay Area small business accelerator ICA Fund today announced a $150,000 investment in Bake Sum, a popular bakery that won a cult following for its purple pineapple buns, green onion croissants and other Asian-inspired delicacies that have earned it a spot on “best bakery” lists around the Bay. Joined by a $50,000 investment from the investor Charles Huang, this convertible equity funding, made through ICA Fund’s Impact Note, will enable Bake Sum to increase capacity at their Berkeley production space, invest in upgraded equipment, and hire more employees to expand hours at their Oakland storefront.
“It has been an honor to see how the Bay Area has responded to Bake Sum and supported us,” said Bake Sum Founder Joyce Tang. “This investment from ICA Fund and Charles Huang is going to allow us to expand the business in a thoughtful and sustainable manner, bring our pastries to more people, and continue supporting our employees and neighbors. The advising, funding, and network of entrepreneurs I’ve found through ICA Fund have been game changing and I am thrilled to have them with me on this journey.”
Launched in 2020 as a pandemic pivot from a wholesale bakery operation, Bake Sum operated for nearly a year as a pop-up selling boxes of pastries out of the Bread Project, a shared commercial kitchen in Berkeley. In fall 2021, Tang opened Bake Sum’s first brick-and-mortar store in Oakland to lines out the door and rave reviews, including being named one of the best bakeries in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle
Focusing on nostalgic, Asian-influenced pastries, Bake Sum’s creations reflect the unique backgrounds of its employees, many of whom are Asian American Bay Area natives. Popular pastries include mini mochi muffins, its Okonomiyaki danish, and halo-halo buns, inspired by a popular dessert in the Philippines.
In addition to receiving an investment from ICA Fund, Tang is also a graduate of the Accelerator at ICA, an intensive 12-week program helping small businesses with growth strategy, people strategy, capital strategy and investment readiness. The program also connects participants to a network of peers who can use each other as resources on their entrepreneurial journeys.
“We chose Bake Sum for our Accelerator program and for our investment portfolio because not only do we see the business’ incredible growth potential, but also Joyce’s relentless dedication to supporting the community and ultimately building a more equitable economy for everyone,” said Allison Kelly, CEO of ICA Fund. “We can’t wait to see this business continue to thrive and succeed.”
The investments through ICA Fund and Charles Huang were made through ICA Fund’s innovative Impact Note, which offers equity-based, debt free funding to businesses that is returned as businesses meet social impact milestones such as creation of good jobs and sustainability. For Bake Sum, target milestones include increasing its number of employees, implementing profit sharing as a benefit, and distributing equity to its workforce.
In 2022, ICA invested $2.4 million in local businesses, 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.
To request an interview with ICA CEO Allison Kelly or Bake Sum Founder Joyce Tang, contact Cat Ulrich at (831) 252-0792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. ica.fund