We bridge the financial and cultural divides that have kept low- and moderate-income people of color on the sidelines of the modern economy.
We make early-stage investments in tech-driven businesses that create new frameworks of ownership and opportunity within marginalized communities. We also help our founders get traction with institutional investors, who often don’t have the expertise or lived experience in these communities to appreciate the huge opportunities at hand. We know that investing in social impact does not require sacrificing on financial returns.
“IAF came out of a lifetime of straddling two worlds: the world of Section 8 housing, working-class parents, and public assistance where I grew up, and the world of Wall Street and big business that I came to inhabit. It’s about advancing opportunity for black and brown people through foundational change. It’s about building an economy, a world, where people of color are no longer outsiders — where they truly belong.”
— Kesha Cash, Founder & General Partner
This is morally imperative. Decades of structural racism and oppression have created a major wealth gap for communities of color—and that gap is growing. We are capable of creating a more just and equitable future for these communities, and so that is what we must do.
This is smart investing. Traditional investors chronically undervalue or overlook business opportunities in low- and moderate-income communities.
This is about all of us. Economic disenfranchisement impacts everyone, not just those of us at the margins. To thrive as a whole society, we must make real economic participation and agency possible for all people of color — entrepreneurs, consumers, workers, everyone.
This is personal. Everyone on our team is a person of color, a woman, or both, and many of us come from the kinds of communities our portfolio companies serve. We know what we are capable of, and we live by this truth: “best-in-class” can’t exist without the whole class present.
“We want to see institutional changes in how products and services are designed, who designs them, and who they are designed for. If we're building companies and products and solutions that affect a community, that community must be drawn into the decision-making process. Is this an unusual or radical proposition? I don't think so.”
— Kaiton Williams, Investor & Cultural Technologist speaking before an audience of global corporate directors
We invest primarily from Seed to Series B. We focus on companies that are growing quickly, with demonstrated traction in a $1B+ market, and make investments in the range of $250K to $3M. We also provide bridge funding between rounds when we believe that an influx of capital will help a company weather a storm, make key hires, or negotiate better terms.
The inherent impact standard. We look for business models whose potential for success is directly linked to their potential for impact at scale. This means that the forces that drive business success must also contribute to increased ownership, opportunity, or other forms of empowerment. We call this connection "inherent impact," and it’s the standard for the depth and durability of the impact we want to have.
Lived experience as a competitive advantage. Our entrepreneurs have direct knowledge of the communities, systems, and problems we want to address. This is not an emotional preference on our part. We've learned that founders with lived experience, rather than an outsider's assumptions, have a deeper sense of urgency and are best-equipped to design products with scale and staying power.
Technological innovation with thoughtful constraints. Venture-backed startups often achieve their "hockey stick growth" at the expense of the companies themselves and to the communities they intend to serve. We want ethical, inclusive, and sustainable outcomes, so we look for products and services that are built and scaled with careful constraints and dedication to their workers and customers.