Global investment bank Citi has launched a $150m impact investment fund targeting US companies addressing four “societal challenges”.
Citi said it planned to use the fund to back businesses innovating in areas including training and connecting people to careers, increasing access to the financial system, improving ways of life through housing, healthcare and transport, and sustainable energy, water and production.
Michael Corbat, CEO at Citi, said, “It takes companies of all sizes to address the challenges our society faces today.
“While Citi’s global footprint and scale allow us to use our balance sheet to play an important role, smaller, newer, ‘double bottom line’ companies play an equally important role in driving change.”
The fund is believed to be the largest of its kind to be launched by a bank using its own capital.
Investments, which could be as high as $10m, will primarily be made in companies that have demonstrated proof of concept, built an existing customer base, secured prior rounds of funding and exhibited the potential for scale in multiple markets. A portion of the fund is designated for earlier stage seed investments.
Citi added that it would actively seek opportunities to invest in businesses led or owned by women and minority entrepreneurs.
As part of that commitment, the seed funding will be allocated exclusively to that category of investments.
Ed Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs at Citi, said, “The gender and ethnic gap in the startup world is very real, with reports showing a small fraction of venture capital funding being allocated to women and minority owned startups./
“Our intention is to not only help these businesses scale and thrive but to also shine a light on the investment opportunities among this pool of often overlooked, high potential entrepreneurs.”
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