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The Capital Access Lab has invested $3.4 million in six funds to date, catalyzing at least an additional $166 million in investments.

“Your gender, where you live, or the color of your skin should not determine whether you can start a business,” said Philip Gaskin, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “The Capital Access Lab is non-traditional by design because the status quo for how people secure capital is no longer an option. We were thrilled to see such a diverse pipeline of funds show interest in the lab in its first year, and we are certain that this model will help even more entrepreneurs access the capital they need to focus on growth, profitability, and building a sustainable community.”

1863 Ventures

1863 Ventures is a business development program committed to helping accelerate New Majority businesses from high potential to high growth. In 2019, 1863 Ventures supported over 500 entrepreneurs, generated over $50M in new revenue in their businesses, and helped create over 1,300 new jobs through its member enterprises. They leverage content, cohorts, and capital to achieve the goal to create $100B of new wealth in New Majority communities in 10 years.

The 1863 Fund will invest in member enterprises committed to revenue growth, job creation, and community impact. They will leverage revenue-based financing as a vehicle to support business growth and equitable ownership, and will invest in businesses across multiple sectors, who have no less than 50% Black leadership with the intent to scale to create company and community wealth.

Anzu Partners

Anzu Partners is an investment firm that funds industrial and life science technology companies in manufacturing, materials, modeling and measurement. Anzu invests in innovations that are developed across the United States, with a portfolio company in every US time zone. The firm identifies opportunities from colleges, universities, national science labs and other centers of technology, and its focus on industrial innovations and scientific breakthroughs provides capital for entrepreneurs that innovate outside of the traditional focus for VC. Anzu teams with entrepreneurs and executives to develop and commercialize technological innovations by providing capital and capabilities in business development, market positioning, global connectivity, and operations.

Past investments have included MultiMechanics, a spinout from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, which was acquired by Siemens in late 2019, and current investments include Niron Magnetics, a spinout from the University of Minnesota.

Capacity Capital

Capacity Capital invests in businesses built by hardworking everyday heroes that are off the beaten path for most banks and other forms of business capital. They build capacity for companies and communities through a unique focus on revenues over valuations. Capacity Capital’s approach provides higher long-term value for underestimated business leaders and the places they call home.

Capacity Capital has invested in companies including Charlie’s BBQ & Bakery, a woman-owned catering and restaurant company in Chattanooga, Tennessee committed to hiring locally and expanding their footprint, and Rent Sons, a Rhode Island-based company that empowers local community managers to match young future leaders with clients who need “helping hands” with odd jobs.

Collab Capital

Collab Capital, based in Atlanta, uses an innovative model that specifically targets early-stage Black founders and investors in the U.S. In June, Collab Capital finalized its first investment with Hairbrella, an Atlanta-based business with the #1 rain hat on Amazon. As a result of the investment, the company was able to launch the Hairbrella Pro – a new iteration with a face shield to support essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. focuses on widening the net for entrepreneurs by providing seed funding to nascent entrepreneurs through their scout program.’s model prioritizes businesses that don’t scale big enough or fast enough for traditional VC funds. is building an alternative startup ecosystem to fund and scale businesses, and is creating a viable ecosystem of angels, advisors, investors, lenders, and legal structures especially for women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.

Founders First Capital Partners

Founders First Capital Partners is building a comprehensive ecosystem through its proprietary platform to empower underrepresented founders to become leading premium wage job creators within their communities. They provide revenue-based funding and business acceleration support to service-based small businesses located outside of major capital markets such as Silicon Valley and New York City. We focus on supporting businesses led by women, people of color, and military veterans, inclusive teams, and businesses located in low- to moderate-income areas.

Interested in joining the Capital Access Lab*? We are seeking:

  • Fund managers who are testing and validating new approaches to investment, founder ownership, and investor liquidity. Examples might include revenue-based investing, performance-based equity, and employee stock ownership models.
  • A range of approaches to risk/return/liquidity that operate outside the traditional profile of venture capital and small business lenders.
  • Investment strategies linked to increased revenue growth and faster paths to profitability for entrepreneurs, rather than measuring success based on increases in valuation or additional funds raised.
  • Fund managers who aim to be a part of a broader community of practice seeking innovative ways to reduce barriers for entrepreneurial capital. We seek fund managers who are willing to open-source term sheets, share investment practices, and teach and learn together.

Further, funds can be sidecar, pilot, or experimental vehicles launched by established organizations, as well as new organizations. Fund managers will need to explain how support from the Capital Access Lab will be catalytic to the formation of a new strategy or model.

If you are a fund manager interested in applying for funding through the Capital Access Lab and have questions before you begin your application, or if you are interested in investing in the Capital Access Lab or want to submit your ideas or best practices, please contact Brendan Cosgrove.

*Fund managers, the Capital Access Lab is fully committed as of December 31, 2020, but wants to continue to meet new funds and support building the alternative capital ecosystem.

Interested fund managers ready to apply for funding through the Capital Access Lab can contact us through the Kauffman portal by Submitting a New Idea. To ensure you are considered as part of the Capital Access Lab, select your area of interest as “Entrepreneurship” and your strategic focus as “Capital Access.”