The company raised $ 11 million in Series A to accelerate funding and advisory support to small businesses run by various

SAN DIEGO, November 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Founders First Capital Partners (Founders First), the leading income-based advisory and funding investment platform for underserved and diverse small businesses, today announced it has closed an $ 11 million Series A funding round . This funding has been significantly oversubscribed and allows Founders First to continue to level the playing field for small businesses led by various groups by accelerating the rollout of a $ 100 million credit facility from Community Investment Management. Since first Series A funding round in February 2021, the WK Kellogg Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates Company, the Schultz Family Foundation and Arc Chicago, LLC have joined as investors. Arc Chicago, LLC is a fund created by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to implement its Benefit Chicago collaboration with The Chicago Community Trust and Calvert Impact Capital.

“We are delighted to welcome world-class social impact institutions as partners to support exceptional entrepreneurs and businesses that create opportunity within their communities and across the country,” said Kim Folsom, Founder, President and CEO of Founders First. “By working together, we are building an inclusive economy to generate significant social and financial returns, and we also demonstrate the value proposition of supporting small businesses run by diverse people. “

Founders First helps support small businesses run by women, people of color, LGBTQ +, military veterans and businesses in low to moderate income areas by providing acceleration services and funding based on income (RBF). This financing is more flexible than traditional bank debt, allowing payments to vary based on monthly income, and it helps minimize the use of merchant cash advances (MCA) which can leave businesses with triple-digit annual rates. .

Founders First’s innovative performance platform provides structured growth training, coaching, financial health and post-funding advice, as well as operational and execution support, to position diverse businesses for the creation of well-paid jobs. Of the more than 400 companies that have taken Founders First programs, 71% reported an increase in revenue in 12 months and 65% reported a 25% increase in revenue in six months.

“The WK Kellogg Foundation’s commitment to racial equity and economic opportunity is fully aligned with Founders First’s powerful model of investing in small businesses that historically have not had fair access to capital,” including those led by women and people of color, “said Carla Thompson Peyton, Vice President of Program Strategy at the WK Kellogg Foundation. “We are excited about how Founders First reframe risks and align incentives with its innovative revenue-based financing that enables entrepreneurs to retain ownership of capital and build wealth in communities of color. “

Typical Founders First borrowers are businesses that generate between $ 500,000 and $ 5 million in annual revenue, with growth potential in excess of $ 10 million. Three companies that have received support and funding from Founders First have been named to the List 2021 Inc 5000, the annual recognition of the publication of the 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the United States. The three companies, Blu Digital Group, JLM Talent Strategic Partners and OnShore Technology Group, are women led – two by black women and one by a LatinX and LGBTQ + leader.

“At the heart of our work at Pivotal Ventures is the belief that every individual should have an equal opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of others,” said Erin Harkless Moore, Director of Investments at Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company. Founders First exemplifies this principle with its mission to advance opportunities for women and families of color by launching financial support for businesses run by various groups, as well as with its own founder, a woman of color who has now launched seven successful businesses. “

Founders First’s team of expert entrepreneurs and investors bring to the company over 60 years of experience in coaching, financing and growing small businesses. Kim Folsom, the founder of the company, launched and developed six technology companies and successfully liquidated three. It has raised over $ 145 million in total committed capital.

“BIPOC and other businesses belonging to diverse groups are essential vehicles for generating wealth, creating jobs and increasing equity in communities that have historically been excluded from equal access to opportunities without it was their fault, ”said Tyra Mariani, President of the Schultz Family Foundation. “We are proud to invest in these high growth companies through Founders First and believe this will help forge a more inclusive economy, close the wealth and employment gap and strengthen our democracy. “

“Supporting the success of entrepreneurs of color and small businesses in underserved communities through Founders First’s innovative, revenue-based funding approach presents a powerful opportunity to fight racial injustice and build a better future. fair in Chicago and beyond, ”said John Balbach, Director, Impact Investing at the MacArthur Foundation.

To expand its inclusiveness efforts, Founders First will release a report on the Inclusive Economy Market at the end of this month. To be notified of this announcement, please reserve your copy.

On Founders First Capital Partners

Founders First Capital Partners is building a complete ecosystem through its proprietary platform to empower underrepresented founders to become the primary creators of paid jobs within their communities. We provide revenue-based financing and business acceleration support to small, service-based businesses located outside of major capital markets such as Silicon Valley and New York City. We focus on supporting businesses run by women, people of color and military veterans, inclusive teams, and businesses located in low to moderate income areas. Our proprietary business accelerator programs, learning platform, and growth methodologies transform these underserved service businesses into recurring revenue companies of $ 5- $ 50 million, while delivering high-end investments. return for fund limited partners (LPs) that operate like bonds but generate returns comparable to those of equity investments. Each year, Founders First Capital Partners works with hundreds of entrepreneurs and offers 3 cohort programs through our Founders Business Growth Bootcamp and 4 cohorts through our FastPath Funding Growth Experience program.

About the WK Kellogg Foundation

The WK Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent private foundation by innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have equal opportunities to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so that they can reach their full potential at school, at work and in the workplace. life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works in the United States and abroad, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is given to priority locations where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. Priority locations for the WKKF in the United States are Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information visit

About the Schultz Family Foundation

The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, former CEO and Chairman Emeritus of Starbucks, creates pathways of opportunity for populations facing barriers to success, focusing on young people in transition to adulthood and marginalized populations, including Blacks, Aboriginals, people of Communities of Color. By investing in scalable solutions and partnerships in communities across the country, the Foundation aims to help overcome the barriers and obstacles that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential and, in so doing, strengthen our communities and our nation. Learn more about

About Benefit Chicago and Arc Chicago, LLC

Launched in 2016, Benefit Chicago is a collaboration between the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust and Calvert Impact Capital. He seeks to raise $ 100 million in catalytic capital for nonprofits and social enterprises in Chicago. The goal of this impact investing effort is to create jobs, create wealth, and address other social and economic challenges, with a particular focus on communities of color, low-income households. income and historically marginalized communities. Arc Chicago, LLC, is an investment fund created by MacArthur to promote the goals of Benefit Chicago.

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