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gener8tor and the Forge North Coalition announce historic first investments of fund to invest in high-growth Black, brown, and women entrepreneurs in Minnesota


MSP Equity Fund invests in five top venture capital funds committed to investing in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS–SAINT PAUL, Minn., Feb. 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- gener8tor and Forge North are excited to announce the first investments of the MSP Equity Fund, the first-known venture capital fund of funds in the country designed to invest across race, place, and gender:

  • Bread & Butter Ventures: A seed-stage venture capital firm based in Minneapolis that invests globally in foodtech, digital health, and enterprise SaaS startups and leverages partnerships with Fortune 500 and large enterprises based in Minnesota to uniquely support companies post investment;

  • M25: An early-stage software-focused venture firm based in Chicago, investing solely in companies headquartered in the Midwest;

  • Capitalize VC: A woman-led venture capital fund that invests in diverse founders who are leading the next generation of innovation in commerce enablement, fintech, and consumer brands;

  • Tundra Ventures: An early-stage venture capital firm based in Minneapolis and San Francisco that invests in the tech, health, and consumer packaged goods sectors, and;

  • Brown Venture Group: A venture capital investment firm based in Saint Paul that invests in overlooked and undervalued market investment segmentation within technology startups.

Powered by gener8tor and the GREATER MSP Partnership, the MSP Equity Fund invests in leading local and national venture-capital funds that commit to investing a portion of their capital into high-growth startups led by Black, brown, and women entrepreneurs that are headquartered in Minnesota or willing to relocate to the state. The MSP Equity Fund umbrella also includes the MSP Equity Direct Investment Fund, a seed fund that will invest directly in high-growth Black, brown, and women-led startups in Minnesota, and the MSP Equity Accelerator, an intensive 12-week, cohort-based accelerator program, which includes one-on-one coaching, mentorship-driven programming, more than one million dollars in deals and perks, and more than 100 connections to the gener8tor network of mentors and investors.

Lead investors include Abōva, Allianz Life, Allina Health, Xcel Energy, Securian Financial, and a Minnesota-based family foundation. The fund is managed by gener8tor partner Al Cornish. To date, the fund of funds has raised over ten million dollars.

“We are thrilled at the first five investments of the MSP Equity Fund,” said Al Cornish. “The MSP Equity Fund is focused on developing a portfolio of top diverse-asset-management firms from across the country. Each fund was carefully selected after an intensive due diligence process looking at a number of factors, including track record, the management team, alignment with the mission and vision of the fund, and willingness to engage in the Minnesota startup ecosystem.”

“Our vision for the Greater Minneapolis–Saint Paul region is to lead the world in inclusive economic growth,” said Peter Frosch, CEO of the GREATER MSP Partnership. “The MSP Equity Fund is a bold move that will drive innovation in our economy and advance inclusion.”

The five investments represent the activation of one of the key capital allocation strategies of the MSP Equity Fund: investing in local top diverse-asset-management firms and investing in national firms that will bring their resources, experience, and risk capital to the Minnesota startup ecosystem.

The MSP Equity Fund aims to transform Minnesota into one of the top investment destinations for leading venture-capital fund managers and also one of the top ecosystems for Black, brown, Indigenous and women entrepreneurs seeking to launch ventures at the leading edge of key industry sectors.

The MSP Equity Fund is all the more important because, according to the Wall Street Journal, the number of deals has dropped, reducing the opportunities for new investors to get into venture.

The investment thesis of the MSP Equity Fund revolves around seizing the missed opportunity to invest in high-growth, leading Black-, brown-, and women-led startups, which have the potential to create lasting economic value and an outsized impact on the community.

To learn more about the MSP Equity Fund, go to the MSP Equity Fund.

About gener8tor
gener8tor is a global venture firm and accelerator network that supports startups, founders, workers, employers, artists, and musicians across race, place, and gender. gener8tor partners with companies, governments, universities, and nonprofits to operate programs in more than 41 communities across 22 states and two countries. Fast Company named gener8tor one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators in 2021 and 2022. The International Trade Council recognized gener8tor as the Global Venture Capital Firm of the Year in 2022.

About Forge North
Forge North is part of the GREATER MSP Partnership. It is a coalition of 100+ partners advancing the Minneapolis–Saint Paul startup ecosystem. GREATER MSP is a partnership of more than 4,500 individuals from more than 300 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties, and philanthropic organizations working together to accelerate the competitiveness and inclusive growth of the 15-county Minneapolis–Saint Paul regional economy.

About Bread & Butter Ventures

Bread & Butter Ventures is a seed stage venture firm based in the bread-and-butter state of Minnesota. The firm invests globally in foodtech, digital health, and enterprise SaaS and has more than 70 companies across the portfolio. Bread & Butter Ventures leverages Minnesota and the region’s unparalleled access to strong corporate connections, commercial opportunities, and industry expertise for the benefit of the firm’s founders.

About M25

M25 is an early-stage software-focused venture firm based in Chicago, investing solely in tech startups headquartered in the Midwest. Since launching in 2015, M25 has become the most active investor in the region, quickly becoming the preferred seed investor for the next generation of Midwest unicorns. Portfolio companies include Kin Insurance, Loop Returns, Astronomer, Summersalt, SteadyMD, Branch, Authenticx, and more.

About Capitalize VC

Capitalize VC is a Chicago-based VC fund investing in pre-seed stage, diverse founders in the multi-trillion dollar, rapidly growing commerce industry at the intersection of commerce enablement, commerce infrastructure, fintech, and consumer brands.

About Tundra VC

Tundra Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Minneapolis and San Francisco that invests in the tech, health, and consumer packaged goods sectors.

About Brown Venture Group

Launched in 2018, Brown Venture Group, LLC, is a venture capital firm exclusively for the overlooked and undervalued market investment segmentation within technology startups. Brown Venture Group is writing a new playbook for those interested in launching a minority-owned technology startup and those interested in investing in new technologies.

Alfonso N. Cornish II
General Partner, MSP Equity Fund