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Impact America Fund closes $55M to invest in startups targeting the world’s overlooked

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The entire asset class of venture capital is built atop systemic racism. The numbers don’t lie: only 2% of partner-level VCs are Black, and 81% of venture capital firms don’t have a Black partner on board. The lack of diversity in check-writers doesn’t stay in board rooms: homogeneity trickles down to the founders who get mentored and the startups that get funded, excluding an entire population of potentially revolutionary ideas.

Systemic racism is a market inefficiency, according to Kesha Cash, the founder of Impact America Fund. So, Cash, one of the few Black female general partners in venture capital, says she wants to invest in companies that work on solutions for the world’s overlooked and underserved.

Today, Impact America Fund (IAF) announced that it has closed a $55 million investment vehicle to serve this exact purpose. The raise will allow IAF to invest 20 to 25 checks, between the size of $250,000 to $3 million, in early-stage startups. The close marks one of the largest funds ever raised by a sole Black female general partner.

The fund has 67 limited partners, including a number of foundations, large wealth managers and UBS. Cash says that the raise took two years to complete. In June, when George Floyd was murdered by the police, a number of firms rushed to find ways to support Black entrepreneurs. “Society got to see it with their own eyes how big these problems are,” Cash said. The racial reckoning across the country sped up the tail end of IAF’s fundraise close and brought in a ton of inbound interest.

Still, Cash says that IAF had to clarify its focus throughout its fundraising process.

“We’re not just investing in Black and brown people, which I think is a very important thesis, but not our thesis,” Cash said. Instead, Cash says the door-opening conversation for fundraising hinged on a more macro conversation.

“While many of you have been approaching this through your grants and philanthropy, we actually believe there’s a way to continue to invest in software and venture capital businesses to scale and disrupt some of the underlying systemic issues that you and others may not be able to see but are perpetuating,” Cash remembers saying to potential investors. “If you go to that, that opens a lot of doors. That’s the fundraising conversation.”

So far, IAF’s newest fund has invested in 10 companies, including Mayvenn, which supports Black hair stylists; Care Academy, which works with home care employees; and SMBX, a small business bond marketplace.

“We’re trying to get to the root of the problem and create and disrupt systems,” she said.

IAF is also evolving from a structural standpoint. The firm used to be structured as a family office, with flexibility to invest in non-venture-backable businesses across a $10 million fund. The new fund will be a traditional venture capital firm with a 10-year investment return cycle.

Cash says that it could feel like an “anti-social justice move” to apply venture capital, an exclusive asset class, to the issue of racial inequity.

Kesha Cash, the general partner of Impact America Fund. Image Credits: Impact America Fund

The investor became a social justice activist, protesting against California Proposition 209, when she was an undergrad at UC Berkeley. Given her activism, her classmates were surprised when she interned at a Wall Street investment bank. But Cash says that, as a first-generation college student from a low-income household, she wanted to understand the dynamics between finance, money and deal structures.

“While I took down my faux locs and removed my nose ring to intern and then work full time on Wall Street, I didn’t forget my work as a social justice activist and made it my mission to learn and reimagine how finance could be used to empower the overlooked and under-resourced communities I care deeply about,” she said.

Cash thinks that access to capital could be the catalyst needed to give underserved communities the opportunity to experiment and innovate. Cash, who grew up low income and worked on Wall Street, sees an opportunity to bring the two worlds together.

“When we think about disruption and venture capital, people get to dream and make up a new world,” she said. “Well hell, I want to make up the new world for low-income Black and brown people in this country.”

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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