Kapor Capital

We redefine what venture capital is capable of by prioritizing a new outcome: a more fair, just, and equitable society for low income communities and underrepresented communities of colour.
Summary

Kapor Capital is a venture capital investment offshoot of the Kapor Center for Social Impact based in Oakland, CA. The firm invests in early-stage tech startups that are both economically promising and strive for positive social impact at the same time. Kapor Capital maintains that diversity in tech is a priority in the industry.

Founded in 1999, Kapor Capital, the firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies operating in the information technology, education, energy, environment, health, work, finance, mobile, justice, food, media, and retail sectors across the United States.


History

Kapor Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Oakland, California, that invests in startups working on innovative solutions to social problems. The firm was founded in 1999 by Mitch Kapor, a pioneer in the personal computer industry and a leading advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein.

The firm's origins can be traced back to 1997 when Kapor founded the Mitchell Kapor Foundation to support social justice and environmental causes. Over time, Kapor and Kapor Klein began to focus more on the role of technology in creating social change, and in 2000 they launched the Level Playing Field Institute, which aims to increase diversity in the tech industry.

Kapor Capital was founded as an extension of these efforts, with a focus on investing in startups that are using technology to address social and environmental challenges. The firm's first investments were made in 2011, and since then it has invested in a range of companies working on issues such as healthcare, education, environmental sustainability, and diversity and inclusion.

In addition to its investment activities, Kapor Capital is also known for its advocacy work around diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. The firm has been a vocal critic of the lack of diversity in the industry and has called for more action to address this issue. It has also developed a set of "Kapor Capital Founders' Commitments," which are designed to help startups build diverse and inclusive teams from the earliest stages.

Overall, Kapor Capital has become known as a leader in the impact investing space, with a focus on both financial returns and social impact. The firm has invested in over 130 companies and has raised over $500 million to support its work.


Investment criteria
  • Social Impact: Kapor Capital looks for companies that are using technology to address social and environmental challenges. The firm is particularly interested in startups that are working to increase access to opportunities for underrepresented groups and those that are tackling issues related to education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The firm prioritizes startups that are committed to building diverse and inclusive teams from the earliest stages. This includes a focus on gender, race, ethnicity, and other dimensions of diversity. Kapor Capital believes that diversity and inclusion are not only important for ethical reasons but also for driving innovation and achieving better business outcomes.
  • Market Opportunity: Kapor Capital looks for startups that have a strong potential to scale and create significant impact. The firm looks for startups that are addressing large, underserved markets or that have the potential to disrupt existing industries.
  • Founder and Team: The firm places a strong emphasis on the founder and team behind each startup it invests in. Kapor Capital looks for founders and teams with a deep understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, a strong vision for their company, and the skills and experience needed to execute on that vision.
  • Financial Viability: Kapor Capital also looks for startups with a strong financial foundation and the potential to generate significant returns for its investors. The firm seeks startups that have a clear path to profitability and a sustainable business model.

Values
  • Social Impact: Kapor Capital looks for companies that are using technology to address social and environmental challenges. The firm is particularly interested in startups that are working to increase access to opportunities for underrepresented groups and those that are tackling issues related to education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The firm prioritizes startups that are committed to building diverse and inclusive teams from the earliest stages. This includes a focus on gender, race, ethnicity, and other dimensions of diversity. Kapor Capital believes that diversity and inclusion are not only important for ethical reasons but also for driving innovation and achieving better business outcomes.
  • Market Opportunity: Kapor Capital looks for startups that have a strong potential to scale and create significant impact. The firm looks for startups that are addressing large, underserved markets or that have the potential to disrupt existing industries.
  • Founder and Team: The firm places a strong emphasis on the founder and team behind each startup it invests in. Kapor Capital looks for founders and teams with a deep understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, a strong vision for their company, and the skills and experience needed to execute on that vision.
  • Financial Viability: Kapor Capital also looks for startups with a strong financial foundation and the potential to generate significant returns for its investors. The firm seeks startups that have a clear path to profitability and a sustainable business model.

Mission

Kapor Capital’s mission is to only invest in companies that have the potential to impact the social structures in a positive way, be it in the sphere of gender, ethnic, or racial diversity, employee rights, sustainability, et cetera.

Like one of the founders of the firm, Kapor Klein said: “There are many [companies] that we’ve turned down that the technology is perfectly fine, but it’s not clear who is going to win or lose…If this company is successful and the technology is deployed, will it be gap widening or closing? Ultimately, if it’s not clear that it could have a positive impact, the firm chooses not to take the risk”.

In their current portfolio, Kapor Capital have startups such as: Accredible, Aclima, Allovue, Citizen, LovewithFood, to mention a few.

That makes for:

60 out of 102 investments (59%) that have a founder who identifies as a woman and/or an underrepresented person of colour

38% of first-time investments which have a founder who identifies as a woman

34% of first-time investments which have a founder of a racially underrepresented background

25% of first-time investments which have a founder from an Asian group


Portfolio

The firm's portfolio includes a diverse range of companies that are using technology to address social and environmental challenges, particularly those that impact underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Here are a few examples of companies in Kapor Capital's portfolio:

  • Clever: Clever is an education technology company that helps schools and districts manage their digital learning applications. The platform allows schools to easily and securely manage student data and provides a seamless experience for students and teachers. Clever's technology helps to increase access to education technology for all students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status.
  • Blavity: Blavity is a media and technology company that aims to provide a voice for Black millennials. The platform includes a range of content, from news and opinion to lifestyle and entertainment, and serves as a community for Black creatives and entrepreneurs. Blavity's technology helps to amplify underrepresented voices and promote diverse perspectives in media.
  • Ellevest: Ellevest is a digital investment platform that is designed specifically for women. The platform takes into account women's unique financial needs and aims to close the gender investment gap. Ellevest's technology helps to increase access to financial tools and services for women, who have historically been underserved by the financial industry.
  • Omada Health: Omada Health is a digital health company that provides personalized coaching and support for individuals with chronic health conditions. The platform combines technology and human interaction to help individuals make sustainable lifestyle changes and improve their health outcomes. Omada Health's technology helps to increase access to healthcare for underserved populations and improve health equity.
  • Remix: Remix is a transportation technology company that provides a platform for planning and managing public transportation systems. The platform allows cities and transit agencies to optimize routes, improve accessibility, and increase efficiency. Remix's technology helps to create more equitable and sustainable transportation systems for all residents, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status.

References
Kapor Capital
Leadership team

Freada Klein-Kapor (Founder)

Mitch Kapor (Founder)

Investment type
Venture capital
Type
Venture Capital
Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
San Francisco Bay Area, West Coast, Western US
Established
1999
Social Media
Thu Feb 22 2024
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