GENER8TOR AND GREATER MSP WILL ESTABLISH MSP EQUITY FUND WITH ANCHOR INVESTMENTS FROM COMPANIES INCLUDING ALLIANZ LIFE AND XCEL ENERGY
(Minneapolis MN) — March 23, 2022 — As part of ongoing efforts to close equity gaps for Black, Brown and Women entrepreneurs, partners in the Forge North startup coalition announced today the launch of the MSP Equity Fund – a $50 million venture capital fund of funds powered by gener8tor and GREATER MSP and anchored by major investments from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Allina Health, and Xcel Energy.
The MSP Equity Fund is the first known venture capital fund of funds in the country designed to invest across race, place, and gender. The fund will invest in 10 or more different venture capital fund managers – backing local funds and attracting new funds to Minnesota. In turn, these funds will commit to investments in Minnesota startups led by Black, Brown, and Women entrepreneurs across industries.
“We believe the MSP Equity Fund will serve as a game changer for our state,” said Al Cornish, General Partner of the MSP Equity Fund. “Our founding investors are helping position Minneapolis-Saint Paul as the epicenter of venture capital and startup resources for Black, Brown, and Women founders. We invite others to join us.”
The MSP Equity Fund advances all three economic development goals set by Forge North, a regional coalition of more than 100 startups, investment firms, accelerators, corporations, and others. It advances racial equity, increases early-stage venture capital, and will generate stronger partnerships between Minnesota-based corporations and startups.
“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. “Venture capital is a key driver for job creation and business growth, and this fund represents a major step forward.”
Venture capital funds provide critical early investment for the most high-growth companies across the country. While U.S. venture capital investment reached a watershed level of $300 billion in 2021, just 1.2% of U.S. funding went to Black entrepreneurs, according to Pitchbook. Latino entrepreneurs received only 2.1% of funding in 2021, according to Crunchbase. Women entrepreneurs received only 2% of venture capital investment, according to Pitchbook. Similar performance within Minnesota constrains economic growth, limiting job creation and wealth building for Black, Brown and Women entrepreneurs.
“Our balance sheets should reflect the demographics of the communities we serve,” said Troy Vosseller, Co-Founder of gener8tor. “The MSP Equity Fund seeks to produce best-in-class financial returns by investing in a diversified pool of venture capital funds while helping to provide more equitable access to capital for Black, Brown and Women-led startups in Minnesota. I applaud Allianz Life, Allina, and Xcel Energy for walking the walk as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“We recognize the importance of entrepreneurs and startups within our local community and see them as an important contributor to driving innovation, as well as in supporting job growth and attracting talent within our community,” said Jasmine Jirele, President and CEO, Allianz Life. “This is just one of the ways Allianz Life is committing to building a more equitable Minnesota.”
“Building an equitable and diverse business climate is essential for our region to thrive. It benefits all companies and communities when we lay the groundwork to foster innovation and job growth in Minnesota.” said Bob Frenzel, Chairman, President, and CEO, Xcel Energy. “We’re pleased to support the MSP Equity Fund that will build a stronger economy where all are able to grow and succeed.”
Additional institutions are expected to join as investors in the coming months with the fund closing later this year.
The MSP Equity Fund is part of a larger portfolio of work to address systemic issues for entrepreneurs in Minnesota. Additional Forge North coalition projects focus on angel investments, corporate partnerships, and support for startup incubators and accelerators. Organizations like gener8tor are advancing new solutions, such as the gBETA Medtech accelerator with cohorts focused exclusively on Black founders.
To learn more about the MSP Equity Fund, visit www.mspequityfund.com.
Key Evidence on Venture Capital and Fund of Funds:
- “Access to capital is critical for creative destruction and productivity increases that drive long-term growth in the economy. Venture capital is the prevailing way in which the highest potential new businesses get the equity they need to grow.”
- “Venture capital funds specializing in making equity investments in minority-owned and female-owned business enterprises have become important sources of equity capital for minority-owned businesses and startups.”
- “Underestimated and diverse founders are undervalued assets: VC misses out on $4 trillion by not investing in diverse founders.”
- More venture capital dollars are being raised and deployed in Minnesota in recent years, but the state still lags national leaders in California, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas, as well as states like Illinois and Colorado.
- The MSP Equity Fund unique approach will strengthen the ecosystem of venture capital in Minnesota while ultimately providing dollars to different types of entrepreneurs at different business stages across different industries. Investors in the MSP Equity Fund are demonstrating their commitment to advancing racial and gender equity among both entrepreneurs and fund managers.
About Forge North
Forge North is how partners across the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region are working together to make MSP the best place for people from every background to start and scale ventures. Forge North is a growing coalition of more than 100 leaders at startups, investment firms, corporations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and others working to grow the region’s startup ecosystem. Forge North is powered by the GREATER MSP Partnership.
gener8tor is a venture capital fund and startup accelerator. Ranked one of the top-15 accelerators in the United States, gener8tor operates programs for startups, musicians, artists, and workers and prioritizes investing across race, place, and gender. Fast Company named gener8tor one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2020 and one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators in 2021. For more information, visit gener8tor.com.
About GREATER MSP
GREATER MSP is the economic development partnership for the 15-county Minneapolis Saint Paul region. Over 300 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties, philanthropies, and others are working together to accelerate the competitiveness of the regional economy and drive inclusive economic growth through job creation, capital investment and the execution of strategic initiatives. For more information visit greatermsp.org.
About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® and one of the Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies®, has been keeping its promises since 1896 by helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuity and life insurance products. In 2021, Allianz Life provided additional value to its policyholders via distributions of more than $10.6 billion. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with approximately 150,000 employees in more than 70 countries. Allianz Life is a proud sponsor of Allianz Field® in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit or follow Xcel on Twitter and Facebook.