Local VC Firm Elevate Scores $2 Million Investment, Plans to Help Start a Dozen Local Companies

Elevate is the first local venture capital company in years.

You’d never believe it while hanging out on the Chloe Eudaly campaign site, but one of the main things Portland tech scene needs is money.

A good portion of the investments in Portland tend to come from outside the city, because aside from a few firms—Rogue Venture Partners, Voyager Capital, and Seven Peak Ventures, for example—there’s no local venture capital investment money. Which means every time a little tech company sells, it sells to San Francisco or Seattle.

Well, there’s a new VC company in Portland for the first time in a while. Elevate Capital Fund, headed by Nitin Rai, formed in January with $10 million in capital. Today, Elevate announced they’re getting an additional $2 million investment from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the memorial trust for local grocer Fred Meyer whose investment revenues sponsor affordable housing, the Willamette River Initiative and Portland Pride.

With other investments, this brings Elevate up to a $13 million fund a year from now—the firm plans to begin making $500,000 seed investments in up to 14 local start-up companies within months.

Here’s the full press release from Elevate:

Portland, OR (June 9, 2016) – Elevate Capital Fund announced that Meyer Memorial Trust, a local foundation and institutional investor, will invest $2 million into Elevate Capital Fund. Elevate Capital Fund is a newly formed $10 million Pacific Northwest-based venture fund that invests in early stage startups that includes under-represented entrepreneurs, including women and people of color, veterans, and entrepreneurs located in under-served regions, such as the Willamette Valley, central and southern Oregon, and southwest Washington.

“Although Meyer Memorial Trust recognizes that first-time funds present higher risk all around, Nitin Rai is the kind of fund manager that we want to invest in and invest with,” said Sayer Jones, Meyer’s Director of Finance. “The investment will be made through our Invest Oregon platform. We look forward to Elevate Capital Fund joining our portfolio alongside other local investments in firms like Ecotrust Forests and the Women’s Venture Capital Fund.”

“Elevate Capital Fund was formed to lead the effort in funding under-represented entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest region. We are very fortunate to have Meyer Memorial Trust as an investment partner. Our partnership will help passionate entrepreneurs who are focused on creating high-growth companies with disruptive products,” said Nitin Rai, Elevate Capital’s Managing Director.

“Elevate Capital Fund provides the financial and mentor capital to build a successful company and spread job growth. Backed with experienced mentors, investors and partners globally, we plan to build the next generation of entrepreneurs and companies across the region,” adds Mr. Rai. “Along with our $3 million, 100% under-represented entrepreneurs-focused Elevate Inclusive Fund that invests in concept and seed stage startups, we now have $13 million in investment capital at our disposal, which we will deploy in these seed and early stage startups.”

Elevate Capital Fund expects to do a first close in the next two months, after which it will start investing up to $500,000 in early A or Series A rounds in 12 to 14 high-growth startups with room for follow-on in the next three to four years. The final close is expected to take 12 months. Other early investors committed to the fund include Oregon Community Foundation and certain individual investors from TiE Oregon Angels and Willamette Angels via endorsement from the RAIN accelerator group in Eugene and Corvallis.

About Meyer Memorial Trust and Invest Oregon Platform: Meyer Memorial Trust was created by the late Fred G. Meyer, founder of a chain of retail stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Elevate Capital Fund | 1331 NW Lovejoy Street, Portland, OR 97209 | Page 1 of 2

Established in 1982, Meyer has awarded roughly $700 million in grants and program related investments to organizations, primarily in Oregon.

Meyer launched Invest Oregon in 2014 to focus a portion of its corpus in market-rate opportunities that create social, equitable, environmental and economic benefit across the state.

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