ImpactAlpha, Oct. 31 – Conscious Venture Partners has raised $17 million to back purpose-driven startups. The Baltimore-based fund manager is expanding across the U.S., and internationally through a partnership with TEC de Monterrey in Mexico.
Conscious Venture Partners, which aims to raise $50 million, was started by former hedge fund manager Jeff Cherry to invest in participants of the Conscious Venture Labs accelerator, which Cherry also leads. The accelerator supports stakeholder-driven companies in Maryland, with a focus on women or minority founders.
In 2015, Cherry moved the accelerator and fund from Columbia, Maryland to a Baltimore location near the site of the riots that followed the killing of Freddie Gray. “We had to put a stake in the ground,” Cherry told ImpactAlpha. The riots “were also about underinvestment in minority communities.”
Conscious Ventures’ tally of investments includes Hungry Harvest, which repurposes surplus food from the Mid-Atlantic; Shea Radiance, which sources Shea butter from West Africa for body care products; and Danae Prosthetics, a company that 3D-prints prosthetics.
Conscious Venture Partners (and Labs) is part of Upsurge Baltimore, which is supporting high-impact startups in the city.
Other partners include Techstars Equitech, Maryland Momentum Fund, Spark Coworking, Brown Advisory and Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.