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Black-owned Future Capital acquired by Spring Activator to boost impact investing in underrepresented communities

Financial details about the merger were not disclosed.

Black-owned Future Capital acquired by Spring Activator to boost impact investing in underrepresented communities
Spring Activator co-CEOs Ippel and Caroline von Hirschberg with Future Capital founder Marlon Thompson. Announcement of Spring acquiring Future Capital made headlines Sept. 13. SPRING ACTIVATOR PHOTO

The founder of Black-owned Future Capital, Marlon Thompson, has announced his company has been acquired by Spring Activator, a Vancouver-based venture capital firm focused on climate and sustainable investing.

Financial details about the merger were not disclosed.

“I started Future Capital three years ago to address the lack of diversity in business and venture capital. What began as an initiative to spread awareness about the diversity gap in the venture has turned into something so much bigger than I could have imagined,” he said in a LinkedIn post addressing the merger. “Building Future Capital has been a labor of love and I haven’t done any of it alone. I’ve got so much gratitude for my earliest advisors Christina Hirukawa, Dan Gamble, David Borcsok and Andrea Matheson for helping bring this vision to life and for the growing community of investors, advisors and partners that have joined the mission over the past three years.”

Thompson founded Future Capital in 2020, following the death of George Floyd and calls to action for racial equity and inclusion. It served as an incubator for people of colour, women, LGBTQ people and others seeking venture capital and support with entrepreneurship.

Spring Activator, which has 40 employees, is a company that has operations in Canada, the U.S., Peru, Guatemala, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Founded in 2014, it has helped over 2,000 entrepreneurs launch and raise capital through more than 500 businesses.

Spring mainly focuses on funding ventures highlighting sustainable agricultural production, healthcare access, and climate change mitigation. Its portfolio includes significant investments in companies like VoxCell BioInnovation, Moment Energy, and Open Ocean Robotics. Likewise, Future Capital’s portfolio includes notable investments in Belliwelli, Curie, and Haloo (formerly Heirlume).

Spring has also collaborated with organizations like the Swisscontact, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, the Digital Technology Supercluster, the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, and the Telus Pollinator Fund.

But with the economy uncertain, the opportunity to partner made sense for both companies. Not only was there a long-standing relationship, but Spring has been looking to add a more inclusive suite of offerings to scale an equitable model for early-stage impact investing.

“This acquisition marks an incredible step forward for bringing wealth creation opportunities to underrepresented communities. We are now able to connect more diverse, impact-driven founders and funders and we see an increasing need in the market to do so,” Keith Ippel, co-founder and co-CEO at Spring Activator, said in a statement. “We know we can move faster together to transform the ways the whole ecosystem thinks about investing, starting companies, and innovation as a whole.”

'Our world is changing, and VC needs to change with it'

Meanwhile, Thompson, who will join Spring as its chief experience officer and report to co-CEOs Ippel and Caroline von Hirschberg, said the move could help impact the venture ecosystem.

“The future of capital looks different than it did yesterday,” Thompson said. “The Spring team’s appreciation of the important role that accessibility plays in the innovation ecosystem makes for a natural alignment between organizations. The mission to enable purpose-driven founders and investors to create an equitable and resilient world is not a small commitment, but I believe this partnership is positioned to do just that.”

U.S. Census Bureau data cites minority populations will be the majority in North America by 2044, and over $68 trillion of intergenerational wealth is expected to be in the hands of diverse groups and women in the next 30 years.

Since launching in 2020, Future Capital says it has seen the momentum for diversifying the venture ecosystem fluctuate. Last year alone, a 50 per cent-plus drop in investment dollars to Black founders and woman-founded startups accounted for less than two per cent of all VC funds raised.

“It’s not acceptable, and I know that gaps in wealth, power and investing aren’t inevitable. Our world is changing, and VC needs to change with it,” he added.