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Mayor Bowser taps Marathon Foundation to manage DC Inclusive Innovation Fund

Thursday, September 6, 2018
The fund — a pillar of Bowser's inclusive-innovation agenda — will focus on early stage companies with at least 51 percent ownership by underrepresented entrepreneurs. DC by Michelai Graham

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office announced Thursday that it is partnering with The Marathon Foundation (TMF) to create and manage the DC Inclusive Innovation Fund. This announcement comes after the District released a request for applications for an investment partner back in April. The fund is designed to increase access to capital for companies led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

“This partnership will break down financial barriers and move us one step closer to ensuring all Washingtonians, including underrepresented entrepreneurs, are able to share in our city’s continued prosperity,” Mayor Bowser said in the announcement. “Together, we will build on our progress in making Washington, D.C. the capital of inclusive innovation and create more pathways to the middle class for District residents.”

TMF, a D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on increasing business opportunities and capital for entrepreneurs, was chosen out of six potential partners for the fund.

The fund will focus on companies in the pre-seed, seed and pre–Series A stage, with 51 percent ownership by underrepresented entrepreneurs and a target on tech, tech-enabled and non-tech companies with potential to scale, the announcement states. As previously reported by DC, the District has committed to provide $1.5 million in seed funding so the fund can start raising private capital. Those seeking investments can also expect entrepreneurial training and education from TMF.

The move comes as more private-sector investors are seeing value in backing underrepresented founders. California’s Backstage Capital announced plans Wednesday to launch a Philly-based accelerator for women, people of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community. Another location of the accelerator will be determined by an online vote. Better get on that, #dctech!