Aperture Venture Capital has taken a different route to raise money for its fund. Instead of focusing on obtaining capital from wealthy individuals, more than 95% of the money it has raised is backed by corporate investors, which can often invest more capital into a fund than individual investors.
Bank of America, Progressive Insurance, PayPal, Truist and FIS, as well as Duke University have all contributed to Aperture Venture Capital’s fund, as have a handful of individual investors including Fred Wilson from Union Square Investors and Joanne Wilson from Gotham Gal Ventures. Aperture Venture Capital is seeking to raise $75 million.
Garnet Heraman, one of Aperture Venture Capital’s co-founders said that startup companies need more than the initial round of capital from a venture capital firm and startups can accomplish more if they receive a follow-on investment from the same VCs, especially if they struggle or pivot to a different strategy.
“In order to be able to invest a second time, you need at least $75 million,” Heraman said. “Having capital from multiple corporate limited partnerships allows us to make more investments aligned with the strategic priorities of our LPs, which in turn helps our portfolio companies succeed and scale faster.”
According to Heraman, Aperture Venture Capital’s fund is the “first diverse-led fintech fund that has enough money under management to continue to invest in founders.”
The firm has even trademarked the term, “VC For The Multicultural Mainstream™,” because the founders believe that the future of the venture capital industry will reflect changing U.S. demographics where the majority is Black, Latin and Asian and not Caucasian,” he said. While Aperture aims to fund founders from diverse backgrounds, Heramen said, “We are open to all deals and diversity is a second factor.”
Heraman and co-founder William Crowder started raising capital for the fund in early 2020 and launched in July 2021. The decades of experience of the two businessmen have meshed together well. Heraman has been an active angel investor for the past 12 years, he also launched and managed three companies, including UniversityVentures (UVentures). Crowder has 13 years of experience being a corporate VC investor. He was the founding fund manager for Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund, a $20 million VC fund that focused on investing in early stage tech companies led by diverse and female founders.
Aperture Venture Capital focuses on financial innovation and collaborates closely with its corporate partners. The firm has already invested in companies such as Atlanta-based Freeing Returns, a retail fraud detection, prevention, and data services firm that assists retailers in optimizing their returns processes and identifying fraud and loss that is hidden in their own data.
Aperture has funded Grain Technology, an Oakland, California startup which provides lines of credit to companies based on their cash flow instead of credit scores. Alaffia Health, a New York-based startup has also received investment from Aperture, which uses artificial intelligence to proactively detect and correct errors in patients’ claims before an overpayment is made.
Aperture’s focus is on “marrying financial capital with operating capital from our LPs,” Heraman said. Founders, whether they are women or people of color, need both money and professional relationships, he added.
“We will invest in a company and create a customer or distribution relationship with one of the corporations to help the portfolio companies,” Heraman said. “This helps level the playing field, so our companies scale faster and hopefully exit faster.”
Aperture focuses on “fintech plus” startups, Heraman said, “that solve some type of enterprise problem with financial technology or innovation,” he said. Aperture does not invest in blockchain or cryptocurrency companies.
Name: Aperture Venture Capital
Location: Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York
Size: Aperture Venture Capital is closing out fundraising for its $75 million debut fund
Minimum investment size: $5 million for corporations, $200,000 for individuals
Typical investment size for companies from the fund: $1 million initial investment with follow-on investments aimed at maintaining its 10% target ownership
What it is: Aperture Venture Capital’s goal is to invest in diverse founders in fintech including Black, Latin, and female founders.
What kinds of companies does it invest in? Fintech startups that solve some type of enterprise problem with financial tech or innovation.
Leadership: Garnet Heraman, co-founder and William Crowder, co-founder
Track record of leadership: “We have at least 25 years of experience in early stage venture capital, corporate and angel investing and 40 years of entrepreneurial and venture experience,” Heraman said. “We are normalizing check writers, who are people of color,” said Heraman of Aperture’s LPs, adding that the firm’s pipeline has more than 50% Black and Latino founders and more than 50% female founders.
This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.