Sixty8 Capital, a Black-owned and operated venture capital (VC) firm based in Indianapolis, has announced its first close of $20 million.
In a press release announcement, it was revealed that the new fund was led by a diverse group of investors that included The Indiana Next Level Fund, 50 South Capital, Bank of America, Eli Lilly and Company, First Internet Bank, and the Central Indiana Community Foundation.
The fund, which is led by managing director Kelli Jones, will focus on minority-owned businesses all over the United States, with a concentration on businesses in the Midwest.
“We believe there is an opportunity to truly level the playing field when it comes to capital access for diverse founders in any industry,” said Jones, the first-ever Black, female VC in the state of Indiana, in the press release announcement. “There is a $4 trillion missed opportunity when we don’t put a focus on diverse founders. Venture capital has a significant opportunity to change the trajectory of SMBs and microenterprises by helping them build products and services that utilize tech and have the opportunity to scale.”
Of their initial investment in the fund, a representative for Eli Lilly said that it was an extension of their Racial Justice Initiative, which focuses on several areas of impact including healthcare access, supplier diversity, and jobs within the communities in which Lilly operates.
“We are excited to support Sixty8 Capital on its mission to uplift underrepresented founders and innovators,” said Philip Johnson, senior vice president and treasurer of Eli Lilly and Company, in a statement provided in the press release announcement. “Diverse and historically underrepresented founders struggle to obtain capital to form and build their businesses. Lilly’s investment in Sixty8 Capital is representative of our broader efforts to use our financial and human capital to create lasting change that makes life better for people in the communities we serve.”
According to a press release, “Sixty8 Capital is powered by Allos Ventures, one of Indiana’s most active VC firms, with Allos’ Paul Ehlinger serving as a venture partner.”