Addressing Climate Change and Expanding Opportunity: State Announces New Partnership with Avesta Fund to Support Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs

Today, the Colorado Venture Capital Authority (VCA) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced that the VCA has partnered with Avesta Fund to expand access to venture capital for Colorado entrepreneurs and startup businesses. The VCA has committed $3.6 million to Avesta, a venture capital firm that invests in companies working to address climate change and inequality. With the VCA’s investment and matching support from other leading Colorado investors, Avesta Colorado Fund completed its first close totaling $7.2 million.

"As a business person, I know that every dollar counts when getting a business off the ground, which is why this exciting partnership plays such an important role supporting Colorado's small businesses and building upon our nation-leading work to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040 and take meaningful climate action," said Gov. Polis. 

“As a state, we are working to ensure that Colorado companies have the resources to grow, create good paying jobs and find innovative solutions to the challenges we most want to solve,” said OEDIT Executive Director Eve Lieberman. “Partnering with Avesta Fund will advance the Venture Capital Authority’s work to create more equitable access to venture capital across Colorado and support business growth and job creation in the context of the state’s commitments to tackle issues like sustainability, resiliency and energy efficiency.”

Founded in 2020, Avesta Fund supports purpose-driven technology companies developing scalable solutions to inequality or climate change. The fund’s climate investments focus on energy efficiency, clean energy, carbon sinks, green building and the circular economy. Avesta’s economic opportunity investments prioritize equity and inclusion in education, finance, future of work, housing, and entrepreneurship development. 

“At Avesta Fund we believe that tech companies can help solve the defining challenges of our generation—climate change and inequality—while providing superior financial results. We are honored to have the Venture Capital Authority as a partner as we invest in Colorado companies working to create a better future for everyone,” said Srikant Vasan, Managing Partner at Avesta.

The VCA investment in Avesta is funded through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) awarded to the State of Colorado by the U.S. Treasury Department in August 2022. SSBCI is focused on expanding access to capital for businesses with less than 10 employees and to businesses led by individuals that identify as coming from under-resourced communities and geographies. 

“Innovative Colorado startups across the state are harnessing new technologies to improve the lives of Coloradans and beyond. We’re thrilled to add Avesta Fund as a VCA partner to help make venture capital more widely available to Colorado entrepreneurs,” said Thea Chase, Chair of the VCA Board of Directors.

Of the initial $31 million of SSBCI funding received by the State, more than $19 million was directed to the VCA for the purpose of establishing new partnerships with venture capital firms that focus on companies located in Colorado Enterprise Zones and expanding access to capital across Colorado. Over the next 5+ years, Colorado could receive approximately $104 million in SSBCI funding, with over $59 million of it invested through the VCA. 

This limited partnership with Avesta is the third of four the VCA expects to announce in coming months to support under-resourced communities and geographies. In October 2022, the VCA announced a partnership with New Community Transformation Fund-Denver, which is the first Colorado-based venture capital firm that is Black-owned and Black woman-led. In January 2023, the VCA announced a partnership with Greater Colorado Venture Fund, which has a proven track record of funding Colorado companies and creating jobs in the state’s rural communities. By leveraging private capital and equity investments to fuel new businesses, these new partnerships are collectively projected to create or retain 2,900 jobs over the next 10 years.

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