ABOVE: Dr. Eric Tait, Heath Butler, Felix Chevalier and Lenny Saizan
In its initial syndicated investment, Urban Capital Network (UCN) raises $1.4 million dollars to invest in Mercury Fund’s fourth early-stage venture capital fund.
UCN is a membership-based investment network focused on aggregating a broader range of investors and providing them with access to exclusive investment opportunities. Mercury Fund is an early-stage venture capital firm with over $300mm under management focusing on entrepreneurs and software innovation originating in the U.S. Midcontinent.
UCN and Mercury Fund have aligned to increase the pool of investors that have access to venture opportunities and expand the number of deal sources for Mercury Fund. UCN aims to equalize access to these opportunities by partnering with well-established venture capital firms that believe more people should have access to premium early stage venture capital opportunities. UCN further levels the playing field by allowing accredited investors to invest in significantly lower amounts through syndicated deal structures. The partnership is a win-win for both firms and has a positive social-impact twist.
Heath Butler, Felix Chevalier, Dr. Eric Tait, and Lenny Saizan are the founders of UCN. Their motivation for creating the network is the formation of a two-step effort to establish a more balanced investment ecosystem: first, the UCN team aims to expand and extend investment access to premium early-stage companies, thereby increasing the odds of success for this broader set of investors. Second, UCN has created a pathway for successful investments to foster and ignite reinvestment into underserved entrepreneurs with the aim of closing the gaps in innovation, employment, and wealth in urban communities.
“Our goal is to increase the number of investors that are often left out of high-return, high-growth investment opportunities,” said Saizan. “We believe the key to closing income and wealth gaps globally is to democratize access to opportunities across the investment ecosystem.”
The UCN founders have committed a portion of their earnings to The Innovation Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (iCUE), an affiliated nonprofit, to facilitate investing in underserved entrepreneurs and urban communities. In the fall of 2020 iCUE plans to launch a diversity and inclusion investment fund focused on enabling growth in underserved entrepreneurs by investing vital capital to support their success.
“UCN is a key strategic partner investing smart and diverse capital. UCN’s investment in Mercury Fund IV allows our firm to enhance our diversity and inclusion initiatives, increase our access to deal flow, and expand our value-added mentor and talent networks,” said Blair Garrou, managing director of Mercury Fund.
UCN members have access to educational content, entrepreneur pitch sessions, an expert network, and the exclusive UCN deal book of investment opportunities.
For more information, visit www.urbancapitalnetwork.com.