New Portfolio Companies Include Women-Owned, Black-Owned, and Veteran-Owned Businesses
New York – Citi announced today its next round of investments through the Citi Impact Fund, a $200 million fund launched last year to invest in companies that are addressing some of the biggest societal challenges. The new companies included in this round are Clerkie, KETOS, MedHaul, Perch, Shift, Superpedestrian, and VyV. They join four portfolio companies previously announced in September 2020: Fulcrum BioEnergy, ICON, PadSplit, and The Mom Project.
“In only its first year, the Citi Impact Fund has invested in 11 companies, the majority of which are founded by women, minorities – and in some cases both – that have the potential to make our cities and communities more equitable and sustainable,” said Ed Skyler, Head of Global Public Affairs at Citi. “The economic and social challenges of the COVID-19 crisis have increased the urgency for new ways of working, and we’re focused on building on these investments to identify new partners this year.”
The Citi Impact Fund, the largest of its kind created by a bank using its own capital, is focused on companies that are addressing five societal challenges:
- Workforce Development – training and connecting people to careers.
- Financial Capability – increasing access to the financial system.
- Physical & Social Infrastructure – improving an individual’s way of life through housing, healthcare and transportation.
- Sustainability – addressing issues related to energy, water and sustainable production.
- Access To Capital & Economic Opportunity – addressing disparities in access to capital and economic opportunity through investments in companies founded by women and minorities.
Investments focus on companies that have demonstrated proof of concept, built an existing customer base and exhibited the potential for scale in multiple markets. A portion of the fund is designated exclusively for earlier-stage seed investments in businesses led or owned by women and minorities. Of the 11 initial investments, the fund has invested in three Black entrepreneurs, one of whom is also female, three other female entrepreneurs and a veteran entrepreneur.
“The Citi Impact Fund is broadening access to capital for founders like me,” said Erica Plybeah, Founder and CEO of MedHaul, a ride-booking platform for non-emergency medical rides, helping often overlooked populations access quality transportation. “MedHaul is the first company receiving earlier-stage seed investment from the fund, and we’re extremely excited to partner with Citi as we scale our company to support more people in need of quality, dependable medical transportation.”
“Citi has distinguished itself as both an employer and supporter of veterans, service members and their families across the US,” said Mike Slagh, CEO of Shift, a veteran-led talent development company. “This Citi Impact Fund investment will help further our mission in helping veterans successfully transition out of the military and thrive in successful civilian careers.”
Clerkie, is a Black-founded AI company based in San Francisco. Their proprietary financial automation platform streamlines the relationship between creditors and their consumers, and it is purpose-built to help over 100 million Americans ease their debt burden. After years of product testing and validation, Clerkie has helped thousands of borrowers get out of debt and build credit by negotiating up to 70% off users’ debt. It’s quickly grown to become a go-to tool for creditors to manage their loan losses and the financial platform combines expert financial advice with one-click automation that makes it easy for users to take action.
KETOS, Inc. (“KETOS”) is a Milpitas, California based and a female-led company that delivers integrated, cloud-based, IoT solutions for actionable water intelligence. KETOS serves an array of industrial and agricultural enterprises, commercial businesses, institutions, cities, and utilities, empowering them to make smarter decisions through real-time water intelligence and predictive analytics. Its innovative, patented hardware, machine learning algorithms, and Smart Water Intelligence Platform deliver the predictive and actionable insights needed to optimize water usage, ensure resource sustainability, and provide water safety assurance.
MedHaul, a Black and female-founded company based in Memphis, operates an end-to-end platform that helps healthcare providers (e.g. hospitals, physician groups) find and book safe, skilled, and personalized non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) for people with special needs. Every year, nearly 4 million Americans with chronic conditions miss their medical appointments due to transportation issues. Particularly for low-income and/or older patients with diabetes, asthma, and arthritis, this can mean the difference between managing chronic conditions at home and ending up in the emergency room. The cost of missed appointments and ambulance abuse costs the healthcare system about $200 billion per year. MedHaul provides a cloud-based, mobile-optimized marketplace that automates the transit management process and links healthcare providers with specialized transportation services.
Perch is a Black-founded Los Angeles based company designed to empower unbanked and underbanked young adults with tools to properly manage their credit. Perch has designed a platform that helps young adults learn sustainable credit habits and build credit without having to go into debt or increase expenses. Using the Perch platform, users are able to report recurring monthly payments (such as rent payments and subscription services) to US Credit bureaus and begin to build a credit profile.
Shift.org, Inc. (“Shift”) is a San Francisco based and veteran-led career advancement company where current and former members of the US Military discover careers, acquire and demonstrate new skills, and embark upon new job experiences at the best companies in the world. Shift’s talent acquisition services provide corporate partners with a talent pipeline of diverse, non-traditional, experienced and prepared candidates.
Superpedestrian is a transportation robotics firm that develops the technology inside the LINK Scooter, the safest, most reliable lightweight electric vehicle in the world. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Superpedestrian was spun out of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning in 2013 with the mission of developing safe and reliable lightweight electric vehicles (LEVs). Superpedestrian’s first endeavor was to engineer a system to manage micro-vehicle safety and performance. This effort culminated in a patented Vehicle Intelligence System (VIS), a collection of sensors, firmware, and onboard diagnostic technology that monitors the mechanical and electrical status of an entire vehicle in real time, and autonomously resolves a majority of potential issues. For Superpedestrian and its LINK Scooter service, the results have demonstrated that VIS leads to best-in-class reliability, safety and operational efficiencies.
VyV (formerly known as “Vital Vio”) is a New York-based and female founded health tech company that has created a new kind of cleaning protection. Vyv, formerly Vital Vio, offers proprietary continuous-use, non-UV antimicrobial light technology for homes, public places, and industry. Unlike hazardous UV light, Vyv meets international standards for continual and unrestricted use around people, animals, and plants. Today, Vyv delivers a unique approach to cleaning continuously. Vyv LED light creates environments inhospitable to the growth of bacteria, fungi, yeast, mold and mildew. As overhead lighting, Vyv can be found in food manufacturing and services, healthcare facilities, travel and hospitality, retail, commercial and public buildings and many other places. Vyv technology is also embedded into commercial and consumer products and applications – shower lights that stop mold growth, behind cleaner elevator buttons and in many other diverse and creative ways.
The fund is a component of Global Public Affairs’ Community Investing and Development team, which aims to enhance positive social impact and financial innovations that benefit underserved communities around the world. This includes the work of Citi Inclusive Finance and the Citi Impact Fund in addition to the philanthropic work conducted by the Citi Foundation. Through equity investing, lending and grant making, Citi and the Citi Foundation are working in new ways to effect positive and meaningful change in the communities around the world.
To learn more about the Citi Impact Fund, visit https://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/citizenship/citi-impact-fund.html. For more information on how Citi is enabling progress and sustainable growth in communities around the globe, view Citi’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report at https://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/citizenship/.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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