Before 2018, there was no such thing as a purpose-driven Indigenous venture capital firm. That was until Stephen Nairne, Jeff Cyr, and Paul Lacerte founded Raven Capital with the vision of fostering a revitalized Indigenous economy. Since then, the firm has used impact investing to revitalize Indigenous economies in Canada and the US.
Indigenous people in Canada face many obstacles to economic inclusion, growth, and wealth. This greatly impacts Indigenous entrepreneurs who often have trouble accessing capital. Even though they have more than sufficient entrepreneurial spirit, ideas, and product offerings, Indigenous entrepreneurs often miss out on the capacity-building support and community expertise that are crucial for business growth.
But Raven Capital is helping to change that.
“We’re guided by an Indigenous worldview,” says Stephen, now Chief Investment Officer for Raven Capital. "Our mission is to empower Indigenous entrepreneurs with capital and expertise for success, and to create a lasting impact that strengthens Indigenous communities.”
Raven Capital uses existing structures, like impact investing and relationship-building in the Indigenous community, to spur innovation and support the re-emerging Indigenous economy.
Reconciliation is one of Vancity’s core values. Motivated by the values-alignment between our organizations, Vancity became one of Raven Capital’s first investors back in 2019.
“By investing in Raven, we feel we’ve invested in the best people to make this happen,” said Heather Conradi, Director of Vancity’s Impact Investing Portfolio (IIP).
To date, Raven Capital has raised over $25 million and is now in the process of investing between $250,000 and $2 million in Indigenous-led and -owned businesses.
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