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Equity investment is one option for financing high growth businesses. As with loans, there are traditional investors and investors with a specific mission to support communities, or social or environmentally-responsible businesses.This section provides information to help businesses understand the implications of getting equity capital, the types of investors and their foci, and links to find specific investors in the Bay Area.

The City of Oakland's primary small business lending partner is Main Street Launch.

There are many local financing options for your small business. The 2017 Good Money Guide is a great overview of sustainable, trusted local options.

City of Oakland was one of the first in the nation to adopt the Kiva platform to help entrepreneurs crowdfund 0% loans to grow their businesses. For more information about how to use Kiva contact Juno Thomas at jcthomas@oaklandnet.org

Local Community Investing Organizations

Pacific Community Ventures Pacific Community Ventures, LLC provides capital and resources to high growth California businesses that bring significant economic gains to low-to-moderate income employees as well as deliver exceptional financial returns to business owners and to our investors. PCV invests in businesses with $5 to $50 million in revenue, and makes investments of $1 to $4 million.RSF Social Finance RSF Social Finance makes loans to and investments in businesses and organizations that have a mission to improve our society and environment, including both nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises. RSF builds a strong relationship between businesses, investors and lenders, and has developed thorough social and environmental measures of their work. For profit borrowers must have revenue of over $1 million. Their mezzanine program offers financing in the range of $500k to $1 million.
SJF Ventures SJF focuses on the cleantech, premium consumer products, and technology-enhanced services sectors. The fund seeks companies that require $1 million to $5 million in equity financing to produce rapid expansion.
Alliance for Community Development Alliance for Community Development offers the Bay Area Equity Fund, which invests in companies that generate both market rate returns and positive social and environmental returns and that are located in or near one of a number of targeted low-income neighborhoods in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. The fund has has two tiers -- one for businesses that need $3-5 million in equity and another for businsses that need up to $1 million.

Getting Equity from Venture Capitalists The National Venture Capital Association provides education about venture capital. Their website has section of venture capital resources for entrepreneurs, including model documents, books, and more. The site also has a directory of their member venture capital firms for sale.

Getting Equity from Angel Investors Angel investors are high net worth individuals who invest their own money in (usually) start-up and early stage businesses with the potential for high growth. Angel investors generally invest between $5000 and $100,000 - much less than venture capitalists.

The Angel Capital Education Foundation offers information to educate business owners about Angel capital, including what angel capital is, what types of businesses are suited for it, and what to expect when seeking investment from angel investors. The organization also provides lists of Angel Groups to help entrepreneurs find angel investors.

Getting Equity from SBICs (Small Business Investment Companies) The SBA has a program that finds interested investors for small businesses, then licenses, regulates, and provides financial assistance to these investors, called SBICs. This program helps make it less risky for investors to support small businesses. SBIC investments are only available to businesses that are considered small by SBA standards (Generally the business net worth is $18.0 million or less and its average after tax net income for the prior two years does not exceed $6.0 million.) Check out the SBIC website to find local investors and get more information.

Getting Equity from Community Investors Small businesses may find community investors a good option, as these investors seek out local businesses that provide jobs and wealth to the local economy, are open to slower growth businesses, and do not expect the high returns on investment that typical venture capital investors expect. Learn more about community investing.