Zeal adds MD as it seeks sophomore fund

Zeal Capital Partners, which is raising its second fund, hires Stefanie Thomas of Impact America Fund as a managing director.

Zeal Capital Partners, which is raising its second fund, has hired Stefanie Thomas of Impact America Fund as a managing director.

The move comes just three months after Zeal hired Emily Zhen, formerly of New Enterprise Associates, as a principal to lead its new health equity investing mandate, as Venture Capital Journal previously reported.

Thomas will oversee the firm’s new Barclays Black Formation Investments initiative, a pre-seed investment platform backed by Barclays and managed by Zeal Capital Partners. BBFI was established to support Black-led companies, “providing critical early-stage capital and support to ambitious founders who are building high-growth technology companies primarily across the US,” Zeal said in a statement.

Photo of Stefanie Thomas, managing director, Zeal Capital Partners
Stefanie Thomas, Zeal Capital

Thomas is based in Washington, DC. She previously served as a founding member and investor at Impact America Fund. Before that, she co-founded Women Who Launch, an entrepreneurship platform for women. Earlier in her career, Thomas was a vice-president in Citigroup’s global banking division.

“My work and life experiences have helped me to see investment opportunities beyond a traditional investing lens, and I’m looking forward to using that experience to identify founders with unique and important ideas that will unlock value for both our industry and the world,” Thomas said in a statement.

Zeal founder and managing partner Nasir Qadree noted that bringing Thomas aboard as a managing director “will add to our continuing commitment to provide capital and support systems to businesses that produce outsized returns, empower diverse management teams, and help grow the next generation of venture capital professionals.”

Zeal targets early-stage, tech-enabled companies. The venture firm focuses on education to employment pathways, financial wellness and health equity.

The firm has been building out its team as it seeks to raise its second fund. It listed a target of $120 million for Zeal Capital Partners Fund II in a May regulatory filing.

Zeal closed on $62.1 million for its debut fund in July 2021. LPs in Fund I include the Skoll Foundation, Gary Ventures foundation, the Southern New Hampshire University foundation and Truist Financial Corporation, according to fundraising data from affiliate title Buyouts.