Zeal Capital Partners has raised $22.3 million for its debut fund. The investors include PayPal and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Based in Washington, D.C., Zeal invests in early-stage fintech businesses.
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zeal Capital Partners announced the launch of its Inclusive Investing™ strategy anchored by PayPal and investors such as The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a university endowment, family offices and notable business leaders. Zeal Capital Partners invests in high-growth early-stage businesses at the intersection of Financial Technology and the Future of Work. Zeal’s investment strategy is centered around its market-backed Inclusive Investment™ strategy which focuses on the $4.4 trillion of untapped economic opportunity due to under-investments in businesses led by diverse management teams.
“When more than 40 million Americans are unemployed and less than 30% are ‘financially healthy,’ it’s abundantly clear that we need more businesses delivering solutions to bridge the wealth and skills gap at scale,” said Nasir Qadree, Founder and Managing Partner of Zeal Capital Partners. “Our market-backed Inclusive Investing™ strategy best positions us to source, invest, and scale high-growth early-stage businesses all over the U.S., beyond the traditional geographic hotbeds of venture capital activity,” Qadree said.
Esusu, a fintech company, is Zeal’s first investment and a prime reflection of its Inclusive Investing™ strategy. Led by a diverse management team, Esusu is on a mission to increase consumer credit scores, lower eviction rates, and fill vacancies by leveraging differentiated data and insights. “Leveraging the data that they are gathering, Esusu will seek to become the gold standard for assessing creditworthiness in the U.S. and globally,” says Qadree.
“PayPal believes that access to financial services creates opportunity,” said Mario Ruiz, who led PayPal’s investment in Zeal’s new strategy. “PayPal has made a commitment to fight racial and economic inequality,” said Ruiz. “Partnering with founders in the U.S. in which funding is otherwise scarce is one way in which we can combat inequality,” said Qadree.
“We believe that science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics are chief drivers of the nation’s health and prosperity, and if not made more accessible and inclusive these become the very drivers that create inequality and hold communities back,” said Elizabeth Hewitt, Chief Investment Officer of the Sloan Foundation.
Zeal seeks to invest in fintech companies that create alternative financial products, such as credit expansion tools, financial management services, and resources that will help small businesses prosper. Their Future of Work vertical will focus on partnering with entrepreneurs who are building alternative pathways to education, new models of training and skill development, as well as platforms that remove barriers to financing a quality education.
“I believe that the best entrepreneurs reflect the diversity of this country and the men and women that built its institutions, whether or not they have been credited for their contributions historically. It is vital that we be more intentional and inclusive in how we address barriers to entrepreneurship and that we leave no one behind in redefining how to make it in America,” said Qadree.
More than 90 million Americans of working age are underutilized in the economy, and are either unemployed, inactive, or underemployed, according to McKinsey and Company. At the same time, the jobs of more than 36 million American working adults are at risk of being eliminated by automation and artificial intelligence, according to Gallup.
“I had no idea that when we launched Zeal it would be in arguably the most important time in recent history to broadcast this thesis. We endeavor to challenge these existing inclusivity gaps and make Zeal an investor change agent that underscores our country’s equitable growth trajectory,” concludes Qadree.
About Zeal Capital Partners
Zeal Capital Partners serves as a Washington, DC-based inclusive investment firm partnering with exceptional diverse management teams building high growth early-stage businesses that are reimagining the building blocks of wealth – from education to employment and financial health. Zeal invests in pre-seed to series A stage businesses with a target check size of $250,000 to $2 Million. Zeal seeks to invest in Financial Technology and Future of Work companies in the U.S. with innovative, tech-enabled solutions that turbo charges economic mobility.
About Nasir Qadree
Nasir Qadree is the Founder and Managing Partner at Zeal Capital Partners. Most recently Nasir served as the Associate Director, leading AT&T’s Aspire Social Investment Fund, a $400 Million investment vehicle focused on early-stage tech-enabled for-profit education, employment technology, and human capital management businesses. Prior to AT&T, Nasir served as the US Economic Opportunity Portfolio Lead at Village Capital, sourcing, developing, and investing in high-growth businesses across the FinTech, Health, and Education/Workforce verticals. Nasir began his time at Village Capital serving as Global Head of its Education Investment Portfolio. Nasir began his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs, and later Senior Associate at State Street Corporation. Nasir is committed to completing 51 full marathons, in all 50 states and D.C. to raise $1 million in scholarship funding for first-generation college students. Nasir holds a BA from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.