Cascade Seed Fund, a regional early-stage technology and consumer products investment fund, has announced 12 new investments for 2020 and plans for the year ahead.
Focusing on early-stage technology companies and direct-to-consumer product brands with proven traction, the current $6 million fund brings individual and institutional investors together to activate regional capital and provide venture development to the entrepreneurial ecosystem as it seeks out investment opportunities. Cascade Seed Fund met with over 280 companies during the year to hear their stories, provide feedback, assist with connections and make investments.
“We believe our location helps our regional focus as we are always looking for great companies both in major cities as well as smaller cities and towns in the Pacific Northwest,” said Robert Pease, managing director of Cascade Seed Fund. “We have investments throughout Oregon in places like Bend, Eugene and Portland but also in cities like Seattle, where we have two investments. As companies become more distributed, having key personnel located in our region is another great opportunity for us and we believe this is the right size fund for our stage and region focus to generate the best return for investors.”
Cascade Seed Fund remained active as the COVID-19 situation evolved, meeting companies, conducting due diligence and closing investments in many cases without having met the company founders in person. With a target initial investment amount of $250,000, Cascade Seed Fund fills a funding gap between individual angel investors and larger venture capital funds as companies are seeking their first outside, institutional capital.
“A year ago, our total revenue was under a quarter of a million; last month, we did that much in a single day. Cascade’s investment and backing helped us accelerate our growth at the right time,” said Jelani Memory, founder and CEO of A Kids Book About, which was recently selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2020.
Cascade Seed Fund has a unique operating model that utilizes an Investment Committee to provide input on investment decisions while offering better connections between entrepreneurs and investors who can leverage their networks and expertise to help. The Fund continued investing as COVID-19 spread, leveraging a proven process-driven approach to finding, screening and closing investments honed since its first fund in 2014, that was easily adopted to remote operations and virtual meetings.
“After an initial period of uncertainty, we saw many of our portfolio companies actually accelerate given the forced digital transformation across many industries — both technology and consumer products companies,” said Julie Harrelson, managing director of Cascade Seed Fund. “We think the year ahead will be filled with more uncertainty but also further accelerate changes and create opportunities for new startup companies and innovative leadership.”
Completed investments in 2020 include:
- A Kids Book About akidsbookabout.com
- ToolBelt toolbelt.work
- Deep Surface deepsurface.com
- TripGrid tripgrid.com
- GoalFive goalfive.com
- Candid candidwholesale.com
- ZipCan zipcan.com
- Sizzle sizzle.gg
- Enviral Tech enviraltech.com
- LegUp legup.care
- EdjSports edjsports.com
- Locl locl.io
As part of Cascade Seed Fund’s virtual annual meeting held in September, portfolio CEO’s were asked to provide one word to describe working with Cascade:
“Game-changing” — Callie Christensen and Kelly Oriard, Slumberkins
“Community” — Rob Little, Cairn
“Generosity” — Chris Tranquill, TopBox
“Faith” — Jelani Memory, A Kids Book About
“Confidence” — Joel Gendelman, n2uitive
A full video is available on the Cascade Seed Fund website: cascadeseedfund.com.
Cascade Seed Fund plans another four-five new investments in 2021, along with supporting existing portfolio companies in their follow-on financing activities and plans to begin raising their next fund of similar size and focus in early 2021.
Participation in the Cascade Seed Fund is by referral and invitation only. Angel and venture investments involve a high degree of risk. Participation is limited to “accredited investors,” as defined in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.