Virginia-based Capital Impact Partners, which has an office in Detroit, along with California’s CDC Small Business Finance and Ventures Lending Technologies, have merged to create Momentus Capital to provide people of color with access to capital and opportunities.
Each organization under the new Momentus Capital brand will continue operating as separate entities committed to serving their key markets and clients, but now with additional resources and product offerings. The joint headquarters will be in Arlington, Va., and San Diego.
Among the recent programs and initiatives from the Momentus Capital family of companies is Activate Detroit, a new loan product that is empowering Black entrepreneurs by focusing on character-based evaluations, rather than credit scores.
“Small business owners, developers, and other local leaders are the engines of job creation and economic activity in communities across the country,” says Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Momentus Capital. “When these leaders have the opportunity to succeed, their communities, their residents — and our country — thrive. We need bold thinking and a holistic approach to unleash solutions for underestimated communities.”
To achieve its shared vision and mission, Momentus Capital’s participants are uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurs and local leaders at every stage of their growth with a continuum of capital and opportunities under one roof, they say. These key resources that address the challenges of — and support the solutions for — underestimated communities include:
Financial capital: A range of flexible debt and equity products to meet Momentus Capital’s partners’ needs, as well as access to new markets and potential investors.
Knowledge capital: Business advising, assistance, and training to develop the skills and insights that can help partners advance their enterprises.
Social capital: Connections to networks and people that can help Momentus Capital’s partners succeed.
Momentus Capital further amplifies this approach through technology solutions — including the Ventures+ loan software — that assist its partners in making a greater impact in their communities.
“In the midst of developing the strategy for Momentus Capital, we witnessed the toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing racial reckoning,” says Kurt Chilcott, the longtime leader of CDC Small Business Finance. “While challenging, those two years strengthened our resolve as we witnessed how these experiences specifically impacted communities of color and fueled the growing racial wealth gap.”
Momentus Capital says it combines its national presence with a local, place-based approach. It works with local leaders — including small business owners, social entrepreneurs, community-minded developers, policymakers, and builders of community facilities — to identify issues and drive solutions.
This approach is supported by the organization’s lending and investment activities: more than $700 million annually deployed to support small business owners, developers, and other community leaders. That, in turn, builds on more than $23 billion of investments that the Momentus Capital family of companies already made to support community solutions throughout their histories.
To support these community solutions, Momentus Capital is:
- Rethinking its credit parameters, and developing new lending and investing products to create more equitable access to capital for borrowers and projects who have traditionally been denied.
- Enhancing its lending with programs that solve for systemic issues through training, mentorship, and network building.
- Deploying technology solutions for community-focused partners and lenders to amplify their work.
- Working alongside partners in shaping national, regional, and local policy to address systemic inequities and expanding funding opportunities.
- Combining robust financial experience with community trust to attract mainstream dollars and deliver them to locally led projects.
Other include Impower, which helps business owners who have been denied for a commercial real estate loan; the Equitable Development Initiative, Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship, and Growing Diverse Housing Developers, all of which provide training, mentorship, connections, and pathways to financing for developers of color, helping them overcome racial barriers and systemic issues.
Momentus also is expanding access to Ventures+, a proprietary loan processing and portfolio management tool that has become one of the top resources for small business and community lenders. This has helped other local lenders create an impact in their communities by providing access to high-level services they would otherwise be unlikely to manage on their own.
In addition, the company is launching an Impact Investing group to jumpstart growth-stage businesses that will impact their communities. Equity investments make up less than 2 percent of CDFI portfolios in the United States. This will fill a crucial gap for companies like this that need more than traditional debt products.
Momentus also says it is developing a first-of-its kind, mission-driven investment bank to better connect investors with community organizations through community-centric securities offerings.