CNote Closes Series A Investment, Cementing the Women-Led Impact Platform’s Leadership in Closing the U.S. Wealth Gap Through Financial Innovation
Oakland, Calif., September 19, 2022—Building on the momentum of its impact platform—already adopted by corporate leaders including Apple, Mastercard, Netflix and PayPal as a scalable way to address wealth inequality in the U.S.—CNote announced today that it raised $7.25 million in an oversubscribed Series A investment round.
American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact led the round, joined by Astia Fund, BankTech Ventures, Commerce Ventures, CityRock Venture Partners and other investors.
CNote gives corporate treasurers a powerful ESG tool, driving high growth
“We’re addressing a massive systemic problem with a market-friendly platform that has already been adopted by forward-thinking corporations and other institutions,” said Catherine Berman, CEO and co-founder of CNote, which deploys investor funds into community financial institutions that advance economic equality, racial justice, gender equity and climate change adaptation. “By pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into undercapitalized communities, CNote is activating corporate dollars for systemic change while minimizing risk.”
CNote’s technology platform gives corporations a simple, safe way to deploy ESG cash and fixed income in underserved communities at scale. CNote places investor funds into deposit and loan products through a network of over 2,000 impact-driven community financial institutions that serve low- to moderate-income communities, support women and people of color entrepreneurs, fund affordable housing and provide other forms of economic inclusion.
CNote is deploying about $300 million in cash and fixed-income investments via its platform—reflecting over 370% growth since 2020. The platform has 1,900 corporate, foundation and individual investors, including AMD, Patagonia and Xylem, as well as the companies listed above.
Noted Berman, “For CEOs, CFOs and large institutional investors, CNote has the network, the community finance expertise and the technology to provide unparalleled access to ESG cash and fixed-income opportunities at scale alongside trackable impact. We’ve reduced the friction points so they can activate their balance sheets quickly and with minimal effort.”
The Series A investment will enable CNote to advance its technology, expand its sales team and deepen its network of community financial institutions.
Mission-aligned investors aim to advance equality and build strong communities
The Series A round reflects the women-led fintech’s insight that assembling a diverse stakeholder group is key to multiplying its successes. “We’re co-creating the future we want to see, and that requires bringing key stakeholders to the table, including these investors,” Berman said.
“CNote is leading the way in providing capital for CDFIs [community development financial institutions] and minority depository institutions, capitalizing on the exploding ESG market,” said Rob Kornblum, principal and portfolio manager for the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. “We know that capital access is one of the keys to producing generational wealth for underserved communities. We are thrilled to partner with Catherine and Yuliya [Tarasava, CNote co-founder] in leading the Series A round for CNote.”
H/L Ventures, a longtime advisor to CNote and a prior investor, manages a family of companies and funds that comprises a holistic company-building system.
“CNote is breaking new ground in impact investment, enabling some of the largest organizations in the world to make a difference with their treasury dollars,” said Oliver Libby, co-founding Managing Partner of leading New York venture firm CityRock Venture Partners, H/L Ventures’ opportunity fund. “Our firm seeks startups with high growth potential, positive impact and diverse leadership teams; under Catherine and Yuliya’s inspired management, CNote exemplifies the extraordinary, scalable business potential of investment for impact.”
Other investors in the round include return participants The Artemis Fund, BLD Ventures, Golden Seeds, Lateral Capital V LP, ManchesterStory Venture Fund, Oxford Angel Fund and Rebalance Capital.
CNote, co-founded by Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, is a women-led impact platform on a mission to close the wealth gap through financial innovation. Using the power of technology and a community-first framework, CNote enables corporations, institutions and individuals to efficiently invest at scale in fixed-income and time deposit products that advance economic equality, racial justice, gender equity and climate change adaptation. CNote delivers regular reporting on the social impact of deposits and investments made through its platform. A Certified B Corporation, CNote was a B Lab “Best for the World” honoree in 2019 and was named “Best Women-Owned Business” by the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles program in 2020.
About The American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact
The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact is a venture capital firm and partner of choice for exceptional entrepreneurs who are building scalable, sustainable businesses in a long-term effort to close equity gaps in America. It also recognizes that capacity building and supporting organizations and experts who have been working toward social causes are equally important in making a positive impact within our communities around the country.