MoFo News Item

MoFo Advises Base10 Partners in Formation of $250 Million “Advancement Initiative” Fund to Grow HBCU Endowments

27 May 2021

Morrison & Forester advised Base10 Partners (“Base10”), a San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm investing in automation for the real economy, on the formation of the “Advancement Initiative,” a new $250 million fund with the mission of aligning the success of technology companies with wealth creation for underrepresented minorities. The fund is investing in leading pre-IPO tech startups and donating 50% of the fund’s carried interest directly to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (“HBCU”) to create student scholarships and support university endowments.

“The Advancement Initiative harnesses the tremendous value creation in venture capital and technology companies to increase underrepresented minority talent in Silicon Valley,” said Paul ‘Chip’ L. Lion III, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Private Funds Group. “The goals of the Advancement Initiative align with Morrison & Foerster’s longstanding commitment to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in its many forms within the firm and in our communities. We share Base10’s founding partners’ commitment to expanding financial inclusion and are incredibly proud to support the development of the Advancement Initiative.”

Since debuting in March, the fund has completed investments into Attentive, Nubank, Brex, Plaid, Aurora Solar, Wealthsimple, CircleCI, and KeepTruckin. The fund’s limited partner (“LP”) base includes HBCU endowments, other minority organizations, and mission-driven foundations so they can directly benefit from this rewarding asset class. Notable HBCU LPs include Howard University, Florida A&M, and Tuskegee University, among others. Significant foundation partners for the Advancement Initiative include MacArthur Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Sorenson Impact Foundation, KFF, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The McGregor Fund, Plexo Capital, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Kapor Foundation.

Morrison & Foerster previously advised Base10 in the formation of their initial $137 million fund in 2018, and their second fund, the $250 million Base Fund II, in 2020. The initial fund remains the largest debut fund for a venture capital firm led by a Black managing director.

The MoFo team advising Base10 was led by Palo Alto-based Private Funds Group co-chairs Paul 'Chip' L. Lion III and Stephanie C. Thomas, with support from Corporate of counsel Kate Sum, Corporate associate Caroline Sir, and Tax of counsel Linda A. Arnsbarger and associate Adam E. Nguyen.

Morrison & Foerster’s Private Funds Group is a leading, global adviser in the formation of complex and specialized private funds for fund sponsors and institutional investors. The Private Funds Group has accrued broad recognition for its work, including being “Top Ranked” by legal directory Chambers Global for Investment Funds.

Learn more about the Advancement Initiative.

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