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Pier 70 Ventures Brings Investments to Minority-Owned Businesses  

2024-02-04 – BE&O ATC

A local venture capital firm is working to find investors who are interested in supporting Black entrepreneurs. 

The goal of Pier 70 Ventures is to act as a bridge between private investors and entrepreneurs. In particular, Shaun Hawkins, a previous President of Eli Lilly New Ventures initiative and a current Managing Partner at Pier 70, says the firm is interested in handing out capital to entrepreneurs and startups focused in the healthcare field. Hawkins says companies focusing on building scalable therapeutics and new technology are high on the target list.  

Hawkins says private investors and endowments work with Pier 70 because of their unique ability to support and foster growing Black entrepreneurs and businesses. “They want to do more with their capital,” Hawkins says. He touts a recent investment by the University of Notre Dame into a company that makes non-contact diagnostic equipment to detect congestive heart failure and kidney disease.    

In its search for “game-changing technologies,” Pier 70 does not invest in publicly traded companies. Instead, they only work with mostly small private companies. Once funding is secured, Pier 70 and its partners take a stake in the company’s ownership, hoping it grows.  

Hawkins says an idea or company does not need to be completely formed to get Pier 70’s attention. “No opportunity is perfect,” he says. If an organization or idea is too far along in its development, it likely is not an ideal investment candidate for the firm.