110. Using CDFIs To Get From Zero To One

VC Minute
CDFIs are an excellent place to get support, connections, and possibly funding.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

Click below to listen. 2m 30s duration.

Subscribe on your podcast platform of choice

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts
Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on Pocket Casts
Listen on Stitcher


If you wanna fundraise and you exist outside the lines, you have to get over an initial barrier of not having the network. It’s just that simple. 

Some ways to do that are contacting your local CDFIs, which are again, Community Development Financial Institutions. Most major cities have them, and most of them are government funded or funded by government programs that can help you get from zero to one. 

Search them out, contact them and just say, here’s what I’m trying to build. Let me know what resources are out there and available to me. They help you for free. Or what I love to call, free 99.  

 If you’re at the point creating a pitch deck, they’re gonna help you create a pitch deck. If you’re at the point of fundraising, they have many great relationships. Here’s the local options of who we know as an angel investor who we know gives out foundation funding, who we know gives out all different types of stuff. Or if there’s VC funds in the area that are active, they’re also gonna connect you with them. Now you have a warm intro to that VC fund.

 Some CDFIs do have funding, and so they may get some SSBCI funding , from the federal government. Not all CDFIs do, but those ones that do offer funding, they work very similar to a venture capital fund. Some of them do loan programs. So just ask them, what can you do for me? And let them tell you. 

Now each CDFI works differently, but that’s the basics of how they operate. 

Then once you do that, now you can get from that one to 100 level and , that may include fundraising, going out there and talking with people, but now you have some traction or something behind you that makes it undeniable for VCs to say, it’s hard to say no to this.

 Because as a founder who exists outside the lines, very rarely is a VC that has traditionally existed within this ecosystem, gonna say, I absolutely love this, I’m gonna throw money at it. Very rarely. 

The point you want to get them to is, wow, it is really hard for me to say no to this. And then they start talking with their partners and they’re gonna say, yeah, we have to fund this because it’s such a great opportunity for our fund to make money. 

That’s the point you want them to get to, it’s really hard to say no to this. 

Follow Brandon on Twitter & LinkedIn for updates.

Visit the VC Minute homepage for more episodes and mores ways to subscribe.

Picture of VCMinute

About Us

We are in the business of helping young companies grow through seed investment and access to our network of leaders and industry experts.  People first. 

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter