Brown Venture Group, a Black-owned Minneapolis venture capital firm, received a "sizable" investment from Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp., the latest large corporation to back the firm's inclusivity investment model.

The sum of Bank of America's investment in the group's inaugural fund was not disclosed. With the recent investment, though, Brown Venture Group said Thursday it is almost at its goal of raising $50 million from private investors for its first fund, co-founder and managing partner Paul Campbell said.

Earlier this year, Richfield-based Best Buy Co. invested $10 million into the fund, bringing the firm within 75% of its target.

Through the fund, the firm will make investments into tech startups founded by Black, Hispanic-Latino and Native American entrepreneurs. The check sizes will range from $10,000 to $100,000 for early-stage companies, and up to $3 million for more mature companies, Campbell said.

Campbell and co-founder Chris Brooks started the firm in 2018. They began raising capital for the fund in 2020. So far, roughly 12 individual investors have put money into the fund, Campbell said.

The company's portfolio is closing in on a dozen startups, of which five are located in Minnesota and the greater Midwest region, Campbell said. Some startups located outside of the region are planning to move to be closer to the venture capital fund, which is operating like a venture studio model to connect entrepreneurs with resources, industry experts and mentors.

Greater MSP, the regional economic development agency of the Twin Cities, helped facilitate an introduction between Brown Venture Group and Bank of America, according to a release from the firm.

In addition to partnering with Bank of America, Brown Venture Group is working with NASA to identify and invest in entrepreneurs of color that would license and monetize the agency's technologies through the NASA Technology Transfer Program, which is open to the public, Campbell said. NASA is trying to grant more access to communities of color through its Mission Equity initiative.

"We supply entrepreneurs that can develop these technologies into businesses and provide capital to support them," Campbell said.

In 2020, U.S. startups raised roughly $148 billion from private investors. Less than 3% of venture-capital dollars in the U.S., however, go to startups with Black or Latino founders.

"The flow of capital has a significant role to play in advancing racial equity," Katie Simpson, president of Bank of America's Minneapolis-St. Paul market, said in a statement. Bank of America previously committed to investing $1.25 billion into in U.S.-based minority and women entrepreneurs over the next five years. The banking and financial services corporation has already invested $350 million toward that goal.

Through its investment model, Brown Venture Group is looking to capitalize on trillions of dollars of untapped business revenue, Campbell said. Up to 92% of investment capital in the U.S. is going to one group of non-diverse contributors who make up roughly 30% of the country's population, he said.

"If I told you I was going to take 92% of your hard-earned money as your financial adviser and put it into one investment that only represented 32% of the available market opportunity, assuming all things were equal, you'd say "Paul, you're fired,"' Campbell said. "We're missing out on great ideas and investable companies that simply lack the opportunity."