J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced a new initiative within its Project Spark program, aimed at providing capital to venture capital funds managed by emerging alternative managers that have served in the U.S. military.
In collaboration with JPMorgan Chase’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs division, the mission is to use the firm’s capital and network to close the funding gap for underrepresented managers and to strengthen the veteran ecosystem in the alternatives industry.
As part of the new initiative, the firm intends to commit an initial $25 million to five or more funds across a range of sectors and specialties, to be overseen by the Project Spark investment committee, which is comprised of diverse senior executives across J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The investments seek to support firms managing venture capital and other eligible, private funds founded by U.S. military veterans.
To launch this new activity, the firm along with Vets-In-Tech (ViT), gathered prospects at its first VetVC Summit, hosted at its world headquarters, featuring panel discussions, networking sessions and guest speakers, including JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon.
“Through Project Spark we have demonstrated our desire to directly impact representation of diverse managers in the alternatives industry and I’m excited to extend this to the veteran VC community,” said Jamie Kramer, Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Alternatives Solutions Group and the chair of the Project Spark Investment Committee. “Through our investments in funds managed by veteran-owned VC firms, we’re not only providing a capital commitment, but also seeking to create a network between the veteran community and the J.P. Morgan investment ecosystem.”
In 2011, JPMorgan Chase established its Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to promote veteran initiatives by weaving them into the fabric of how it conducts business. Focusing on careers, entrepreneurship and financial health, the firm supports veterans through both business-led initiatives like Project Spark, as well as philanthropic efforts and partnerships with top veteran service organizations around the world.
“This investment is a terrific example of how we are using the resources of our firm to lead the industry in creating access to venture capital for the veteran community,” said Mark Elliott, Global Head, Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase. “When we leverage our partnerships across multiple lines of business and activate our global network, the economic opportunities we can create for the veteran community is so powerful.”
Another example of the firm’s commitment to veterans includes CEOcircle. In 2021, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking launched the year-long program for growth-stage businesses in partnership with Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit built by military veteran entrepreneurs with the mission of empowering other military veterans to become leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. The program provides entrepreneurs with three key resources needed to help grow their businesses: targeted educational programming, peer-to-peer networking via monthly group meetings and financial expertise gleaned from a 10-week mentorship with JPMorgan Chase advisors.
For the 2021-2022 program, Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase worked with 40 businesses with 2021 projected annual revenue ranging from $1.5 to $105 million. The businesses, which averaged $13.9 million in annual revenue, represented a diverse array of industries including healthcare, marketing, data and information technology, staffing and recruitment and restaurants. The program is expected to double in size next year.
Source: JPMorgan Chase