Zeal Capital Partners Appoints Stefanie Thomas as Managing Director

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zeal Capital Partners, the Washington, D.C.-based mission driven and category specific venture capital firm dedicated to investing in dynamic early-stage technology businesses with diverse management teams, today announced that Stefanie Thomas will join the firm as Managing Director. Thomas, an early-stage investor with a decade of venture deal-making experience, from pre-seed to Series B, will oversee the firm’s pre-seed investment strategy and portfolio that focuses on sourcing, investing, and scaling high-growth, early-stage tech startups. She is based in Washington, D.C. 

Thomas joins Zeal from her role as founding member and investor at Impact America Fund (IAF). During her tenure at IAF, Thomas helped grow the investment company from $7M to $110M AUM with a thesis of driving economic power to communities of color. In her new role at Zeal, Thomas will oversee the firm’s expanded commitment to Inclusive Investing™ under the new Barclays Black Formation Investments (BBFI) initiative, a pioneering pre-seed investment platform backed by Barclays and managed by Zeal Capital Partners. Built to propel the next generation of Black-led companies, BBFI will provide critical early-stage capital and support to ambitious founders who are building high-growth technology companies primarily across the US.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Stefanie to Zeal Capital Partners, to spearhead a timely effort to propel the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and companies shaping the future of technology and business at scale,” said Nasir Qadree, Founder and Managing Partner, Zeal Capital Partners. “Stefanie’s leadership will add to our continuing commitment to provide capital and support systems to businesses that produce outsized returns, empower diverse management teams, and help grow the next generation of venture capital professionals.”

Black entrepreneurs have historically faced disparities in securing venture capital funding and typically receive less than 2% of overall VC dollars each year. In 2022, venture capital dollars allocated to Black startup founders fell more than 50%. Yet, studies have shown that investing in diverse founders generates competitive returns, and that Black founders and investors are at the leading edge of innovation, with distinct life experiences and perspectives that uniquely position them to found businesses that tackle important business needs and societal issues for diverse communities.

“I’m thrilled to join Zeal Capital Partners to support the mission of democratizing capital access so that the most talented teams and business ideas can thrive,” said Stefanie Thomas. “My work and life experiences have helped me to see investment opportunities beyond a traditional investing lens, and I’m looking forward to using that experience to identify founders with unique and important ideas that will unlock value for both our industry and the world.”

Prior to joining Zeal, Thomas served as a founding member and investor at Impact America Fund (IAF), where she worked on one of the firm’s landmark investments, led by Andreessen Horowitz. Her work included evaluation of more than 1,500 companies and deal leadership on 25 financings, from pre-seed to Series B, while also advising select CEOs on capital-raising strategies to close more than $75M in aggregate funding for their businesses. Prior to IAF, Thomas co-founded the pioneering entrepreneurship platform for women, Women Who Launch, after noticing the lack of startup communities available to support aspiring women founders. Earlier in her career, Thomas served as Vice President in Citigroup’s global banking division. She received her M.B.A. from the Ross School at the University of Michigan and her B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Zeal Capital Partners

Zeal Capital Partners, based in Washington, DC, partners with high-growth, early-stage, tech-enabled companies led by diverse management teams that are rethinking the building blocks of wealth. As a category-specific investment firm, Zeal focuses on education to employment pathways, financial wellness, and health equity.