Eli Lilly has helped Sixty8 Capital hold a first close for its $20m fund, which the venture capital firm will use to back startups led by members of typically underrepresented communities.

Sixty8 Capital, a US-based venture capital firm focused on startups led by underrepresented groups, has reached a $20m first close of its fund with backing from pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly.

The fund has also secured capital commitments from financial services firms First Internet Bank and Bank of America as well as 50 South Capital, The Indiana Next Level Fund and the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Sixty8 is industry agnostic but is concentrating on companies led by founders from underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship, such as women, black and Latinx people and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The firm will deploy the fund by investing 25 to 30 pre-seed and seed-stage companies with a geographical emphasis on the Midwest region of the US, providing between $250,000 and $500,000 per deal.

Sixty8 has partnered fellow VC firm Allos Ventures for the fund and Paul Ehlinger, a principal at Allos, will join Sixty8 as…

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