CEI Ventures closes on new VC fund

Posted April 06, 2011, at 8:55 p.m.

Wiscasset-based CEI Ventures Inc. announced Wednesday an initial closing of Coastal Ventures III Limited Partnership, the group’s newest socially responsible venture capital fund.

According to a statement, the first closing on $5.5 million of this venture fund brought together banks, foundations and individuals to invest in companies in Maine and the region that provide social, economic and environmental benefits to area people and communities. The release said the benefits could include from fast growth, job creation, healthy environmental practices and good diversity practices.

CEI Ventures said the ultimate goal of the fund is to invest $10 million in eight to 12 companies in order to improve the environment and to create jobs for low-income people. Current employment in prior funds’ portfolio companies totals more than 2,800 jobs, and manufactured products have included air pollution control equipment and tests for pesticides in drinking water.

CEI Ventures Inc. is a for-profit venture capital subsidiary of Coastal Enterprises Inc., a Wiscasset-based community development financial institution. CEI’s venture funds have raised more than $41 million for socially responsible investing, and CEI Ventures has invested in 35 companies over the past 16 years in industries including natural foods, software, biotechnology and scientific instruments.

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