Zeal Capital Partners is based in Washington, D.C. driven by their inclusive investment strategy. Managing Partner Nasir Qadree founded the firm in 2020. Nasir has an impressive and expansive background. He started his career as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, then moved onto work as a Senior Associate at State Street Corporation. While balancing his work in finance, Nasir decided to invest in a coffee shop and coworking space. The Bee’s Knees Baking Company was a hub of entrepreneurial activity, which sparked his interest in innovation. From there, Nasir went on to become special assistant to the commissioner of education for the Connecticut State Department of Education and working for then-Senate candidate Cory Booker, whom he advised on the future of education. He pivoted to venture capital to support founders solving the problems he observed while in the public sector and public market, holding investment roles as director of social investments at AT&T and head of education at Village Capital. With this foundation, Nasir launched Zeal Capital Partners to focus on financial inclusion and the future of work.
Zeal Capital Partners invests in early-stage companies focused on narrowing America’s wealth and skill gaps. We were impressed with the precision and rigor of the firm’s proprietary investing strategy, which has five key components.
The first starts with the Zeal Capital Partners investment team, which is led by people from diverse backgrounds. Only 1.3% of the $69 trillion in U.S. assets are managed by funds led by women or people of color, according to research from the Knight Foundation. Second, Zeal Capital Partners invests in diverse management teams. There is $4.4 trillion in untapped economic opportunity due to the underinvestment in early-stage companies that are led by women or people of color according to a study by Morgan Stanley. Third, Zeal Capital Partners invests across the U.S., with a focus on regions outside of coastal tech hubs. Fourth, the firm invests in financial technology and future of work companies. A study from Deloitte found that over the course of a 30-year career, a person will need to update their skills six times, which will require lifelong education. Finally, the firm seeks top-tier financial and impact returns aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
In the firm’s first newsletter, Nasir writes, “It was important we led with inclusion, not diversity, so that we could be even more proactive and intentional about widening our lens. This approach begins with our team and extends to include the makeup of our companies, geographic regions we proactively invest in, aligned LPs, and measuring social impact outcomes via our proprietary impact framework.”
Why we invested
We were immediately impressed with the Zeal Capital team as a whole, and with Nasir’s experience across public policy, finance, venture capital, and impact. We believe Nasir has the experience necessary to build the firm and the right approach to building a team that can execute on their vision. We were excited by Zeal Capital’s focus on investing in entrepreneurs located in geographies outside of major tech hubs, and we share their perspective on the value of inclusive investment approaches to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.