Zoma Capital was created in 2016 by Ben and Lucy Ana Walton to execute and manage the family’s investment activities. While we seek to generate best-in-class rates of financial return, we also strive to incorporate the family’s unyielding commitment to addressing some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Based in Denver, Zoma Capital manages a global investment portfolio, spanning across multiple asset classes and sectors. Our team’s primary investment focus is on opportunities in five core verticals — Community Development, Energy, Education, Healthcare and Water.
While our investment universe is global, as a member of the Denver community, we are motivated by our commitment to addressing local market challenges and believe that our capital can play a role in addressing Colorado-based issues in each of our target verticals. A distinctive feature of Zoma Capital is that our own organizational understanding of social and environmental impact is explored and discerned through a locally defined frame of reference in each of our verticals.
Our team is particularly interested in exploring ways to place capital into both enterprises and funds that address local social and environmental challenges, while in parallel supporting the preservation and development of sustainable and resilient local communities. We have recently made several notable community development-focused investment commitments that demonstrate direct impact on our local Denver and Colorado communities.
One of these opportunities is into a fund called Community Investment Management (CIM). CIM provides small business loans of around $100,000, helping entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses. Our commitment to CIM is focused on funding Colorado-based borrowers, of which 53% are female, minority, or veteran owned businesses. Through this investment, Zoma can support our organi-zational belief that small businesses are an engine for local economic growth, and that through the provision of capital to an underbanked segment of the market, we can serve as a catalyst for local job creation and economic activity.
Another example of a place-based community development focused investment is the Colorado Impact Fund (CIF). CIF provides growth capital to local entrepreneurs who have developed compelling business models that drive meaningful community impact. Through CIF, we are indirectly invested in Galvanize, a Colorado-based coding and data science educational provider. Galvanize courses result in high job placement rates into positions with significant increased earnings potential for students. We are also indirectly invested in SecureSet Academy, the first cybersecurity focused boot-camp, which was launched in response to the shortfall of cybersecurity professionals who are needed to meet the rise in cyber threats worldwide. SecureSet plays an important role in workforce development for the cybersecurity industry, and creates pathways for students in a field with substantial opportunity for upward mobility. Both are examples of top-tier companies that are the product of a vibrant and innovative local venture capital investing market.
A third and very different example of a community development focused investment opportunity can be seen in the Colorado Classic, an exciting new format of professional bike racing we are helping to launch in partnership with several other Denver community members. Biking is an emblematic part of outdoor activity and lifestyle here in Colorado and serves to bring together the community on a city and statewide level. Predecessor races have had over 1,000,000 attendees in the past and it is anticipated that the Colorado Classic will bring meaningful tourist and hospitality dollars to the greater Denver area during the month of August.
Our investment pipeline represents new and exciting opportunities to support a broad set of community development focused issues in the Denver and broader Colorado markets. We seek to support the development of a vibrant and dynamic social investment ecosystem and are encouraged by the variety of opportunities that continue to emerge locally. Our hope is that we can continue to find creative ways to support local initiatives in this ecosystem by using patient and flexible capital, and employing whatever the right tool might be relative to the investment opportunity under consideration.
Zoma Capital is the private family office of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton. Zoma seeks to invest in a broad range of market-based sustainable solutions towards addressing environmental and social problems.
Melissa Cheong is the Chief Investment Officer at Zoma Capital, overseeing the management of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton’s family investments, employing a values-aligned investment strategy. Previously, she held various positions working with family offices and at organizations such as Treehouse Investments, Imprint Capital, Plainfield Asset Management, Metzler Bank and Deutsche Bank.