Colin Kaepernick Sets Mission-Based SPAC With Najafi Cos.; Ava DuVernay Is Board Advisor

Originally published by Jill Goldsmith, Deadline

Football great Colin Kaepernick has entered the ballooning word of SPACs, or special purpose acquisitions companies, and will be co-chairman of a new one called Mission Advancement Corp.

He’s partnering with Najafi Cos. a private investment firm with holdings in consumer, retail, ecommerce, sports, media, and technology. They have assembled an all diverse board of directors for the SPAC with advisors including leading filmmaker and activist Ava DuVernay.

According to an SEC filing, the SPAC will target companies worth north of about $1 billion “with a focus on high quality brands with scalable business models and a direct relationship with an established customer base in the United States.” The idea is to identify targets with operations and ESG-related characteristics that align with the partners’ business strategy of supporting companies that currently have or have the potential to generate a positive social impact along with potential to grow and create shareholder value.

ESG – which stands for environmental, social and governance — is one of the fastest growing investment sectors.

SPACs are shell companies that raise money by going public and search for acquisition targets, which then become public companies themselves — an easier and cheaper route to the stock market for many. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick and Jahm Najafi — founder and CEO of Najafi Cos. — will seek to raise around $250 million by taking Mission Advancement public. They will be co-CEOs of the venture.

The SPAC’s independent board is made up entirely of Black, Indigenous and people of color, the majority of whom are women, the filing said. Former Apple executive Omar Johnson will serve as one of the directors. Others include Attica Jaques head of Global Brand Consumer Marketing at Google); Katia Beauchamp (co-founder and CEO of commerce beauty business Birchbox); and Stacie Olivares(a Trustees of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System).

Advisors, in addition to award-winning DuVernay, include Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros; Ryan Nece, investor, entrepreneur andformer NFL player (whose career includes a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz; former Macy’s CFO Paula Price; entrepreneur and fund manager Valerie Mosley; investment professional Richelle Parham; former Jamba CEO James White; and Ibrahim AlHusseini, founder and managing partner of environmental growth fund FullCycle Climate.

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