The Story of CNote
CNote is a women-led impact platform that uses technology to unlock diversified community investments to increase economic mobility and financial inclusion.
Catherine Berman pitching (and winning) the SXSW Super Accelerator Pitch Competition. CNote has been selected to the Impact Assets 50 list in 2020 and 2021 and has won other accolades from Finnovate, Benzinga and others.
CNote makes it easy for institutions and individuals to invest in the economic prosperity of financially underserved communities across America. These investments help women and people of color start businesses, construct affordable housing, create jobs, and fund other community-centered projects.
At CNote, we believe in economic justice and the importance of confronting, combatting, and redesigning the financial infrastructure and power dynamics that for centuries have kept low-income and BIPOC communities at a distinct disadvantage.
To that end, CNote was founded on two core principles. That everyone deserves an equal opportunity to pursue financial freedom and that each of us can play a part in building a more equitable world simply by changing where we invest and hold our cash.
CNote was created by two women, Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, with decades of experience working in finance. In their past roles, they witnessed the wealth gap grow into a wealth chasm, especially after the great financial crisis of 2008. Seeing more and more financial innovations focused on making the wealthiest 1% even wealthier, they decided to leave traditional finance to found CNote and prove that financial innovation could be used as a tool to close the wealth gap, not exacerbate it.
CNote is on a mission to close the wealth gap.
Their vision: a business model that could create value for all of its stakeholders — rather than following the traditional path of trying to grab a bigger piece of the pie for themselves, they would work to increase the size of the pie for everyone.
To achieve this, CNote provides a new and sustainable capital source for our community-lender partners, generating better returns for CNote investors, and increasing capital access and economic activity in communities that need it most. CNote has developed proprietary tech and diligence engines to invest in a unique asset class that delivers returns and impact.
CNote’s products are created in partnership with the communities we serve. To us, responsible investment involves empowering local communities, leaders, entrepreneurs, and citizens to control their own destinies. CNote does not make lending determinations for our partners, as they know their communities best. What we do is use technology to streamline the evaluation and selection of top-performing Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Low-Income-Designated Credit Unions to generate an optimal mix of return, impact, liquidity, risk, and diversification for our investors.
Women and people of color have not had equal access to capital and the opportunity it brings throughout America’s history. Finance no longer has to serve a select few. We believe in equal opportunity for wealth — that everyone, through hard work and drive, should have access to financial empowerment and prosperity.
Every new job, new business, new home, or new project funded by CNote investments is proof that small decisions can have a massive impact.