Wow, What a Ride!

cti_headshot-circle-mask-dougLauren Carmody
Director of Marketing and Communications

Those of you who follow this blog or read the business news know that Connecticut Innovations recently held its first-ever $5 million pitching competition. All I can say is, Wow, what a ride! What started as the barest seed of an idea quickly bloomed into something so big it defied expectations (just like many of the startups in CI’s portfolio). Last year, my team and I were brainstorming ways to expose more entrepreneurs to everything that Connecticut has to offer startups. And on October 20, mere months later, we watched as entrepreneurs from all over the world found out what the Nutmeg State is all about as they pitched their ideas live to a panel of judges and a wildly enthusiastic audience at Yale University. These fintech and digital health disruptors were hoping to win some of the millions of investment dollars up for grabs, along with the chance to be supported by Connecticut Innovations’ growing and powerful network. And wow did they impress. Continue reading

Perfect Pitch: Attracting Venture Capital

CTI_Headshot-circle-mask-mattMatthew McCooe
Chief Executive Officer

Connecticut’s recently launched $5 million global pitch competition for fintech and digital health companies, VentureClash, has drawn an incredible response from companies globally. So I thought it would be an opportune time to take another look at what makes a pitch attractive to investors.

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$5 Million in Awards for Promising Fintech and Digital Health Companies from Across the Globe

CTI_Headshot-circle-mask-mattMatthew McCooe
Chief Executive Officer

If you keep up with Connecticut business news, you may have heard that Connecticut Innovations, a leading provider of financing for early-stage companies, recently launched a $5 million global venture challenge. Pretty exciting stuff! But you may wonder why we created such an ambitious competition, and what we hope will come from our investment. Applications for VentureClash opened April 28 to early-stage fintech and digital health companies worldwide, so it’s a good time to share our vision, and the three tenets driving our strategy. Continue reading

A 30-Year Veteran Investor On the Mistake He Wishes You’d Stop Making, and Why He Prefers Younger Entrepreneurs

CTI_Headshot-circle-mask-russ

Russell Tweeddale
Former Managing Director, Investments

 

 

 

Doug-Roth-Headshot

Douglas Roth Director, Investments

Russell “Russ” Tweeddale, an engineer, Marine, and investor with Connecticut Innovations for more than three decades, sat down this week to talk shop with Douglas Roth, CI’s director of investments. Over the course of their hour-long chat, during which they covered everything from fuel cells to the importance of strong advisory boards, Russ imparted some hard-won pearls of wisdom he gained while investing more than $75 million in numerous Connecticut companies. Russ’s notable successes include many of today’s industry leaders, such as Affomix, AxioMx, Proton Energy Systems, CuraGen Corporation, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Bio-Plexus, International Telecommunication Data Systems, Open Solutions, and Ipsogen.

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The Most Valuable Type of Capital

CTI_Headshot-circle-mask-mattMatthew McCooe
Chief Executive Officer

The most important ingredient in any successful startup is an experienced and effective management team. Since our state has taken a beating in the business press of late, I thought it was an appropriate time to remind our readers—you—about one of the critical factors that sets Connecticut apart, namely our extraordinary management talent. Let’s take a closer look at a few lists that I believe more accurately rank our state and represent our greatest asset: our supremely talented human capital. Keep in mind that we’re recognized nationwide for a variety of traits that set our talent apart. Continue reading

Entrepreneurs—Wary of Dilution? A Perspective to Consider

David Wurzer PhotoDavid Wurzer
Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

Most entrepreneurs are loath to give up equity—anyone who has ever watched Shark Tank knows that. And it makes sense. After all, it’s your breakthrough idea, your money (and sometimes your family’s and friends’ money), your sleepless nights and your hard work. When you’re pouring all that into a venture, you should be the one to call the shots and reap the spoils. It stands to reason that the more equity you take—in other words, the more ownership you give away—the less control you have over your business. And of course, you stand to make less money upon exiting, right? Continue reading

Character in Management

CTI_Headshot-circle-mask-mattMatthew McCooe
Chief Executive Officer

I’m reading New York Times columnist David Brooks’ new book, The Road to Character, which explores how some of our greatest leaders and most admired thinkers have built strong moral characters. The book reads like a long but excellent commencement speech, and it blew me away. What struck me most is how closely the character traits that Brooks praises: kindness, courage, honesty, and faithfulness, are the same ones that I look for in senior management in our portfolio companies. Here is an excerpt from the book:

They radiate a sort of moral joy. They answer softly when challenged harshly, they are silent when unfairly abused. But they get things done. They perform acts of sacrificial service with the same modest everyday spirit they would display if they were just taking out the garbage. They are not thinking about what impressive work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all. They just recognize what needs doing and they do it. Continue reading

Simplifying HR, Benefits and Payroll with Technology

JasonJason DeLaurentis
Corporate Benefit Planning Consultant
CBP

Whether your company is firmly established with hundreds of employees or is a new, two-man startup, managing your human resources, benefits and payroll functions is not an easy job. The employee responsible for those areas must stay on top of an increasing number of reporting rules, federal and state regulations and data management requirements, and, unless your systems are integrated, likely is not able to make complex decisions quickly. Tracking data through disparate manual systems and complying with myriad rules and regulations can be a costly drain on resources, leaving your employee frustrated and your company vulnerable to risk. Fortunately, new digital services designed to streamline these functions are cropping up everywhere. Read on to see if one might be right for you. Continue reading

Financing Growth Ventures to Minimize Equity Dilution

jackhayesJack Hayes
Venture Founders

An entrepreneurial team’s mission is to develop and grow its venture and to optimize the management team’s equity ownership stake. Significant growth usually requires substantial development and expansion capital, often in the form of equity investments. These investments take equity from the management team and put it in the hands of the investors who provide the capital for development and growth.

At BioHybrid Technologies and Sensor Technologies, two Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based high technology startup ventures developing novel ways to treat diabetes, our management team raised over $50 million of technology development financing without any resulting equity dilution. We raised approximately $8 million through federal government and private foundation grants. We raised the balance—slightly more than $46 million—from three corporate alliances, which funded our two ventures’ technology developments in exchange for rights to the developed technologies. Continue reading

Meet Matt McCooe, CI’s CEO

mattbiositeMatthew McCooe
Chief Executive Officer

As the newest member of the CI team, I wanted to share some initial thoughts about the CI mission. More important, I would like to address the open question about how CI intends to accomplish our two objectives—job creation and generating a positive return on investments. Here are three key ways I believe we will win.

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