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.

2016-ventureclash-499Of the 11 finalists we attracted from eight different countries, VentureClash awarded six companies with investments, mentoring, customer introductions, grants, and services to help them grow and succeed. Dream Payments, a Canada-based fintech cloud powering payments across mobile devices and the Internet of Things in partnership with financial institutions, received the top investment award of $1.5 million. Hubbub, a United Kingdom-based company providing digital fundraising solutions for the education and nonprofit sectors, took home the $1 million investment prize. Additionally, four other finalists each received a $500,000 investment award.

You may wonder what happens next. Let me tell you: Our work has just begun.

We say that Connecticut Innovations offers “more than money,” because that’s exactly what we do. Like Matt mentioned in his last blog post, Connecticut Innovations (CI), already one of the most prolific early-stage investors on the East Coast, is entering the ranks of the great strategic investors. Beyond our financial investment, which is just the first step in nurturing our startups, CI mobilizes the power of our network to ensure that as many of these nascent companies’ needs are met as possible. It has paid off handsomely in the past, in the form of significant returns on our investment, which we can turn around and recycle into the latest early-stage companies. Even better, our startups create high-paying Connecticut jobs. Exciting stuff, isn’t it? We’re so energized to be working with these new companies from all over the world. I hope you’ll follow along with their progress and cheer them on with me. Here’s to the future of fintech and digital health!

Missed this year’s event? Don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to get involved with VentureClash 2017. We’ve added a new category—the Internet of Things—which will make the event even more exciting.

Have a question or suggestion for me? Use the comment section below.