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Startup America – More Funding in the Offing for Regional Venture Development Initiatives?

The series of announcements today around the public-private Startup America Partnership  suggests there soon could be substantial investments made in high-growth companies and in the very regional Venture Development Organizations themselves.  Startup America will be led by the Case Foundation and Kauffman Foundation – the two initial funders of the independent nonprofit’s operations.

The devil will be in the details, of course, but there appears to be opportunity to help ensure the new investments are directed toward those innovation-oriented programs with the potential to have the greatest impact for America’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The big ticket items are:

  1. IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States. Information Week reports online that “Funds from IBM's investment will be used to provide coaching and mentoring services for startups, launch educational and skill-building programs in collaboration with academic institutions and venture capitalists, and assist software developers in finding new business opportunities.” Contact: Timothy Willeford, IBM Academic Initiatives and Venture Capital Group, P: (914) 766-1107, E:

  2. SBA Administrator Karen Mills said SBA will be launching two funds:   1) the Early Stage Innovation Fund: using the SBIC model as its starting point, the $1 billion fund will provide capital through $1-5M investments; and 2) the Impact Investment Fund will generate $1 billion of investment over five years in distressed areas.  

  3. The Obama Administration is also proposing to reform the New Markets Tax Credit program and expanding it from $3.5 billion to $5.0 billion.

  4. Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. It appears that it is connected closely to the company’s Invest in America Alliance.  “Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies.”  Contact: Lisa Ihde Malloy, Intel Policy Communications.  P:(202) 626-4397  M: (202) 270-7600, E:

  5. SBA is partnering with the Veterans Administration and the Department of Labor “Building incubators for vet entrepreneurs.” No additional information was provided related to this initiative.

Also today were a series of separate announcements by independent organizations that were billed as part of the Startup America Partnership. Highlights for regional venture development organizations:

Jumpstart America – JumpStart, Inc, based in Northeast Ohio announced the creation of Jumpstart America as an independent entity to “raise and aggregate funding via public, private, and philanthropic partnerships for the creation of regionally-based innovation and entrepreneurship programs and serve as a national center for best practices in policy and programmatic activities that accelerate high growth entrepreneurship.” Initial support is from two Foundations, the Surdna Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  More details:

TechStars Network – is a private network of “independent regional accelerator organizations” that are members of  TechStars itself has offices in four communities: Boston, MA, New York, NY, Boulder, CO and Seattle, WA. Today’s announcement is for the addition of 16 other organizations around the country as charter members:

  1.  AlphaLab, Pittsburgh, PA;

  2. Betaspring, Providence, RI;

  3. Blueprint Health, New York, NY;

  4. BoomStartup, Salt Lake City, UT;

  5. Excelerate Labs, Chicago, IL;

  6. Founders Co-op, Seattle, WA;

  7. Incubate Miami, Miami, FL;

  8. Joyful Frog Digital Incubator; Singapore;

  9. Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville, TN;

  10. LaunchPad Ignition, New Orleans, LA;

  11. Ryan Academy Propeller Seed Accelerator Program, Dublin, Ireland;

  12. Startupbootcamp, Copenhagen, Denmark and Madrid, Spain;

  13. Tech Wildcatters, Dallas, TX;

  14. The Brandery, Cincinnati, OH;  and

  15. The Elevator, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is expanding its Blackstone Launchpad program through a five-year, $5 million annual campaign to support academic entrepreneurship modeled after the University of Miami (Florida) Launchpad program.  The new funds will support universities in five more distressed regions of the country. Contact: Amy Stursberg, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, P: (212) 583-5465, E:

Others groups making announcements today include (but probably aren’t limited to):  ASTIA (doubling support for women-led firms) the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (college entrepreneurship goals), the Deshpande Center,  MassChallenge, and the US Chamber of Commerce (K-12 entrepreneurship education). The complete and growing list is available at:

Attributed to SSTI, State Science & Technology Institute, Westerville, OH

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