The Blog


If you’re thinking about starting your own venture, blogger Jeff Pruitt gives some great advice on how you can make calculated risks that will pay off and avoid unnecessary risks. Read more here.

View VCET’s impact metrics as of Spring 2014

Impact Sheet Spring 2014

VCET is pleased to announce its plans to collaborate with FairPoint Communications to create VCET @ BTV, a co-working space coupled with business mentoring and networking opportunities for promising startup companies in the FairPoint Technology Hub in downtown Burlington. For more information, please visit www.CoWorkBTV.com.

Vermont Seed Capital Fund

The Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP is looking for select investment opportunities in early stage, high opportunity, technology based companies in Vermont. Objectives are to impact next generation job and wealth creation in Vermont by providing companies and entrepreneurs access to early stage risk capital. The fund is a revolving, “evergreen” equity fund with $5 million of initial capitalization from the State of Vermont and U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy.  The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is a strategic partner for this fund.

This is a professionally managed venture capital fund which invests exclusively into Vermont start-ups and growing firms determined as offering high growth potential, financial return commensurate with risk, and public benefit for Vermonters. Portfolio firms also have access to substantive programs, facilities, partners, and value-adding services offered via a strategic relationship with the non-profit VCET organization.

Investment transactions range from $25,000 to $250,000. The fund can act as lead investor or as part of investment syndicate.

 
Basic Eligibility Criteria: Any Vermont based start-up, emerging growth firm, or team seeking to form a new company, relocate or expand into Vermont is eligible for consideration except if your company:

  • Has last 12 month sales greater than $3 million
  • Has headquarters or principal team location outside of, or not committing substantially to Vermont
  • Is a restaurant, retail store or real estate project

Each company or proposal submitted is considered on an individual investment basis. Venture capital is a highly competitive source of private funding. The Fund targets market based investment returns from high opportunity businesses with exciting market opportunities, innovative technologies and credible founding teams.

The Process: Start the conversation with our team early to share ideas, help refine the opportunity or for simply advice on market conditions, valuation parameters and to de-mystify the venture capital raising process.
The investment process takes considerable time and effort, so be prepared and forewarned. Funding is highly competitive and not all worthy firms will be funded.  This is not a grant program. The process includes:Initial Screening: Firms will be reviewed for eligibility, suitability, entrepreneur qualities, and initial assessment. A response declining to pursue, offering alternative funding sources, or seeking follow up information will result.Initial Due Diligence: Firms experience an in-depth review and assessment on their markets, business model, financials & capital path, existing & prospective management team, technology & products, sales & distribution, and comparative advantages, among other areas.

Advanced Due Diligence: Few firms reach this step. Transaction structure, valuation, terms, corporate and legal due diligence and remaining questions are completed. If an investment is considered desirable and fund objectives can be attained, then an Investment Recommendation is prepared for the Investment Committee and any invited domain or subject matter experts.

Investment Decisions: The independent Investment Committee has final determination on the proposed term sheet and investment recommendation. This committee is responsible for the approval of all investments.

Adding Value and Infrastructure: Portfolio firms have unique and advantageous access, if they so select, to facilities, professionals, networks, specialized research assets, and strategic partners associated with the VCET organization.  In addition to Board participation, the Fund Manager and VCET team are actively engaged with firms on building teams, accessing critical first customers, strategic partnerships, corporate strategy, networking and training opportunities, mergers and acquisitions, and executive mentoring. All of which lowers burn rates, lowers investment risk, hastens progress towards “value-changing” events, and increases probabilities for market based returns and success as Vermont based employers.

Follow-On Capital and Investment Exit: For most seed stage firms, follow-on funding is necessary to achieve their potential. We offer an exceptional network of local, regional, and national venture firms, corporate investors, angel investors, grant and debt options to fund firm growth and next stage development. Our team will be involved in sourcing follow-on capital and active regarding exit and liquidity opportunities.

 

Emerging companies may have terrific ideas, but not necessarily all of the skills, experience and resources in place to grow and prosper. In response, VCET’s programs and capital funds offer select early stage firms substantive business mentoring along with traditional business incubator services and infrastructure.

Since 2005, the VCET team has worked with entrepreneurs helping to crystallize concepts, assemble teams, craft business models, secure resources and locate early customers. Some firms will develop rapidly in a matter of months for a software launch while others might take years to complete medical trials. Either way, VCET programs, facilities and capital programs serve a select few firms by supporting the design, positioning and acceleration of a new product idea, a better service offering or a truly breakthrough platform technology.

Simply put and relentlessly pursued, our mission is to help you create next generation jobs for this generation of Vermonters.

Our long term strategic partners include US Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Technology Council, the State of Vermont, Middlebury College, Norwich University, Champlain College, the Vermont State College System and many other economic development organizations.

VCET is a 501 (c) 3 public benefit corporation serving all of Vermont.

Follow us on Twitter @VCET

Please find attached the Fiscal Year 2013 public report of the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP.  A subsidiary of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) is the Fund Manager. Investing activities began in May 2010 shortly after the first capital contribution arrived, and as of November 2013, 13 companies from around Vermont have been initially supported by $2.2M of the Fund’s early stage risk capital.  To date, 7 portfolio companies have received follow on investment and 3 companies have failed.

During the initial 10-year fund time horizon, a total of 17 companies are anticipated to receive initial funding support during the fund’s first revolve.  The Fund completed its 4th consecutive annual financial and process Audit without issue as conducted by an independent CPA firm.

As of June 30th data capture, the first 12 companies supported with the Funds $1.9M investment have attracted $21M in total capital, earned $16M in cumulative revenues so far, and paid $10M in cumulative payroll.

VCET invested $1M in capital alongside a total of $4.1M of one time capital from the State of Vermont via the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)  to form this permanent, revolving $5.1M high risk pool of capital.
Thank you for your continued support of entrepreneurs in Vermont.  We are available to discuss further or to answer questions.

logo_ubi

Burlington, Vt. – The Stockholm-based University Business Incubator Index (UBI) has ranked the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) as the 11th best university and college-orientated business incubator in the world, and ranked VCET as 5th in the U.S.

The University Business Incubator (UBI) Index contacted 500 incubators and surveyed 150 incubators in depth. Out of those 500 international incubators, VCET tied for 11th globally and 5th in the U.S.

According to the UBI Index report, top incubators in the list see the following results versus their average counterparts:

Generate a 2.4 times higher number of jobs per client per year.
Incubator graduates earn 3.3 times higher revenue per year.
More than twice the number of clients that remain in the region post-graduation.

On average, top ranked incubators also have a higher number of active coaches and mentors, 70 percent more hours of coaching and twice the number of clients that receive venture capital or angel funding.

“Whether the focus is on local or global markets, VCET has shown time and again that they have the resources and know-how to help Vermont’s entrepreneurs succeed,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has secured more than $5 million in federal funds to establish and grow VCET. “Today’s recognition affirms what I have long believed: VCET’s role as a cutting-edge business incubator is both an asset for growing Vermont’s economy and a model for global business development.”

Over the last six years, VCET has advised over 700 entrepreneurs, launched a $5 million seed capital fund, and curated a world-class network of over 100 mentors and investors for the emerging businesses it serves. It has also seen its portfolio companies attract over $55 million in capital, and exceed $39 million in payroll and earn over $53 million in revenues.

Founded in 2005, VCET is a technology firm incubation and mentoring organization with a mission to accelerate next generation job growth in Vermont. VCET provides startups with flexible office spaces, capital, networking and direct expert assistance.

During 2013, VCET opened up space in its Middlebury location as a coworking resource for Middlebury College students and area entrepreneurs. The space is now fully occupied by seven start-ups and there is a waiting list.

“VCET’s presence in Middlebury is an incredible resource for the college community as well as the larger community of Addison County,” said Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz. “VCET offers invaluable mentoring and support for student and area entrepreneurs. We see students who participate in the VCET program not just ready to face the world, but often already owning and running a business before they graduate.”

The key to VCET’s success has been its business mentor program where startups are connected with seasoned and successful entrepreneurs.

“Our ranking on the UBI Index is a testament to how we are supporting entrepreneurs in Vermont,” said VCET Board Chair Frank Cioffi. “The VCET team has done a phenomenal job leveraging 10 Vermont college and university partners and supporting a contemporary and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The center also manages the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, which invests into a select number of high opportunity businesses including some of VCET’s incubation program participants such as BuysideFX in Burlington and Rapid Focus Security in Berlin.

VCET’s blend of expert mentoring, facilities in Burlington and Middlebury in addition to a syndicate of accredited capital providers is helping emerging businesses and founders to create and grow companies here in Vermont

One of Vermont’s major success stories for 2013, Berlin, Vt.-based Pwnie Express, just closed on $5.1 million in Series A funding – partially from the Vermont Seed Capital Fund.

“When I started Pwnie, I was working out of my basement,” said Pwnie Express Founder Dave Porcello. “VCET’s mentoring and incubation programs helped us prepare for growth; we are now rapidly expanding and taking the Cyber Security market by storm.”

About VCET
The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) is a non-profit serving technology entrepreneurs across Vermont with incubation programs, business mentoring, networking and early stage venture capital. Visit: www.VermontTechnologies.com

No survivorship bias here. A compilation of startup failure post-mortems by founders and investors.” A super interesting read from CB Insights on failed startups told by the founders themselves.

Catherine Collins is the VP for Entrepreneur Development at VCET.
Catherine collaborates with regional colleges and universities to increase the number and potential success of undergraduate student entrepreneurs and recent graduates .  Further, Catherine advises and consults entrepreneurs drawing on a variety of design thinking methods. Some of Catherine’s favorite topics are design thinking, mentorship, resilience, food, skiing and of course — entrepreneurship.
She graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Political Science and French.  After working on various farms in Austria, Italy, Ireland and France, Catherine made her way back to her home state of Maine to work at the Maine International Trade Center.  She returned to Vermont to work for Middlebury College’s leadership and innovation program – MiddCORE.  As Associate Director, Catherine contributed to the expansion and scaling of the MiddCORE Immersion on two campuses as well as MiddCOREplus an internship program and a workshop series.  In 2014 MiddCORE was awarded The Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award which recognizes high impact in education innovations.
Little known fact: Catherine worked in the kitchen of the White Barn Relais & Château. 
 
Previous Workshops: 
Ashoka U Exchange – Innovative Models for Hosting a Social Entrepreneur on Campus February 2014
OpenIDEO Meetups at Middlebury College Fall 2014
MiddCOREplus Design Studio Workshops Summer 2014

In addition to the finalists, VCET’s very own Andrew Stickney (VP) was a mentor to the participating companies and an adviser to LaunchVT itself.

 

To learn more about IrisVR’s win and LaunchVT itself, please see here: http://bfpne.ws/RIDGv4 | http://bit.ly/QRctVT