To help innovative entrepreneurs expedite the early stages of their start-up development process, The Launch Place announced today a new investment initiative called the Pre-Seed Investment Program to further these entrepreneurs' market and product validation and/or business model refinement.
Start-up companies may secure a maximum investment of the following:
• $25,000 for product and market validation
• $50,000 for business model refinement
According to The Launch Place officials, this investment strategy may become a precursor to the organization's Seed Fund, where a larger round of early stage funding is available to eligible start-ups.
Since this Seed Fund's establishment less than a year ago, The Launch Place has invested $250,000 in three companies for a total investment of $750,000. These companies are:
• KSI Data Sciences, LLC
• CirrusWorks Venture, LLC
• SEAL Innovation, Inc.
"We have received many promising start-up ideas, but they were not quite investment ready as defined by our Seed Fund Investment Guidelines. We often feel that further testing to obtain more assurance around customer validation of the product, or refinement of the company's business model, or further development of the company's management team could allow these entrepreneurs to qualify for more substantial funding through either The Launch Place Fund, angels, venture funds or some combination thereof," The Launch Place President & CEO Eva Doss said.
For investment consideration, Doss said there are eligibility requirements, such as:
• Be currently located or willing to locate to Danville, Pittsylvania County or Caswell County, N.C.
• Have an innovative and cutting edge technology, new product or new technology application that advances high growth industries, such as: Advanced Manufacturing, Alternative/Advanced Energy, Advanced Materials, Healthcare IT, Medical Devices, Software and Electronics and Controls.
• Be willing to accept entrepreneurial business consulting, training/mentoring/coaching and support services from The Launch Place.
• Give preference to resources in the Danville region such as Danville Community College, Institute for Advanced Learning & Research and Danville Regional Medical Center to validate the technology and business model.
• Be willing to put an Advisory Board in place that will provide oversight and guidance during the validation process. Agree to accept a Launch Place designee to serve on the Advisory Board.
• Agree to public disclosure of involvement with The Launch Place.
• Enter an agreement including provisions and conditions for the funding.
Depending if the investment is for market or product validation or business model refinement, additional requirements will be needed, said Doss.
For consideration, go to www.TheLaunchPlace.org to fill out the Pre-Seed Investment Program Application. Additional information on the program also is available.
Awarded a $10 million grant from the Danville Regional Foundation in July 2013, The Launch Place increased its capacity to offer business-consulting services and expanded to include entrepreneurship recruitment, development and retention resources and assistance.
As an 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization, The Launch Place strives to energize and diversify Southern Virginia's regional economy through entrepreneurship development and business consulting services.