raising capital start smart university of pittsburgh
Grants
Commercialization Funding Within Pitt
Venture Capital
Angel Groups
Economic Development Organizations
Due Diligence
Foundations
Crowdfunding

While it may seem obvious, before you begin fundraising, you need to understand what you will need. See Building a Financial Plan.

The next step is determining who to ask.

Potential sources for funding may include your own money, gifts, grants, debt, equity and revenue from customers.

Grants

Resources and Organizations

NIH RePORTER

Catalyst Connection Grants

Small Business Innovation Research

PA Innovation Partnership

For an early stage company transitioning from the university, the most typical sources are Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants from the federal government, economic development agency funding (often in the form of convertible notes) and/or patient advocacy research grants (e.g., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation). As these funds are used to further refine the technology and the business, the next funding sources are often angel or venture capital investors.

What’s an SBIR/STTR Grant?

The National Science Foundation named the University of Pittsburgh an I-Corps Site in early 2015. The I-Corps Team program is a process that helps you determine what potential customers care about and whether it is possible to build a viable business around your innovation. The Pitt Ventures First Gear program  is modeled on the I-Corps program.


Commercialization Funding Within Pitt


Venture Capital

Venture capital is financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Venture capital generally comes from well-off investors, investment banks and any other financial institutions. [Source]  During Office Hours we offer free one-on-one advice with Draper Triangle and Innovation Works click the image below to request an appointment.

  1. Groups, Directories & Resources
  2. Other Similar Investors

Office Hours


Angel Groups

Individual angels are joining together with other angels to evaluate and invest in entrepreneurial ventures. The angels can pool their capital to make larger investments. ACA has more than 400 angel groups in its database and many more across the globe. Angel organizations come in many forms, but all have certain characteristics:

  • They meet regularly to review business proposals
  • Selected entrepreneurs make presentations to the membership of the group
  • Member angels decide whether to invest in the presenting business
  • Angels work together to conduct due diligence to validate the plans, statements and history of the entrepreneurial team
  • Find out More about Angel Investors

Due Diligence

Serious potential investors will launch a formal due-diligence investigation. Often, at this stage the investor will conduct a formal review of the business assumptions that are critical to determining the commercial value and potential of the innovation. If the partner is satisfied with its due diligence effort, the two parties will enter into a negotiation of investment terms, which will be detailed in a term sheet.

If you are interested in learning more about due diligence, please attend our Office Hours with K&L Gates or “Preparing for an Exit” which is one of our Start Smart Sessions.

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Economic Development Organizations

These organizations are typically governmental organizations or nonprofits with a mission to build local, state, national or world economies. One of the key drivers for economic development is job growth. Much of today’s job growth comes from startup or small businesses.

Local Economic development organizations


Foundations

Foundations are organizations that have identified individuals/families/corporations who share a common mission to provide grants to address those missions. These missions might include addressing environmental impacts or finding cures/treatments for diseases. If your startup aligns with a foundation’s mission, you might consider contacting them to learn whether they will provide grants to your business.

Pittsburgh Foundations

Other Foundations

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is about persuading individuals to each give you a small donation — $10, $50, $100, maybe more. Once you get thousands of donors, you have some serious cash on hand.

This has all become possible in recent years thanks to a proliferation of websites that allow nonprofits, artists, musicians — and yes, businesses — to raise money. This is the social media version of fundraising.

There are more than 600 crowdfunding platforms around the world, with fundraising reaching billions of dollars annually, according to the research firm Massolution. [Source]

  • Go Fund Me
  • Indiegogo
  • Kickstarter – Kickstarter helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. To date, tens of thousands of creative projects — big and small — have come to life with the support of the Kickstarter community.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?