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

Grants

Grants are a popular option for academic inventors and entrepreneurs to pursue funding to support their commercialization efforts. Grants are typically offered by government resources and provide non-dilutive funds to start-up companies. More information and resources are provided below.

What are non-dilutive grants?

Non-dilutive grants allow a startup company to obtain funding to de-risk some of its technology challenges without a requirement to provide equity in the start-up in exchange, and no money is required to be paid back. These grants are available from the federal government, states and local government.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and its companion Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program are both very natural first steps to assist small businesses in the transition from the university to commercialize new technologies that meet federal research and development needs. The program is funded through a dozen federal departments and agencies. Funding ranges from $150,000 in Phase I to $1 million in Phase II. Small businesses that have research and development needs that align with federal government research interests and companies formed around technologies developed with federal research funds are eligible to participate.

SBIR 101: Introduction to SBIR/STTR Funding {Click below to access PowerPoint}

 

Grants are also available from FOUNDATIONS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT organizations.

Want to learn more?

Resources and Organizations

Relevant Links:


 

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.

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