Formed by the state legislature in 1989, Connecticut Innovations is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut's innovative, growing companies.
CI awarded support to 141 companies during 2014. CI's investments and loans provide critical funding to entrepreneurs and growing businesses throughout the state.
During 2014, CI invested $20.2 million in 44 startups in the areas of bioscience, information technology, clean energy technology, and financial technology, attracting $61.8 million in additional capital from venture capitalists and angel investors.
Of the 44 companies, 32 were existing portfolio companies that received additional growth capital, while 12 were newly identified opportunities.
CI also provided $15 million in loans to 22 companies to assist in their growth, attracting $37.4 million in additional capital from Connecticut banks.
"CI has proved to be a vital element in the state's innovation scene,"says Claire Leonardi, former CEO of CI.*
"Over the past year we've continued to help companies with both early-stage investments and loans, enabling them to grow operations, hire employees, and commit resources to business essentials such as office space and R&D.
"What we offer goes beyond just a dollar figure; our companies benefit from the many intangible assets under our umbrella, and we look forward to building on the energy we see in the marketplace."
Here are some of CI's key activities in 2014:
- CI's Specialty Finance Group provided $32.4 million in tax-exempt financing to nine companies. The group is an important collaborator with other state agencies to help recruit companies to the state and help Connecticut-based companies invest for growth.
- The Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (CBIF), one of two funds CI manages under BioInnovation Connecticut, awarded nearly $4 million to bioscience projects in 2014, which is intended to speed up the commercialization of bioscience breakthroughs. CBIF is a $200 million fund that will make investments over the next 10 years in the form of grants, equity investments, and loans. CI also funded 18 projects totaling $9.9 million through its other BioInnovation fund, the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund, formerly the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Fund.
- CI awarded $216,000 to 21 Connecticut startups through its Entrepreneur Innovation Awards, a competitive pitch event held four times a year throughout the state. Over the course of the year, more than 450 attendees watched 33 companies compete at the Shark-Tank-like event, which provided up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs in Connecticut for growth-related activities.
- Through CTNext, Connecticut's innovation ecosystem (whose goal is to build the state's startup community), CI awarded $2.4 million to support 21 partners who helped 240 young companies advance by providing assistance such as coworking space, technology education, networking events, mentoring, and business guidance from entrepreneurs-in-residence.
* Philip Siuta, CI's chief financial officer, is acting CEO.