When Connecticut Innovations thinks about New Haven, they think innovation. “New Haven County continues to be a hotspot for entrepreneurial activity,” Claire Leonardi explained in a recent press release from Connecticut Innovations. As the CEO and Executive Director of the organization, Claire has been highly involved in the development of the local startup ecosystem. She explained: “Approximately 40 percent of CI’s risk capital investments and portfolio companies are located in the county. Fueled by the CTech technology business incubator, the diverse resources at Yale, including its entrepreneurial institute, The Grid, and a robust community of entrepreneurs, among other resources, the region has much to offer emerging technology ventures. It offers the kind of resources the Malloy administration is enthusiastic about supporting and expanding.”
Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for growing Connecticut businesses through innovative financing and strategic assistance, today announced that it has committed funding totaling $950,000 through its Pre-Seed Fund to six startup technology companies:
- Ancera LLC (Branford, Conn.) – $150,000
- Green Life Guides LLC (New Haven, Conn.) – $100,000
- Pattern Genomics LLC (Madison, Conn.) – $150,000
- P2 Science Inc. (New Haven, Conn.) – $200,000
- RPM Sustainable Technologies Inc. (Guilford, Conn.) – $150,000
- Shizzlr LLC (Orange, Conn.) – $200,000
CI’s Pre-Seed Fund is an important catalyst in the state’s high-tech economic development engine. It supports the formation of new Connecticut technology companies by providing funding, mentoring and access to business and technical resources. Since the fund was launched two and a half years ago, CI has provided a total of $5.6 million in loan financing to 37 companies through this fund. You can click here to apply.
Two of the six companies awarded funding have been profiled by the Whiteboard in the past – Green Bride Guide and Shizzlr. Let’s take a closer look.
Green Life Guides LLC (GLG) operates the e-commerce site Green Bride Guide, a comprehensive resource for engaged couples seeking eco-friendly wedding ideas, products and services. Visitors to the Green Bride Guide website will find information on more than 1,000 vendors of “green” wedding products and services, as well as “green” wedding gifts, honeymoons and décor. The company’s strategic partnerships with the Association of Bridal Consultants, Mywedding.com, WeddingWire, The Wedding Planning Institute and the Wedding Channel Couture Show have helped make eco-friendly wedding options mainstream. The Green Bride Guide website has been overwhelmingly well received, attracting almost 20,000 unique visitors each month, which in turn has prompted media stories about the company by a number of national publications and websites including The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, the New York Times, Bridal Guide, and Martha Stewart’s Wedding Magazine. Prior to receiving this pre-seed funding from CI, GLG received pre-seed funding of $150,000 in 2011 and $100,000 in 2012 from CI. Other investors in the current pre-seed round for GLG include Advantage Capital and angel investors.
Shizzlr LLC has developed GroupcentricSM, a simple and robust software development kit and platform that enables developers to add private sharing and group chat into iPhone and Android mobile apps within minutes. It allows users to privately share rich content with groups across the many applications that use Groupcentric. Shizzlr has released 15 apps thus far that have generated over 1,500 downloads and 10,000 messages across apps. The company plans to build several additional apps as a supplement for outside developers utilizing the software development kit. In addition to receiving the current pre-seed funding commitment from CI, the company received pre-seed funding of $150,000 from CI in 2011. Other participants in the current pre-seed round include a strategic investor and individual investors.
Congratulations to Kate and her team, Nick and his team, and each of the other four teams involved in this announcement!