The SEIC Board yesterday (3/25/09) approved the proposal from Ann Arbor SPARK for the new $6.8 million pre-seed fund. The new money comes from the unused dollars in the 2006 21st Century Jobs Fund competition. These funds will be added to the current pre-seed fund which was nearly dry. 30 investments were made from the original funding in just two years. The MEDC provided another $1.5 million last fall and allowed three more investments to be made to date. It is expected more that 20 more companies will receive funding over the next couple years.
Since this is 21CJF money it is limited to the four technology sectors in the legislation creating the 21CJF. Those sectors are: Advanced Automotive, Manufacturing, and Materials; Alternative Energy; Life Sciences; and Homeland Security and Defense.
The fund was originally and still is a collaboration among the states SmartZones. To apply for pre-seed investment a company must work with a SmartZone which will perform the initial due diligence and validate eligibility. The SmartZone will also make sure the applicant is adequately prepared and in some cases help the company raise the required match from outside investors or non-state grants.
There is more news to come regarding this new funding, so stay tuned.