Idea Foundry awarded Build to Scale Capital Challenge Grant by U.S. EDA

October 5, 2021

The U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the Department of Commerce, has awarded Idea Foundry a $250,000, three-year grant through the Build to Scale Capital Challenge. The grant will support the creation of a southwestern Pennsylvania based angel investing initiative in cooperation with our implementing partner Babst Calland.

The recent US EDA grant awarded to Idea Foundry will further Southwestern Pennsylvania's early stage organization ecosystem through the creation of a new angel investing initiative. This new initiative aims to catalyze investments into growth stage, innovation backed, high growth-potential companies. Idea Foundry, in partnership with our implementing partner, Pittsburgh-headquartered law firm Babst Calland, will be providing a local match of $405,215 over the course of the performance period for total direct project impact of over $650,000.

Southwestern Pennsylvania, known for a robust academic landscape, with a rich research and development pipeline as well as a pool of highly skilled talent, faces a decline and historic dearth of growth-stage venture capital. Growth stage capital is a highly valuable resources for companies to aid in their crossing the "valley of death," and escaping the funding paradox, whereby early stage organizations have begun to verify value proposition, but are locked in a quandary of capital and customers - one needs growth capital to get customers, but also customers to acquire growth capital.

Funding made available by EDA will enable Idea Foundry to source deal flow, complete vetting and due diligence of companies, address issues raised by potential companies and provide support for those companies to make them more investable through hands on development, and work with angel investors to source and bring engaging and investable companies to the table.

Idea Foundry is launching this new initiative after nearly twenty years and over 250 early stage deals in Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond, as Idea Foundry's CEO Mike Matesic describes for TRIBLive, “It’s a quilt, and every patch in the quilt makes it a complete blanket,” he said. “This is one more patch to sew into the quilt to give us full coverage for the region so that we not only are noted for the success in starting companies, but we are noted for the ability to grow them locally.”

Idea Foundry has been supported in the past by EDA via the i6 Challenge, the precursor program to Build to Scale.

Companies who feel they are at a suitable stage of company life for this program are encouraged to reach out to Idea Foundry through info@ideafoundry.org or the contact section of this website.

More information about this grant can be found through the EDA's website, including all FY21 B2S Capital Challenge awardees.

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