Last year, local nonprofit Make It MSP conducted a survey of hundreds of Twin Cities entrepreneurs, and found that responders believed that a lack of early-stage investors was the area’s greatest weakness.
Finding startup funding isn’t easy in any market. But there are plenty of Minnesotans working to change that narrative on a local level. Here’s a list of local organizations connecting entrepreneurs to resources, mentorship and capital:
Matchstick Ventures: This Minneapolis-based firm invests in companies nationally. They typically invest $50,000 to $150,000 in early stage technology startups that have customers, a developed product and a drive to succeed, the firm says on its website.
Arthur Ventures: This VC firm is focused on investing in fast-growing startups outside of Silicon Valley. They target B2B software companies, and investments range from “a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars” according to the firm’s site.
Split Rock Partners: This Eden Prairie-based firm invests in software and cloud-based tech companies. Loup Ventures: This just-launched firm will focus on funding early stage artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented and virtual reality startups.
Brightstone VC: This firm does early growth-stage investing in technology and life sciences. They’re currently investing a $100 million fund, and make investments between $250,000 and $10 million.
Coral Group: This venture capital firm has about $200M in capital under management, focusing on building scalable companies that disrupt and change markets.
Dundee Venture Capital: This firm invests between $250,000 and $750,000 in high-growth, early-stage technology companies working in e-commerce, SaaS and consumer network businesses.
Lehmi Ventures: This Wayzata-based firm invests exclusively on health care services.
BlueStream Ventures: This Stillwater-based firm invests in tech companies working in communications, enterprise and infrastructure software, storage and wireless markets.
StarTec Investments: This firm makes investments ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 in Minnesota-headquartered startups with proprietary technology and market validation.
The Syndicate Fund: A Minneapolis-based firm that leverages its 30 syndicate members to provide early-stage startups with mentorship and seed funding. Syndicate is currently investing $1M in around a dozen startups in the area.
Versant Ventures: This Eden Prairie-based firm invests in MedTech and Biotech companies across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Versant was founded in 1999, and currently manages more than $2 billion, according to the company’s site. 65 of the firm’s company’s have achieved successful exits or IPOs.
Omphalos Venture Partners: Founded in 2010, Omphalos is based in Shakopee and focuses on early-stage startups.
Gopher Angels: A local network of more than 60 investors providing funding for early-stage Minnesota companies. The firm was founded in 2012, and has since raised more than $100 million for local startups.
The Network Connect: An initiative to connect investors with startups seeking for capital, resources and mentorship.
Twin Cities Angels: Twin Cities Angels has invested in 17 companies ranging from medical devices to gluten-free beer. The organization provides a formal setting for entrepreneurial-minded angel investors.
3C Capital: Based in Northfield, 3C is connected to the RAIN network, a multi-state group investing in the Midwest and Northwest.
Sofia Angel Fund: A group of angel investors seeking to build and promote women-led businesses. The fund invests between $100,000 to $500,000 per startup in one or two round.
Accelerators/Incubators (that provide funding)
Techstars Retail: Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target is a three-month intensive startup accelerator focused on bringing new technology, experiences, products, and solutions to retail. Each company receives mentorship and approximately $120,00 in funding. Techstars, an international accelerator, established a Minnesota program in 2016. Eight companies participated in the 2017 accelerator, including Twin Cities locals Upsie and Local Crate.
Gener8tor: This nationally-ranked startup accelerator based in Madison, Wisc. expanded to Minneapolis in 2016. The five participants in gener8tor’s first Minnesota accelerator represent a variety of industries including retail and MedTech.
Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator: A group working with new and established MedTech and medical device companies to support their entrepreneurial ventures. The Mayo’s business accelerator also provides a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs.
Cleantech Open Midwest: A six-month accelerator for early-stage startups creating clean tech innovation tech and innovations.
University Enterprise Laboratories: An collaborative research center for new bioscience companies. UEL provides entrepreneurs with the lab facilities and services they need to grow their business.
Cairn Ventures: This value investor purchases controlling stakes in B2B software companies and provide growth through capital, management additions and operations assistance.
Minnesota Venture Capital Association: A nonprofit group that helps startups manage funds and investments.
gBeta: Powered by gener8tor, gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams and requires no fees and no equity.
Accel.MN: A free program for entrepreneurs to refine their ideas and business plan before applying to a traditional acceleartor.
MNvest: A Minnesota law permitting investment crowdfunding with the goal of funding Minnesota’s growing businesses. MNvest is similar to sites like Kickstarter, enabling Minnesota businesses to legally advertise investment opportunities to all Minnesota residents.