Slater Fund Poised for Progress in Fiscal 2008
Fund optimistic after closing fiscal 2007 with $3.1 million in commitments, nearly $1 million in capital recovery and renewed funding from the State of Rhode Island
Providence, R.I., September 10, 2007 – The Slater Technology Fund, a state-backed venture capital fund, is optimistic about prospects for 2008 after significant success in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. Highlights of the previous fiscal year included a record amount of capital recovery, a near-record level of funding commitments, and renewal of annual funding from the State of Rhode Island to support the Fund’s investment activities in fiscal 2008.
During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007, Slater completed or approved a total of $3.1 million in funding commitments to 11 technology-based ventures, an amount second only to last year’s record of $3.5 million. Of this amount, $2.25 million in financing transactions were completed during the fiscal year, and $850,000 were approved and remained subject to completion as of fiscal year end, pending satisfaction of various conditions to closing. Several of the funding commitments were in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, notably larger amounts than in previous years.
Also during fiscal 2007, Slater recovered in excess of $930,000 in the form of returns on previous investments, the strongest financial showing in the organizatior’s history. This year’s capital recovery is more than double the previous year’s total, which was $420,448.
As of the close of the fiscal year, Slater’s annual funding from the State of Rhode Island was renewed in amount of $3.0 million. Funded consistently at this level since inception in 1997, the Slater Program commences its 11th year in support of RI-based innovators and entrepreneurs.
For the second year in a row, Slater’s funding commitments to Rhode Island-based companies have exceeded its annual funding from the State of Rhode Island. Reflecting continued progress in Slater’s efforts to improve the cost effectiveness of the program, this comes as a result of further reductions in the Fund’s overhead spending as well as the ability to tap a growing reserve of capital recovery funds.
In recent years, Slater has continued to refine the focus of its activities in direct investment. Originally chartered to provide grants in support of promising technologies originating in local universities and research institutions, Slater has moved to play a more proactive role in support of entrepreneurship and new venture development, emphasizing private sector engagement to leverage its public sector support. In so doing, the Fund seeks to play a more integral role in the statr’s economic development strategy and the growth of Rhode Island’s "innovation economy."
Accordingly, Slater has devoted relatively larger dollar-sized funding commitments to a more limited number of investee companies with a view toward increasing the probabilities of success in attracting significant follow-on funding over the near-term and generating more significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. By structuring its investments in the form of equity-related securities, the Fund seeks to "participate in the upside" with the goal of achieving returns on investment that ultimately will enable the Fund to be self-sustaining.
Fiscal 2007 Commitments
Companies receiving initial or follow-on funding commitments from Slater during fiscal 2007 included:
- Andera Software, Inc. ($150,000) – founded by graduates from Brown University, the company has developed and commercialized web-based solutions for banks and credit unions.
- Bionica Corp. ($500,000) – a spin-off from Design Lab, a Providence-based industrial design firm, the company is developing an innovative personal communication system for the hearing-impaired.
- Concordia Fibers, LLC ($250,000) – an established textile manufacturer located in Coventry, R.I., the company develops and manufactures specialty fibers for applications in biomedical products, authentication and other high value market opportunities.
- Creative Circle Advertising Solutions, Inc. ($200,000) – incubated within the Center for Design & Business, the company recently launched an innovative, web-based system for classified advertising, applicable in both print-based and broadcast markets.
- Genome Corp. ($250,000) – a genomics company based in Providence, the company aims to develop and commercialize the worlr’s most cost-effective DNA sequencing technology.
- Innovention Technologies ($500,000) – in collaboration with researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, the company established operations in Mddletown, RI to develop robotic surgical devices for use in cardiac and other medical conditions.
- Location, Inc. ($250,000) – originating out of local university research, the company specializes in Internet-based neighborhood search and information services, matching users with instantly-mapped neighborhoods throughout the United States and beyond.
- ProThera Biologics, LLC ($100,000) – based upon research undertaken at Lifespan/Rhode Island Hospital, the company is developing diagnostic and therapeutic products based on natural serine protease inhibitors for treatment of sepsis and other life-threatening conditions.
- Public Display, Inc. ($150,000) – co-founded by a team of R.I.-based serial entrepreneurs, the company is developing web-based groupware designed to organize the family.
- Storage Venture ($250,000) – based upon technology developed at the University of Rhode Island, the company focuses on the design, development and marketing of data protection technologies and products.
- Tizra Inc. ($500,000) – based in Providence, the company develops and markets online publishing and delivery solutions.
In addition to its investments, Slater also saw many of its portfolio companies make significant progress during the year. More information about the achievements of Slater’s portfolio companies can be found at www.slaterfund.com.
"We are truly excited about the prospects for the coming year," said Richard G. Horan, senior managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. "Particularly gratifying has been the sustained level of commitment shown by both the Carcieri Administration as well as the General Assembly for investing in entrepreneurship. We are seeing increasing evidence of the return on such investment in the contributions being made to the growth of the innovation economy here in Rhode Island. We’re quite confident that the strategy will continue paying significant dividends in the years ahead."
About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund is a state-backed venture capital fund that invests in new companies committed to basing and building their businesses in Rhode Island. Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term.
Laura Nelson or Kaycee Roberts
SVM Public Relations
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