Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public business investment organization that invests in technology, health-care and manufacturing companies in the state, is joining the state’s innovators where they live. CI will be turning its current New Haven outpost into its full-time headquarters early next year, relocating from longtime space in Rocky Hill.
CI will move into 10,000 square feet at District, in space currently being built out in the thriving District structure, converted just a few years ago from a long-forgotten bus depot. The site, on the city’s edge, is home to dozens of start-up businesses in a range of technology and numerous other fields. CI is already among those tenants, with a handful of desks for about a half-dozen employees.
According to published reports, CI officials indicated they were seeking to create a more collaborative environment for their two dozen employees. “New Haven is centrally located, so we like that,” CI Communications Director Lauren Carmody told New Haven Biz earlier this year. “And we have a large number of companies in our [investment] portfolio that are based in or around New Haven.”
Connecticut Innovations provides “capital, strategic guidance and connections to a valuable network of partners and resources,” providing fledgling businesses “the support you need to succeed,” the quasi-public’s website points out.
Also highlighted are the state’s current standing in venture capital, noting Bloomberg has identified Connecticut as the fourth innovative U.S. state and that CI is #7 on Forbes list of 10 venture capital firms that made the most investments in healthcare startups in 2018 (with 20 deals). Also noted: a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors indicating that millennials are moving to Greater New Haven at a greater rate than any metro area in the country.
The networking and collaborative opportunities of the District have previously been cited as a plus, amidst established companies and co-working start-ups at the Drive, which is in the midst of literally knocking down a brick wall to facilitate expansion to meet demand for space at 470 James Street in the shadow of I-91.
CI’s summary for the third quarter of 2019 includes $22 million in total transaction dollars, $9 million in investment proceeds, $58 million in total additional capital leveraged, and 37 unique companies that received direct/indirect financial assistance. Total assets under management has grown from $172.6 million in the first quarter of this year to $184.5 million. Two-thirds of equity and risk capital investments are in the bioscience and healthcare information techology industries.
The state’s fourth annual VentureClash, which began in June and is managed by Connecticut Innovations, invites promising early-stage companies worldwide in digital health, fintech, insurtech and industry 4.0 to compete in Connecticut’s global venture challenge. The final round of pitches will take place next month (October 17) on the Yale West campus in Orange.
The finalists – selected from earlier “elimination” rounds of competition, will present in front of a panel of expert judges for an opportunity to secure a $1.5 million investment from CI. The first round of the VentureClash competition attracted nearly 300 applications from more than 20 countries around the world, 34 companies advanced to the semifinalist round, and 10 have reached the finals. A year ago, six companies – from Connecticut, Israel, Canada and Ireland - were awarded with investments ranging from $1.5 million to $500,000, accompanied by mentoring and customer introductions to help them grow and succeed. The winning companies are required to establish a presence in Connecticut.