Invest Nebraska welcomes new chief executive, looks to invest in high-growth companies
Invest Nebraska, a venture development organization founded in 2002 that advises and invests in innovative, growing and early-stage business ideas in Nebraska, welcomed its new chief executive and investment officer, Mark Crawford, to its operations in June. Crawford previously worked for SFI Financial, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm. Crawford’s experience includes investing capital in all stages of the corporate life cycle from seed to maturity. In addition, Crawford has completed more than $100 million in deals throughout his career.
According to Dan Hoffman, Invest Nebraska’s chief operating officer, the corporation will be slowly moving away from its business plan competitions and using Crawford’s experiences to deploy a significant amount of capital across the state. Invest Nebraska’s primary focus will be directed toward start-ups and small businesses.
Companies that may qualify for investment capital from Invest Nebraska must have high growth potential and be oriented toward innovation. Specific company characteristics that the corporation looks for includes those that have unique ideas, flexible entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and those who have high growth ambitions. Invest Nebraska also looks for companies that have exit potential and can demonstrate how they plan to position their company to be acquired and possibly even achieve an initial public offering.
These potential companies have the opportunity to obtain capital through one of Invest Nebraska’s various funds. These funds include the Nebraska Innovation Fund, the Invest Nebraska Angel Sidecar Fund and the Loan Fund, which is primarily dedicated to serving rural Nebraska.
The Nebraska Innovation Fund allows the corporation to invest seed capital in potential high-growth companies across Nebraska. Investments can range from $50,000 to $500,000. These investments must be matched one-to-one by outside capital sources and the capital is invested as equity or convertible notes.
The Invest Nebraska Angel Sidecar Fund invests alongside individual Nebraska angels or Nebraska-based angel funds. These equity investments can range from $50,000 to $500,000 and must be matched one-to-one by the angel funds or individual angels.
Recently, Invest Nebraska funds were used to invest in ScanMed. ScanMed is a lean, fast-to-market, medical device design, manufacturing and repair company from Omaha. With a specialty in MRI antennae, ScanMed services hospitals, imaging centers, independent imaging services companies and original equipment manufacturers such as GE, Siemens and Philips Medical.
According to ScanMed’s president and CEO, Randall Jones, before Invest Nebraska’s involvement the company had to locate private investor(s) that were interested in an equity position that met ScanMed’s forecasted needs. Jones said that “this involved significant time and energy in networking and business financial planning in order to create the investment opportunity and Private Placement Memorandum (PPM).” Jones said the process to secure funding with Invest Nebraska “was very much in line with any private stock offering or PPM.”
Once ScanMed’s private investment potential was identified, Invest Nebraska entered the picture with its funds matching program, which was concluded with due diligence and agreement negotiations. “The entire process of Invest Nebraska took around 120 days from initial application to funding,” Jones said. In addition, Jones said Invest Nebraska was granted seats on ScanMed’s Board of Directors “in order to bring additional resources, management review, and advise and counsel to the business – all welcome additions to any enterprise.”
With a goal to become a self-sustainable organization over the next five years, Invest Nebraska will utilize its various connections to venture capitalists as well as industry and government leaders across the state and country to encourage entrepreneurs in Nebraska to contact them.
Invest Nebraska is looking to talk to all entrepreneurs across the state with the purpose of teaching them how to grow and better understand the development of their new Nebraska business. For more information about Invest Nebraska, visit www.investnebraska.com