Register for the next event:- https://www.starlightcapital.co/event-info/private-equity-forums-technology-april-6-2023 Recently, Bryan Emerson published an excellent article, “Why Is Early-Stage Equity Funding So Difficult?” In it, he accurately outlines the funding challenges faced by investors and early-stage companies: High Risk; Competition for Funding; Lack of Market Credibility; Difficulty in Establishing Valuation; and Lack of Liquidity.
As an independent consultant, I have worked with many of these small companies. I have seen how difficult it is for them to attract private funding. I have also spoken with many investment firms about supporting these pioneering technology companies. Although appreciating and recognizing their potential, investors often, and understandably, conclude it is too early and too risky at this point.
The result is that too many innovative technologies never get developed or launched. Too often, the companies enter the dangerous “Valley of Death” – running out of R&D funds and finding themselves too early for private equity investors – often going out of business.
This is why I believe U.S. Government programs like the “Small Business Innovation & Research” (SBIR/STTR Program: SBIR.gov) can be so important to BOTH the investment community AND small technology startups. This Program was established by a Law of Congress 40 years ago. Its stated purpose is to increase the private sector’s commercialization of new technologies; stimulate technological innovation; encourage participation in entrepreneurship – especially by women and disadvantaged entrepreneurs; and foster technology transfer between small businesses and research institutions (STTR). By supporting these small businesses, high-tech innovation will be stimulated, and the United States will gain new entrepreneurs and successful businesses.
Over 20 U.S. Agencies support this Program. Although the grant/contract sizes vary somewhat by Agency, in general, this multi-phase Program can offer up to $2 million in non-diluting government funding. And the small business retains 100% of its IT. I have been associated with The National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR Program for over 12 years (America’s Seed Fund – NSF SBIR/STTR | NSF SBIR), and it is my belief that the SBIR/STTR Program complements the important efforts of investment firms like Starlight Capital by de-risking young companies. Obtaining public funds like SBIR/STTR prior to asking private investors to participate can offer an important “safety net” for investor organizations. In addition, getting an Award from a prestigious U.S. Agency like the NSF, NIH, NASA, DHS, and others, provides strong market validation for the small company and its technology, and offers a level of ‘esteem” that few startups ever can demonstrate.
This article represents Mr. Gladis’ personal thoughts and observations as a private businessman. He does not officially represent the SBIR/STTR Program, nor the National Science Foundation, where he has been an SBIR/STTR Grant Proposal Reviewer for over 12 years. Peter is the President of Peter Gladis Consulting, LLC (PeterGladisConsulting.com). He is also the Director of Market strategies for STAR Associates, Inc. (STAR Associates, Inc) providing corporate, technology, and product development, IP analysis, market landscape assessment, competitive strategies, and financial transaction advisory services to public and private companies in emerging technologies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 860-518-5515. Written By:- Peter Gladis – President, Peter Gladis Consulting, LLC