Rowan Innovation Venture Fund

Rowan Innovation Venture Fund

Rowan Innovation Venture Fund

The Rowan Innovation Venture Fund is a University-based, $5 million private-equity fund. The Rowan University Foundation established the Fund in 2014 to provide early-stage funding primarily to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and South Jersey individuals and companies that have developed and tested projects and products that are ready to compete in the marketplace.

The Fund reflects Rowan University’s commitment to stimulating entrepreneurship, advancing research, and supporting economic development in the South Jersey region.

OVERVIEW AND MISSION

The Rowan University Innovation Fund appointed an Advisory Committee comprising business leaders, financiers, entrepreneurs and other individuals with biotechnology, biomedical, engineering and venture capital expertise. The Advisory Committee provides real-world expertise in evaluating and investing $5 million to support new technology businesses and inventions through a competitive review process. 

Ideal Candidates for Funding

Fund staff members understand that searching for funding can be a daunting process for even the most experienced entrepreneurs. The Fund welcomes applications from individuals and companies in their early-seed stage that have obtained some previous financial support, even from friends and family.

The Fund offers access to robust angel funding, private-equity investors and business acceleration guidance and mentoring to early-stage entities that qualify for funding. In a region heavily populated with early-stage/investment opportunities, the Fund actively works to seek other funding partners who specialize in early-stage deals to ensure that the overall DealFlow investment – the rate at which the Fund receives proposals and investment offers – creates an enticing return.

The Fund is looking for much more than business plans scribbled on napkins; it requires individuals and companies to have invested the time to be able to clearly articulate their concept and value proposition. It seeks individuals and companies that produce business plans that emphasize people, plans and technology and that fit logically into the marketplace.

It is impossible for a business venture to succeed if all of these areas are not addressed. Individuals and companies applying to the Fund need to ask whether:

  • Their concepts are bolstered by strong people, strong plans and strong technology.
  • Their plans are supported by the current marketplace.

If so, they are the types of entrepreneurs the Fund welcomes for consideration.

 

The Fund is interested in investing in high-quality, diverse opportunities in a wealth of industries, including automation and instrumentation, consumer products, energy, financing, food and beverage, health care/life sciences, Internet-related services, social ventures, software, telecommunications and any segment with high-growth potential.

By following a stringent and thorough 10-Step Process, the Fund selects for funding proposals that have the strongest opportunity to succeed. All those considering applying for funding should familiarize themselves with all of these steps. The Fund accepts applications on a rolling basis, and its Advisory Committee meets monthly to make initial decisions.

The 10-Step Process is:

  1. Application: Companies and entrepreneurs fill out an application.
  2. Pre-Screening: Appropriate committees prescreen applications. The committees select seven to 10 companies to present at monthly Deal Screening meetings.
  3. Deal Screening: Applicants give presentations up to 12 minutes long, followed by eight minutes of Q&A and feedback. Based on the screening results, the Advisory Committee chooses a small number of companies  to move into the Pre-Diligence stage, which provides Committee members with a high-level sense of the opportunity before moving on to the Coaching and formal Presentation stages. 
  4. Pre-Diligence: The Fund’s Due Diligence Team evaluates the competitive landscape and determines each proposal’s viability. Once the team determines a business can survive, the business moves to the Coaching stage. 
  5. Coaching: Applicants must process through Coaching before they can enter the formal Presentation stage. During Coaching, applicants work with and obtain the “blessings” of Fund coaches and mentors, who help applicants hone their presentation to allow them to better resonate with the Fund’s Advisory Committee.  Coaching may be held on a one-to-one or group basis on Rowan’s campus.
  6. Presentation: At the formal Advisory Committee meeting, each applicant will make a 10- to12-minute core presentation and then engage Committee members with eight to 10 minutes of questions and answers.  The Committee members rank each of the presentations and prepare to discuss their decisions at the end of the meeting.
  7. Discussion: Once all the presentations are concluded, Committee members will discuss the proposals in private, sharing thoughts and ideas that had not occurred to them during the presentations in order to reach a consensus on the best proposals.
  8. Due Diligence: Upon approval from the Advisory Committee, companies enter into a comprehensive eight- to 10-week Due Diligence phase with the Due Diligence Committee, typically led by an Advisory Committee member who was most vocal on the investment opportunity.  Generally, one or two Committee members take the lead in due diligence and work with trained Due Diligence Fellows and Rowan University alumni, faculty and staff to reach an investment decision.
  9. Funding: The Fund offers those companies that successfully emerge from Due Diligence a “Term Sheet” and funding.  The Fund invests between $25,000 and $100,000 in any one individual/company and may offer active syndication with angel groups and outside investors for those successful applicants whose needs exceed the Fund’s parameters. 
  10. Syndication: After a company generates a funding offer from the Advisory Committee, the Fund has the ability to introduce the company to other potential investors who will join the Fund in reaching the investment needed by the company to move forward. This syndication effort broadens exposure to both expert advice and equity capital from other active investors. Some of these investors will want to perform their own due diligence; others will accept the Due Diligence Report created by the Fund. One such syndication partner, Keiretsu Forum, offers the reach of 1,100+ active accredited angel investors in 34 chapters on three continents who have invested more than $490 million in early-stage DealFlow in the last 15 years.

 

Overview and Mission

The Rowan University Innovation Fund appointed an Advisory Committee comprising business leaders, financiers, entrepreneurs and other individuals.

10-Step Process

The Fund is interested in investing in high-quality, diverse opportunities in a wealth of industries.

Apply for Funding

Individuals and companies ready to apply to the Rowan Innovation Venture Fund may do so here.