VentureCapital.org® sees technology as the best way to improve the human condition and does so by helping entrepreneurs create new wealth, jobs, and expand the tax base. Formed in 1983 as an educational 501(c)3 non-profit, VentureCapital.org (or VCO®) was the first venture accelerator and has become the most efficient, cost-effective economic development organization in the United States. With a primary goal of assisting entrepreneurs learn how to — START. FIND MONEY. and CHANGE THE WORLD.© — VCO utilizes the knowledge, experience, contacts and capital of the world’s leading business and financial organizations to help promising entrepreneurs and their companies grow and succeed.
VentureCapital.org was originally known as the Wayne Brown Institute®, being named for Dr. Wayne Brown, the former Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah and founder/co-founder of multiple investor-backed companies, including Kenway Engineering (HK Systems), TerraTek (Schlumberger), Native Plants (Agridyne Technologies). As a leading authority in technological innovation and entrepreneurship/commercialization, Dr. Brown led the launch of the Utah Innovation Center (the world’s first venture accelerator/incubator) and served as co-architect with Roland Tibbitts of the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
In addition, Dr. Brown led Utah’s State Science Council where he spearheaded legislation to create the Utah Technology Finance Corporation (now Innoventures) and Utah’s Centers of Excellence program (now TCIP), while also successfully negotiating with the U.S. government to obtain military land for the establishment of the University of Utah’s Research Park. VCO Board members created Utah Ventures (now Pelion Partners, Utah’s first venture fund), SLC Angels, Salt Lake Life Science Angels, and the Park City Angels which is one of three most active angel groups in the country. VCO’s expertise was integral in the creation of Zions Bank’s venture debt program, the Salt Lake County venture debt fund revolving loan fund, and the MountainLands Revolving Loan Fund.
VCO continues the legacy begun by Dr. Brown by educating entrepreneurs and company executives through its Cooperative Venturing® program, mentor-based training in the art and science of becoming attractive, viable investment-worthy companies, the essence of commercialization. To date, VentureCapital.org has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, with over 850 companies participating in the organization’s annual Investors Choice® Capital Conference, the oldest venture capital conference in the U.S.. Held each February, Investors Choice attracts hundreds of Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, and Strategic Investors to Utah for the opportunity to hear the investment pitches of dozens of vetted and mentored firms seeking outside capital. On average over the last 5 years 60%+ of companies at this event have raise capital by year’s end, and the total has been $40+ million. Since 2009, VCO alumni companies have realized over $10 billion in investor payouts via M&A Public Offering transactions, including such firms such as Omniture, Sonic Innovations, Myriad Genetics, and Ancestry, High West Distillery among others.
Over 500 volunteer VentureCapital.org mentors donate between 3,000—4,000 hours each year to serve entrepreneurs, which allows VCO to provide nearly 1% of the venture-quality deal flow in the U.S., an undertaking accomplished by establishing value-added relationships between entrepreneurs, capital providers, and key professionals who specialize in equity capital-backed businesses. These education-based offerings allow entrepreneurs and company founders learn to fund and commercialize their businesses.
We do two things really well: 1) we pick potential winners. 2) we turn those potential winners into winners through our powerful mentoring program. According to a third-party study, 70% of VCO alumni companies raise capital and 80% are still in business after 10 years. And on a national basis, VentureCapital.org has launched tech commercialization programs in Alabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
Programs & Services:
All VC.org programs are designed to assist companies in 1) Shaping themselves into fundable entities, 2) Helping them develop a strategy to obtain the funding they need; and when appropriate, 3) Providing introductions to the investment and/or banking communities. Listed below are VentureCapital.org’s ongoing programs:
- Cooperative Venturing Program — Channels thousands of mentoring hours each year from the venture community to temper and harden companies into investable ventures, providing introductions to capital sources, and arming entrepreneurs with key resources, milestones, benchmarks, and metrics necessary to accelerate commercialization. Investors Choice®, and The Deal Forum® are “pitch” programs that focus this expertise to help get companies across the financial “Valley of Death.”
- Seminars — How to Raise Money®, The 21st Century Entrepreneur®, and Secrets to Financing® seminars focus, respectively, on fundraising strategies, sources of funding, effective business plan development, and entrepreneurial skillsets.
- Entrepreneur in Residence — VCO provides serial entrepreneurs with access to its extensive network of resources and contacts, thus helping them create and start their next venture and giving back to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Venture Ready® Report & New Venture Profile — Proprietary world-class research on business formation and entrepreneurship is combined to produce the most predictive analytics of venture and entrepreneurial success.
- Investor Liaison Program: Low- to moderate-income student interns work with early-stage, high-tech companies and learn the fundraising process from the venture community. Networking and employment skills are emphasized.
- AngelWorx® — Angel investors from around the region discuss best practices, report on deal flow activity, and recruit new members.
- WeROC® – Women Entrepreneurs Realizing Opportunities for Capital. In 2017 women got less than 2% of the venture capital deployed. Why? That’s driver for the creation of WeROC.
- Salt Lake County Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund (EDLF) — A $7 million venture debt fund that is managed by VCO on behalf of Salt Lake County (Utah) and focuses on emerging high-tech and manufacturing companies.