The INNOVA Commercialization Group (INNOVA), an initiative of the High Technology Foundation, is a business support services and seed and early-stage investment capital program dedicated to creating successful entrepreneurs and new ventures. INNOVA specializes in bringing vital knowledge and resources to seed and early-stage companies in support of product commercialization efforts. Although INNOVA’s primary focus is on the geographic region of West Virginia, INNOVA can bring expertise to almost any project. INNOVA offers its clients a unique understanding of the challenges facing seed and early-stage companies. In order to overcome these challenges, INNOVA has developed a portfolio of offerings designed specifically for commercialization and start-up companies. This assistance includes business support and technical services, seed and early-stage funding and entrepreneurial education and training. The INNOVA team members, with their diverse business backgrounds, bring a toolkit of resources and contacts to each new client. Many of these services are delivered directly by the INNOVA team and are tailored to meet the needs of each client. In addition, INNOVA can utilize a pool of financial resources to assist qualifying clients with business support services performed by regional accounting and legal firms, as well as other consultative services, as needed. INNOVA will also work with qualifying companies to provide assistance in applying for federally sponsored Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants.
In addition, INNOVA manages a growing seed stage capital investment fund. The INNOVA commercialization team seeks out early-stage West Virginia based product-oriented companies in which it can place equity or near-equity investments. Such investments are used to prepare growing companies for future venture capital investments.
Finally, INNOVA sponsors and delivers entrepreneurial education, training and networking events. These events are designed to provide entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to start and grow their businesses.
With its complete set of resources, knowledge, experience and contacts, the INNOVA team offers a unique toolkit of resources to meet the needs and challenges faced by seed and early-stage companies.
INNOVA’s highlights to-date include:
- INNOVA has worked with more than 500 companies and entrepreneurs seeking commercialization assistance to include strategic planning, technical or professional assistance and/or financial provision;
- INNOVA has placed over $3.9 million dollars of direct investments into 28 West Virginia companies, some of which have already exited the investments and others who have raised significant additional capital since INNOVA’s “seed” funding;
- Of the most recent 18 companies receiving funding from INNOVA, 15 companies attracted an additional $6,658,000 in follow-on investment. On average, for every $1 dollar invested by INNOVA these companies were able to attract an additional $2.23 in follow-on funding, including venture capital attracted from out of state.
INNOVA has become recognized as a primary source of seed capital in the state of West Virginia by business and community leaders.