Creating a National Innovation Seed Fund of Funds: A Primer (Click here for the PDF of the presentation)
Mr. Richard Bendis, Founder, Innovation America
Science, technology, and innovation experts in the United States today almost unanimously agree that our country needs to launch a collective national effort to accelerate U.S. technological- and innovation-based growth. Amid a global economic downturn during which other nations are boosting their already significant public- and private-sector efforts to build more competitive, innovation-led economies, the United States stands almost alone in the world without a national innovation framework.
We believe the federal government can play a role in funding entrepreneurial companies, stimulating innovative job and small business growth. Neither traditional financial institutions nor venture capitalists are providing the gap funding of $500,000 to $2 million that seed-stage and early-stage companies need to grow. Our solution is to create a National Innovation Seed Fund sparked by a U.S. federal government investment. This fund would make venture investments in that key financing range to structurally address the "Valley of Death" funding needs of small companies, and would be invested equitably and equally throughout the innovative regions of the United States.
This new fund would be structured as a public-private partnership and would enlist experienced early-stage investors to manage the fund. The National Seed Stage Fund managers would work with a National Private-Public Partnership Innovation Program (NPPPIP) to engage the rest of the innovation ecosystem in the United States to ensure strategic oversight and success. The NPPPIP would determine the most experienced early-stage funds that would then invest in innovative companies in their regions. It would collaborate with state technology-based economic development organizations, national seed, angel, and other innovation-based associations and networks to leverage resources and create a connected national community of innovation.
Mr. Bendis has distinguished himself as a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, venture capitalist, investment banker, innovation and technology based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He currently serves as the founding President and CEO of Innovation America (IA), a national 501c3 not for profit, private/public partnership focused on accelerating the growth of the entrepreneurial innovation economy in America (www.innovationamerica.us) . Mr. Bendis has been engaged and appointed to selected national innovation related organizations and committees that include the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership (USIP) Advisory Task Force, Small Business Innovation Research Committee, National Governors Association (NGA), State-Federal Technology Task Force, National Academies of Science (NAS), National Academies National Research Review, National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), U.S. Small Business Administration's Angel Capital Electronic Network (ACENET), American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Association Research Competitiveness Program, and Council on Competitiveness.
Previously, Mr. Bendis served as President and CEO of True Product ID, Inc., a global publicly traded anti-counterfeiting technology company. Mr. Bendis also founded and served as the founding President and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia (IP), a three state regional public/private partnership dedicated to growing the wealth and workforce of the Greater Philadelphia Region. IP managed a portfolio of programs in four distinct areas: Direct Equity Investment/Financing Assistance; Technology Commercialization; Global/Regional Economic and Workforce Development; and Market Research and Branding. Mr. Bendis is on the IP Board of Directors. Mr. Bendis has extensive experience in the private sector (with Quaker Oats, Polaroid, Texas Instruments, Marion Laboratories and Kimberly Services) and the venture capital industry (RAB Ventures). Mr. Bendis also led the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC). Mr. Bendis also successfully built an Inc. 500 healthcare software company, Continental Healthcare Systems, Inc., which he took public on NASDAQ and later sold to an international conglomerate. In addition, Mr. Bendis manages his own angel investment fund.