Northern Colorado Incubator at Work Setting Up New $20M Seed Fund

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, who are most likely to be local high net worth individuals, banks, and foundations, Freeman said. But enough have promised money to make Freeman confident enough to publicly announce the fund.

The Innosphere is an incubator in Fort Collins that specializes in providing space and services to cleantech, enterprise IT, and medical device companies, Freeman said. Unlike most incubators, the Innosphere’s facility in Fort Collins has lab space. It also has a facility in Golden, where it works in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The incubator is a 14-year old nonprofit, but it recently has branched out in a new direction, according to Freeman. Since the 2008-09 recession, the amount of money available for startups in their infancy has dropped, and that’s had a lasting negative impact on northern Colorado, he believes.

“Our feeling is that on an annual basis, our client companies are underfunded by about $10 million,” Freeman said.

To rectify that, the Innosphere has been working on a capital access program, which includes working with banks to expand loan programs. The nonprofit also wanted to develop the network of angel investors in northern Colorado to increase the chances entrepreneurs have of finding equity investors.

“This component is the last piece of the puzzle,” Freeman said.

The Colorado Catalyst Fund is the latest effort to spur entrepreneurship in Fort Collins. In October, an investment firm started by the founder of Otterbox announced it was starting a $250,000 business plan competition. The finals will be in May, and competitors need to register by Dec. 15.

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