Norris Institute has cash for seed funding Minnesota tech startups

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University of St.Thomas Norris InstituteThe William C. Norris Institute turned over a new fiscal year last month, resulting in $250k of fresh capital available for seed funding local startups at $25k+, according to Director Mike Moore.

“The William C. Norris Institute continues the legacy of the founder of Control Data Corporation by supporting the start up and growth of visionary companies in Minnesota. The Institute’s seed capital fund invests in innovative technology-based companies that are in the early stages of commercializing proprietary products and services.”

The center, located inside University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, has invested a total of $3.5 million into 40 startups to date as part of a $2.3m gift from Norris in 2001.  The majority of  these investments have gone into tech startups, including familiar names like Naiku, CRAM and ReconRobotics.  Moore contends that the investments made, often lead and sometimes bridge, have led to over $28m in follow-on funding — although the evergreen fund has yet to capture a positive financial ROI.

Entrepreneurs do not need to be tied to UST, considering that 19 of the deals have been done off-campus, says Moore.

William NorrisWilliam C. Norris believed that true innovation comes from entrepreneurs and the small companies they start, not from corporations, which make incremental improvements to existing products and services. He also saw that it was very difficult for start-ups to raise seed-capital, which is why he co-founded the Minnesota Seed Capital Fund, one of the very few institutional sources of seed capital for start-up companies in Minnesota.  The Norris Institute is of great benefit to our homegrown entrepreneurs,” says Moore of the late Minnesota tech pioneer.

For further information or to submit a business plan executive summary for potential investment review, contact Mike Moore at mike.moore@stthomas.edu

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