in MaRS, Ontario, Resources

NYC Seed versus IAF

Wow, NYC Seed is an interesting fund focused on seed-stage technology companies in NYC. It sounds familiar to the IAF program by the Ontario Centres for Excellence.

The NYC Seed fund is a joint venture between ITAC, New York City Investment Fund, The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation, New York City Economic Development Corporation, and PolyTechnic University. In addition to investing up to $200,000 per startup, the fund aims to give entrepreneurs support via a network of "notable entrepreneurs, technologists and venture capitalists," and plans to help the companies it funds seek series A round funding when they reach that stage?

The fund currently has $2 million under management.

The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) is similiar, it allows up to $500,000 in the form of convertible debt for early-stage companies.

Fund Requires
NYC Seed
  • A team (2+ people) with a compelling idea that makes sense today.
  • Your team should be technically savvy, with members possessing a proven record of completing complex technology projects.
  • We will ask to review a prototype of your product.
  • Company must be based in NYC.
  • Technologies or intellectual property (IP) the company intends to commercialize must have
    unique and protectable aspects that establish a sustainable competitive advantage
  • Full and unencumbered legal right to the commercial use of the company?s technology or IP
  • The products and services the company intends to bring to market must meet a defined
    market need and have a significant and sustainable advantage over competitors
  • The addressable market should be at least $20 million and clearly defined
  • The management team must have the skills and domain expertise to be successful,
    or be willing to replace or augment the team as necessary
  • A clear path to commercialization and a plausible plan to support it
  • The company must be incorporated, or be incorporated by the time of IAF investment
  • Total revenues should be less than $500k from the time of incorporation
  • Intend for at least 50% of salaried employees to be based in Ontario

There?s not a huge difference in the funding, or the requirements. But the NYC Seed option just feels cleaner. The IAF eligibility requirements are verbose and at times a little obvious. The big difference might be in the size of the fund, NYC Seed is just $2M where IAF is a $29M fund. And the differences in focus, NYC Seed is focused strongly on ?software and web-oriented technologies?, the IAF fund is part of the Centre of Excellence for Communications and Information Technology covering diverse areas as wireless and wireline communications, the Internet, human-computer interaction, health and medicine, software design, network planning, education, security, among others.

NYC Seed aims to provide ?entrepreneurs support via a network of "notable entrepreneurs, technologists and venture capitalists?. Very similar to the Business Mentorship and Entrepreneurship Program provided by MaRS.

There?s a different feel in the web copy used to describe each program. The IAF program just feels more cumbersome. However, it offers many of the same advantages for Ontario companies.We need to do some work to help local entrepreneurs understand the availability, benefits and people at OCE to connect with John MacRitchie, Bryan Kanarens and Charles Plant.

I think all entrepreneurs looking to raise funding should be able to answer the questions on the NYC Seed application form. My offer, any Ontario-based entrepreneur that wants a connection to OCE, just send me an email with the information from the NYC Seed application (see below) and I will forward it to John MacRitchie.

  1. What?s the idea?
  2. Why now?
  3. Who are your competitors?
  4. How will you make money?
  5. How will you use the funding?
  6. Please describe your product development roadmap. How long will it take to complete your first version?
  7. Please provide bios for each founder.
  8. Please provide 3 references for each founder.
  1. Thanks for this Dave. I really haven’t looked in to the IAF fund enough, and this reminded me to dig in a little.

  2. Thanks for this Dave. I really haven’t looked in to the IAF fund enough, and this reminded me to dig in a little.

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