Partnership expected to expand access to capital

Thea Chase

A state effort will extend a partnership to expand access to venture capital for Colorado entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The Colorado Venture Capital Authority renewed a partnership with the Greater Colorado Venture Fund and committed nearly $11.2 million to fund Colorado companies.

“Thanks to our successful partnership with Greater Colorado Venture Fund I, we can confidently say that Venture Capital Authority funding has helped rural Colorado startups grow and create jobs. We are thrilled to be a partner in this second fund, which will help the VCA continue its commitment to invest in rural and coal-transition communities,” said Thea Chase, a former director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction who now serves as chairwoman of the VCA board of directors.

A political subdivision of the state, the Venture Capital Authority supports access to venture capital. The VCA first partnered with GCVF in 2018, when it contributed $13.3 million to a fund totaling $17.5 million. Over the subsequent four years, GCVF made 29 investments that collectively raised more than $40 million and created more than 150 jobs in rural Colorado.

GCVF has raised nearly $25 million for its second fund. The VCA investment is funded through the State Small Business Credit Initiative awarded by the U.S. Treasury Department in August.

SSBCI is focused on expanding access to capital for businesses with less than 10 employees and to businesses led by individuals who identify as coming from under-resourced communities and geographies.

Over the next five years, Colorado could receive about $104 million in SSBCI funding, with more than $59 million of it invested through the VCA.

“As a state, we are committed to catalyzing private investment across all of Colorado, including our rural communities. When Colorado companies have the resources to grow, they contribute to a strong economy that works for everyone and create quality jobs,” said Eve Lieberman, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.  “Partnering with the Greater Colorado Venture Fund is one important step to continue the Venture Capital Authority’s work to create more equitable access to venture capital.”