Nsight Barbara Nelsen on the business of science.

Filed under Startup financing, Venture capital, Life science

Capital and Companies of Note in Minnesota

Dividing my time between Minnesota, Boston, and Chicago means I get to meet new people and organizations every week.  Here are some great connections for those in Minnesota looking for funding and business expertise, and those on the East and West Coast looking for investors to syndicate with, and companies to add to their portfolio.


Organizations that Fund, Found, and Foster

For scientific entrepreneurs and others with a great idea who need infrastructure and business experience to get off the ground, look to Invenshure and The Seed Partners. Both are investing and developing a portfolio of companies, with all the infrastructure including wet-lab space, required for life science companies to get a start here in the Midwest.

For those who have already launched their company and are looking for their initial capital, Gopher Angels has created an effective group of high-net-worth individuals wScreen Shot 2015-11-11 at 11.28.23 PMho have invested in more than eight companies in just a few years, providing anywhere from $50,000-$1 million.

Another source of capital is Sofia Fund II. Distinct from Fund I which included 30+ individual investors, Fund II is managed by a small team from Sofia I with capital derived from LPs. Sofia invests in early-stage deals, with an emphasis on women-led businesses.


Minnesota Companies to Watch

For those looking for potential investments now or in the future, here is our latest list of companies to watch.  All are founded by local talent, with a track record of success.

  1. AriaCV recently closed on a $7.8M Series A led by Catalyst Health Ventures and including Broadview Ventures, BioStar Ventures, and Cedar Point Capital. Aria is developing a medical device to treat patients with heart failure related to pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.
  2. AdCyte is developing compelling T-cell therapies. Spun out of Malcolm Brenner’s team, Adcyte is led by seasoned entrepreneur John Wilson with clear manufacturing advantages from WilsonWolf. 
  3. BMoGen is a fresh off the press start-up from our own serial entrepreneur David Largaespada with leadership from industry leader Jeff Liter. BMoGen is entering the hot stem cell market, beginning with early revenue generation through tools applications, and building into therapeutics.Sun Biopharma Started by an experienced team formerly at MGI Pharma (acquired by Easai in 2008 for $3.9B)
  4. Sun Biopharma was started by an experienced team formerly at MGI Pharma (acquired by Easai in 2008 for $3.9B). Sun Biopharma is developing novel and compelling treatments for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. They have hit the trifecta with their recent News appointing CEO David Kaysen, becoming a Public Company, and gaining an FDA IND approval.

‘Slightly Above Average’ Is Minnesota Modest

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 11.24.46 PMSo while it’s true we do not yet have the deal flow in the Midwest that you will find in Boston, our strength in Fortune 500 companies per capita, new sources of capital and companies, and local strengths  in a challenging entrepreneurial ecosystem puts Minnesota on the map of places to watch.  Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 11.34.03 PM