Telluride Foundation: Federal Grant for Regional Start-ups

Telluride Foundation: Federal Grant for Regional Start-ups

Telluride Foundation awarded a major federal grant to develop investment funding for regional start-up businesses.


The Telluride Foundation was recently awarded a $150,000 “Seed Fund Support” grant from the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Selected as one of eight out of a pool of more than 215 applicants and the only grant funded in Colorado, the Foundation received funding to build additional capacity and capabilities of the start-up investment fund Telluride Venture Fund (TVF) and the Telluride Angels investor network, which both currently invest in regional early stage companies. 

“This program advances innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country by addressing two essential core components that entrepreneurs need to take their ideas to market: programmatic support and access to capital,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in her grant awards announcement.

The Telluride Foundation’s grant funding will be used to develop two existing funds and explore creating an additional fund or leveraging existing funds to specifically support investment in companies located in southwest Colorado. To date, TVF and Telluride Angels have been an integral component of the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) and the Telluride investor community.

The Telluride Foundation will work with TVF and Telluride Angels to provide resources and technical assistance, including marketing, analyst, fundraising, legal staff, and contractual support, strengthening and growing them to benefit the southwest Colorado early-stage and entrepreneur community.

This grant closely aligns with another EDA three-year grant received by the Foundation in early 2016 to support entrepreneurship in the region. The purpose of this earlier grant is to leverage entrepreneurship assets to create a “Southwest Innovation Corridor” (SWIC) for moving ideas from consideration and development to fundable companies, creating jobs and sustained economic activity. As SWIC is developed over the next three years, there will be a greater need for investment dollars in the region.

Telluride Venture Fund (TVF) is an early- and mid-stage limited partnership equity investment fund focused on Telluride and the Colorado Plateau. Both TVF and Telluride Angels have only been in existence for four years and operated entirely with volunteer general partners and advisors. TVF is a venture fund focusing more on late- seed and early-stage companies, while Telluride Angels is an investment network, focusing on very early-stage companies. Both TVF and Telluride Angels are complimentary, collectively providing initial capital for entrepreneurs. The Telluride Foundation does not have a financial investment in either effort, but, through this grant, hopes to help build the life line of any start-up company through access to more capital.

Grant funding will enable the Telluride Foundation to hire John H. “Jack” Gilbride as the Executive Advisor to TVF. He will provide consulting and advice regarding investment due diligence, decisions, and portfolio support. According to Gilbride, “TVF is a key component, along with the Telluride Venture Accelerator, Telluride Angels and the Southwest Innovation Corridor Initiative, in building a vibrant and attractive entrepreneurial community for southwest Colorado.”

Gilbride and his wife, Judy, moved to Mountain Village in 2010 with the two youngest of their four children. Previously, Gilbride was Chairman and CEO of CBR Information Group, a provider of credit information services to government and corporate clients; Co-Founder and CEO of Integratec Corporation, a credit card back-office service company; EVP and COO of a bank; and prior to that held several senior corporate finance and banking positions.

Gilbride is currently an investor in several startup businesses, and a partner in four venture funds based in Silicon Valley and one based in China. He has been an active mentor in the Telluride Venture Accelerator for the last three years. Gilbride is a graduate of CCNY and has an MBA from the Marshall School of the University of Southern California.

More about the Telluride Foundation:

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation, and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant-maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region.

For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit here.

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