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Meet 8 new VCs on top 2013 seed investors list

It comes as no surprise that 500 Startupsleads last year’s list of top seed investors, or that Andreesen HorowitzSV Angel, andLerer Ventures aren’t far behind.But what is surprising about the annual CB Insights list is that eight of the top 20 firms are new to it in 2013, and many have even bigger plans for future growth. That makes it easy to see how 2013 hit a four-year high for seed investing, and even despite so many warnings of a looming series A crunch. Read more…
 
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Drexel University announces $400K in POC awards in inaugural round

In its first round of proof-of-concept funding, Drexel Ventures -the University’s new technology accelerator and transfer enterprise- is supporting research that could lead to improved solar cells, new drug therapy for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, safer chemicals for oil extraction and smarter software system monitoring. Investigators for each project will receive $100,000, from Drexel’s Innovation Fund to show that their research could lead to the creation of a commercially viable product. Read more…

 
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Virginia Innovation Partnership Awards $800,000 to University Research Projects

A statewide network designed to accelerate innovation and economic growth has awarded $800,000 to 18 university research projects in Virginia.

The Virginia Innovation Partnership, created in 2012 as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s i6 Challenge, provides funding that allows university  researchers to advance early-stage work through  the “proof of concept” stage, in which they establish  its commercial potential. The program also connects researchers with mentors, corporations and investors to accelerate commercialization of the new discoveries and inventions. It is the only statewide innovation network in the U.S. and serves as a model for other states. Read more…

 
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Hawaii college student using Kickstarter to fund ‘Airfoil’ company

A University of Hawaii Manoa mechanical engineering student is hoping to launch a new business to market his product called Airfoil, a unique ballpoint pen inspired by engineering design in aviation, through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Read more…

 
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Life Sciences Discovery Fund Announces $1.1M to Five Projects

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today
announced $1.1 million in five Proof of Concept grants to Washington for-profit and non-profit
organizations to foster the translation of health-related products from the laboratory into the
commercial marketplace.

Read more…

 
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$6.7 million Angel Loan Fund will help Minnesota startups

On Dec. 12, Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced that a new fund will allow Minnesota startups to apply for interest-free loans. Read more…

 
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University of Alabama start-up ThruPore earns $150,000 NSF grant

ThruPore Technologies, a University of Alabama start-up company, has earned a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a new catalyst for the petrochemical industry. Read more…

 
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TechColumbus and The Ohio State University Announce Technology Concept Fund

Innovations with ties to The Ohio State University will get a financial boost from the new Technology Concept Fund, LLC. The million-dollar fund includes investments from Ohio State and Ohio Third Frontier. The Technology Concept Fund will be managed by TechColumbus. Read more…

 
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Venture Capital Fund Launches in Dubai Aimed at Middle East Start-Ups

A new early-stage venture capital fund has set up in Dubai, looking to invest up to $1 million in technology start-ups across the Middle East and North Africa.

It joins a bevy of start-up accelerators launching in the technology space as both local and institutional investors eye a market of tech-savvy consumers where smartphone and social media penetration is high.

In its first round, Emerge Ventures, founded by Dubai-based investors Arya Bolurfrushan and Paul Kenny, plans to invest in 13 companies that are working in the advertising, mobile, payments and logistics spaces, and serving predominantly other businesses.

The firm’s first funding round, which is now closed, will aim to have invested all its cash by the end of next year, and has already bought stakes in three companies. These are: The Impact Hub, a coworking space being set up in Dubai; Lumba, an Arabic mobile gaming company; and Elevision, a digital advertising company in elevators.

Mr. Kenny wouldn’t disclose the total size of the fund, but said the firm would invest between $25,000 and $1 million in each company for up to 49% of the business, and hold the investment for a minimum of five years.

“There’s going to be huge development among SMEs, requiring capital, requiring knowledge,” says Mr. Kenny. “And there’s no one servicing it from a financing perspective.”

Mr. Kenny is the founder and chief executive of Middle East daily deals website Cobone.com and discount travel website Triperna, while Mr. Bolurfrushan is the finance chief at RAK Petroleum, an oil and gas holding company.

Both investors are under the age of 30, and plan to link global investors with companies in the Middle East. In the first funding round, called MENA Fund I, Mr. Kenny says Emerge has 6 investors from outside of the region that include private individuals and institutions wanting exposure to the emerging Middle East.

Emerge joins a wave of start-up accelerators, such as i360 Accelerator, Flat6Labs and SeedStartup, which have launched in the past few years in the Middle East across cities such as Dubai, Beirut, Amman and Cairo.

All of these accelerators have been looking to invest small amounts in entrepreneurs with astute ideas, and guide them and take their product to market.

Emerge plans to have a director on the board of each of the companies in which it invests, but will not be quite as hands on as the accelerator programmes. It will invest in a company, before it has any revenues, but wants to buy in to start-ups with a market edge or proven, albeit short track record, Mr. Kenny added.

 
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Ryerson University Healthcare Photo Sharing Spinout, Figure1, Raises $2M

Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) alumnus company Figure1 announced today that it has raised $2 million in seed funding. Figure 1, the startup behind the popular healthcare photo sharing app of the same name, incubated at the DMZ from December 2012 to August 2013 and also completed the Ryerson Futures accelerator program. Read more…

 
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