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Wyoming Business Council Announces Wyoming Venture Capital Program

Horizontal Wyoming Venture Capital flow graphic

Two investment strategies to support Wyoming’s high-growth entrepreneurs utilizing federal funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative

Cheyenne, Wyo – The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) has created a new investment program – Wyoming Venture Capital (WYVC) – to support the innovation and growth needs of entrepreneurs across the state. WYVC is an equity financing option for Wyoming high-growth companies with an eye toward future exit. Applications will open in early April 2023.

Utilizing up to $58.4 million in federal funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), the WBC hopes to fill an identified gap in equity funding for Wyoming companies. 
“Access to capital remains one of the biggest challenges for Wyoming entrepreneurs and start-ups,” Governor Mark Gordon said. “The Wyoming Venture Capital program has the potential to transform the state’s venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem by filling a gap in equity funding for companies in the early stages of fundraising.”
WYVC will utilize two investment strategies to accomplish this goal and support the growth of Wyoming entrepreneurs. The program targets contributing 20 percent to selected funds or companies’ fundraising rounds with a maximum of up to a 50 percent contribution, or $5 million. These strategies are strategically designed to address the needs of Wyoming entrepreneurs identified in surveys conducted prior to the state of Wyoming applying for SSBCI funds. 
WYVC Investment Strategies:
  1. Funds Strategy: With a $23.4 million allocation, this strategy allows WYVC to make limited partnership (LP) investments in Wyoming-focused seed or early-stage venture capital (VC) funds. The Funds Strategy is committed to requiring an overwhelming majority of its subsequent investments in Wyoming-based companies.
  2. Direct Strategy: The gap in follow-on funding is directly addressed by the Direct Strategy where WYVC can participate in funding rounds for Wyoming companies. With $35 million allocated, this strategy will make equity co-investments in startup companies headquartered across the state. 
Ultimately, both strategies are designed to support in-state companies and to help bridge the early gaps in startup equity funding.
Coordinating the WYVC is the WBC’s new Equity Portfolio Manager, Gordon Finnegan. Originally from Alta, Wyoming, Gordon has spent the past decade in the Wyoming startup ecosystem, previously as a board member at Silicon Couloir and advisor for the WBC Kickstart Wyoming program. Gordon will oversee the WYVC program to invest in Wyoming startups and collaborate with regional investment partners.
Applications for WYVC equity funding will open in the next few weeks. More details, including a training webinar and frequently asked questions, will be available on the WBC website at prior to the program launch. Reach out to Gordon at [email protected] for more information.
About the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)
The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, which was originally established in 2010 and was successful in increasing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The new SSBCI builds on this model by providing nearly $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic. SSBCI funding is expected to catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding, amplifying the effects of this funding and providing small business owners with the resources they need to sustainably grow and thrive.

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