Southern California stretching from Los Angeles through Irvine and Riverside to San Diego is comprised of a myriad of high-caliber research universities and new small business venture startups. Most of these new ventures are seeking funding to prove concept and accelerate business development. Competition for available funds is rigorous. The federal SBIR/STTR program is viewed as the leading resource for many small businesses looking for that seed capital and commercialization support. Early-stage investors, including angels, are less inclined to “jump in” without proofs of concept or evidence-based market validation. SBIR and STTR grants are the new seed capital often preceding private equity capital. What lessons can we learn about what it takes to win these vital grants?
Venture startup founders, researchers, principal investigators, CEO’s, CSO/CTO’s, and other senior scientific/technical staff who intend to apply for federal, Phase I and II SBIR or STTR funds, foundation grants, recruit investment seed capital, and develop productive business alliances.
Martin Kleckner III, PhD MBA, Senior Advisor, TriTech SBDC (UC Irvine) and IN-SD (San Diego SBDC) is a serial entrepreneur who has raised capital for five start-ups and survived two exits, whose ventures and clients have been awarded over $32 Million in federal agency and private funds during the past eighteen months, and teaches the highly-regarded Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program at universities nationwide. Mr. Kleckner has more than 25 years in senior level operations, general management, marketing and business development experience. He works with companies on corporate planning, strategy, commercialization, and public policy throughout Europe, Asia & the Americas. He is currently serving as Adjunct Faculty member for the National Science Foundation I-Corps™ and has been a reviewer for the NIH. In the last 18 months, his portfolio of start-ups has won 11 SBIR grants.
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