Tech Alliance lands $674,000 grant to boost corporate venture capital activity in Washington state – GeekWire

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Laura Ruderman, CEO of Technology Alliance, at the organization’s State of Technology luncheon in downtown Seattle earlier this year. (Photo GeekWire/Todd Bishop)

Technology Alliance, a nonprofit group that champions Washington state technology companies and research institutes, has landed a $674,874 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to help startups raise funds from venture capital funds.

The money will go to the group’s Enterprise Capital Alliance program that connects corporate venture capital with Washington state startups.

Companies such as Seattle-area giants Microsoft and Amazon run their own funds that invest in small businesses.

Data from PitchBook shows 58 corporate venture capital deals for Washington-based startups in 2021, which was up 70% year-over-year, but lower than other states, including the California (934), New York (285), Massachusetts (194), and Texas (81).

In the five-year period between 2016 and 2021, Washington state startups landed 237 corporate venture capital deals, compared to 4,321 in California and 1,224 in New York.

Washington generally follows these states in overall venture capital funding. During the second quarter of this year, Californian startups closed 1,080 deals in total; New York reported 467 transactions; and Washington state had 120 deals, according to PitchBook.

But the Technology Alliance, which was launched in 1997, believes its home state should attract more venture capital dollars given the region’s leadership in sectors such as aerospace and life sciences.

Laura Ruderman, CEO of Technology Alliance, noted the growing number of investments in corporate venture capital funds in recent years.

“We want to make sure Washington State doesn’t fall further behind as this industry continues to grow,” she told GeekWire.

Ruderman, a former Washington state representative who took over as CEO in 2019, added that corporate venture capital funds often make decisions differently than private investors and that decision makers are generally more diverse than traditional venture capital, she said.

“This can create opportunities for a broader set of startups, so it’s important that Washington state doesn’t get left behind,” she said.

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