Doylestown-based entrepreneurship group Startup Bucks launched a fund to support for local startups back in 2020. It’s going so well that it’s coming back for its third cohort.
Executive Director Jon Mercer told Technical.ly then the fund aimed to highlight the innovation happening just over city lines. And we see it in VC numbers — suburban companies pull in millions in VC every year.
The Bucks Built fund for early-stage startups invests in five selected companies up to $25,000 via convertible notes. The Bucks County Industrial Development Authority provides $250,000 annually in two rounds of the program which is administered by Startup Bucks, and this year will partner with Penn Community Bank to fund additional $40,000 in grants to two rounds of non-recipient finalists.
For a year following the investment, each startup also receives partnered advising, resources, connections and programming from the Bucks Built team, Industrial Development Authority and broader Startup Bucks community focused on enabling growth and securing follow-on funding. The 10 companies represented so far span industries, including HR and clinical software, medtech, and vegan haircare products, and have raised a collective $6 million in follow-on funding, according to the org. Included on the alumni list are healthtech company CareAlign, wearable amputee device company TheraV, HR tech company Employee Cycle and medical device company Neuralert.
“The Bucks Built investment has helped us to manufacture our first batch of devices which we shipped out in the first quarter of this year,” said Delaware-based Amira Radović, founder and CEO of TheraV, in a statement. “The program has also provided me with mentors and advisors who have been instrumental in helping me and my team to stay accountable and goal-oriented through the past year.”
The companies have gone on to raise a combined $6 million last year in follow-on funding, five from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Mercer said. Interested startups do not need to be based in Bucks County to apply for the yearlong program, but they do need to meet certain criteria, including being “innovative and designing to scale,” have no more than five employees. Plus, they must have at least the owner living in or planning to live in Bucks County, be operating your business there, or be committed to hiring in Bucks County.
Applications for the 2022 fund open May 10 and close June 13. Finalists will be announced later that month, and two pitch days in late June will lead to five startups being selected in July.-30-