BUILDING NEBRASKA'S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
Invest Nebraska plays a critical role in the statewide infrastructure of entrepreneurship and small business creation. The firm has been recognized by CB Insights as the most active venture investor in the state and in 2020 was recognized by Pitchbook as the third most active venture capital fund in the Mountain and Midwest Region.
Invest Nebraska provides educational resources and operational assistance, funds and manages various incubators and accelerators, supports programs around key industries, and builds relationships with in-state and out-of-state investment groups.
The Nebraska Startup Ecosystem plays a critical role in the statewide economy and has seen significant growth in recent years. This is due in part to strong partnerships across the state from government, higher education, industry and community leaders.
The Combine is a statewide initiative supporting high growth entrepreneurs in food and agriculture. The program consists of commercialization support through mentorship and a capital readiness program, networking events, a network of partnering producers across the state, as well as incubation space on Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Invest Nebraska leads the initiative with support from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, as well as a variety of University of Nebraska and private partners from the food and agriculture sectors.
The Biotech Connector
The Biotech Connector is a collaboration between Nebraska Innovation Campus and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Bio Nebraska, Invest Nebraska and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The facility provides incubation and acceleration services to bioscience startups and high-growth biotech and research-based businesses. Housed on the fourth floor of the Food Innovation Center, the incubator offers wet-lab space to develop biotech commercial proof-of-concept prototypes in Nebraska.
Invest Nebraska manages the wet lab space.
The Startup Collaborative is an on-demand accelerator that radically improves the odds of success for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who aim to build high-growth, software-centric companies in the Midwest. The step by step company-building methodology helps founders start up, quickly find product-market fit and tackle the early challenges of scale in a way that increases the odds of success and buys down all potential risks associated with starting up and innovation.
The Startup Collaborative is made possible by the Greater Omaha Chamber. Invest Nebraska serves as a mentor within the capital structure and financial modules. Invest Nebraska, in partnership with the Murphy Family Vision Fund, invests in start up collaborative companies that have reached the appropriate milestones within the program.
NMotion is a mentor-driven, education-focused, startup accelerator based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The program brings together capital, connections, and most importantly community to help your startup grow and thrive. The NMotion program contains intense collaboration designed to help entrepreneurs move their business significantly beyond where it is today.
NMotion is supported through collaboration between the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and gener8tor. Invest Nebraska has invested in over 30 NMotion companies and serves as a mentor to companies in the accelerator.
One Million Cups
Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups in 2012—a free program designed to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs around the country. Through the power of volunteers, 1 Million Cups has grown to more than 180 communities.
As a program of the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses. 1 Million Cups is held every Wednesday morning in both Lincoln and Omaha. Invest Nebraska serves as a community organizer for the events.
The Nebraska Angels are a network of 60 active, local angel investors. Since inception, the Angels have deployed over $39M in capital, investing in early-stage, high growth opportunities. Members are passionate about startups and helping entrepreneurs take their venture to the next level with the necessary capital.
Members have invested in over 50 companies since 2006. Invest Nebraska serves as a corporate member of the angel group and often leads deals that are in due-diligence within the group. The Nebraska Angels have co-invested with Invest Nebraska in a variety of deals in recent years.
Intro to Venture Capital
"Venture Capital: Essentials of Startup Fundraising” is a partnership between The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business and Invest Nebraska to provide a real-world look at raising money for startups.
Invest Nebraska serves as an adjunct professor to help provide students across a variety of disciplines the fundamental of venture financing from the perspective of an entreprenuer as well as a VC.
NUtech Intro to Customer Discovery
Intro to Customer Discovery is a program is open to Nebraska faculty, postdoctoral scholars and students interested in connecting research innovation with market applications. As teams progress through the training, they will conduct 30 customer interviews to better understand potential markets and applications for their technology. They will then present these findings to the entire group on the final night of the program.
Invest Nebraska serves on the instructional team for the course and holds office hours with participants.
Husker Venture Fund
Husker Venture Fund invests seed capital into startups, with priority to those founded by University of Nebraska students and alumni. Students gain insights into the world of venture capital and angel investing. They learn the key aspects needed to conduct due diligence, propose investment terms, write investment memos and manage a portfolio. The Fund and course (mentioned above) is a partnership between Invest Nebraska and The University of Nebraska College of Business.
Growing Together: Northeast Nebraska
Growing Together is a collaboration outlining the transformation of Northeast Nebraska's regional economy and population growth. The plan pairs entrepreneurs with investment capital and students to redesign a workforce that can compete in a knowledge-based economy.
Invest Nebraska serves on the steering committee for the initiative is supporting the development of a co-working space.
Internships in Venture Capital
Since 2010, Invest Nebraska has been providing internships to undergraduate and graduate students. During a semester-based internship or summer-based internship, students are exposed to financial modeling, the due diligence process, website development, marketing, and deal document formation.
Invest Nebraska believes students at our colleges and universities are an integral part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. By exposing these future leaders to equity/debt financing, due diligence, various business models, and diverse industries, we are providing a hands on experience that cannot be found in any classroom.