The founder of the start-up CIT is now the Virginia Innovation Partnerships Corporation


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As of this month, Tech Funding in Virginia has a new name – literally.

Since November, the financing arm formerly known as Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT) is now the Virginia Innovation Partnerships Corporation (VIPC). She will now function as a non-profit operating agent for the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority, an entity created in 2020 by the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovation Partnership Act, adopted in 2019, to support innovation in the state.

Since its inception in 1985, the CIT has been a hotspot for local entrepreneurship and startups in NoVa, managing funding programs including the Commonwealth Marketing Fund, GAP funds, the Virginia Founders Fund and the Regional investment fund. In January, CIT announced that its GAP funding had invested $ 32.4 million in 240 local startups since its inception in 2005.

According to VIPC, the rebranding reflects a new priority for innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. The move follows city halls across the state, meetings with local organizations such as tech boards and accelerators, and working sessions with businesses and colleges.

Bob stolle, President of VIPC, said the rebranding follows the constant updates and growth of the program over its 35 year history.

“There has certainly been an evolution of the programs, of the people, of the needs of the entrepreneurial community, of the innovation community and so we have evolved with that and created new programs to meet the demands,” Stolle told Technical.ly.

Legislation and research, Stolle said, came about because state stakeholders realized that it would be best to bring many state programs together under one roof. To create VIPC, the CIT merged with the Virginia Research Investment Fund mainly, alongside Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics and the Commonwealth Cyber ​​Security Initiative. With the merger, he also gained additional access to a significant amount of new funding, although Stolle was unable to comment on how much. In the future, he plans to create new programs.

“The idea is not just to bring these together under one organization, but to really provide a concentration of benefits and a coordination of those benefits, and to create a kind of pipeline so that we work directly with the great programs. that exist within some of these other organizations, ”Stolle said.

Despite the name change, Tom weithman, chief investment officer and vice president of VIPC’s investment division, said VIPC can still be considered a science and technology investor. It will continue to invest in its core software and enterprise delivery categories, but will also seek out those that consider a broader context, such as cleantech and life science companies.

Mainly, Weithman said VIPC seeks to invest where its capital can make a difference, whether it’s in the state’s ecosystem or in technology that solves a real problem.

“[We’re investing in] the same look, feel and texture as companies, ”Weithman said. “We remain an investor in Virginia. We are looking for companies headquartered here that have a long-term commitment to help grow the economy. “

But the rebranding, Stolle added, also offers an opportunity to strengthen the overall startup community in the state.

“We are also trying to increase the pipeline of startups from the early stages,” said Stolle. “We recognize that we can’t just provide funding… to tech startups, but that in fact, we need to help develop the entire ecosystem within the Commonwealth. “

With the new name and new resources, Stolle said VIPC hopes to present its programming to even more founders and continue its impact. But, he added, there is also a chance to develop the local ecosystem of Virginia’s tech scene and continue to grow.

“We have a great opportunity to be a national leader in smart communities,” said Stolle. “So through this process we will continue to deal with entrepreneurs, with founders who have unique experience and can help us develop the opportunities that exist. “

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