Funding Options for Your Business

A frequent question we hear from entrepreneurs is, “How do I raise money for my business?”

Instead of giving a one-size-fits-all answer, we work with entrepreneurs to understand the financial needs of their business. From there, we’ll build the foundation of your growth plan and prepare you to raise funding that’s best aligned with the stage of your venture. Whether it’s pursuing grants, raising equity investment, or assessing financing alternatives, our program exists to help businesses identify capital options that can unlock opportunities.

Read on to learn about ways to fund your business in Charlottesville and throughout Central Virginia.

Small Business Loans and Debt Financing

Community Investment Collaborative – Offers microloans of up to $35,000 to both graduates of its Entrepreneur Training Workshop and to existing businesses. CIC is a trustee of Kiva Zip and endorses entrepreneurs to crowd-fund their loans on their web site. Loans are two year terms and interest free. Entrepreneurs may borrow up to $5,000 in the first stage and up to $10,000 in the second stage. Learn more and apply here.

Small Business Association Loan Programs – the SBA itself does not issue loans or offer grants. Loans include:

  • SBA 7(A): Loans up to $5 million to be used for fixed assets, working capital, and/or to finance startups or the purchase of an existing business. The maximum percentage of SBA guaranty on this type of loan is 85% up to $150,000 and 75% over $150,000.
  • SBA 504: Loans up to $5.5 million for small businesses to pay for equipment and real estate or refinance existing debt.

Intermediary organizations, such as Central Virginia Small Business Development Center, can help businesses prepare a loan package. Learn more here >

Virginia Community Capital – offers line of credit to assist small businesses in Virginia. VCC’s small business lending has designated funds, including the Resilient Community Loan Fund, the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund, Southwest Virginia Outdoor, Virginia Energy Efficiency Loan Product, and Virginia Solar Loan Product. Learn more about VCC’s lending here >

Virginia Small Business Financing Authority – Offers loans directly to businesses and non-profits, credit enhancements to banks that are lending to businesses and non-profits, as well as bond financings to benefit for-profit businesses, 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit entities, and to support clean energy and P3 transportation projects. Eligible borrowers include businesses engaged in technology, biotechnology, tourism, manufacturing, renewable energy, government contractors, basic commercial and industrial companies. Direct loan programs include:

  • Economic development loan fund: Designed to fill the financing gap between private debt financing and private equity. Minimum loan amount is $50,000. In economically distressed areas of the state the maximum loan available from the Fund for each project is 40% of the project costs or $1,000,000, whichever is less. For all other areas of the state, the maximum loan is $500,000 or 40%, whichever is less.
  • SWaM business loan fund: For existing small businesses to help established enterprises create new jobs and retain at-risk jobs in Virginia. Maximum loan amount is $10,000; however, special consideration will be given to increase the approved loan amount to $25,000, if requested by the applicant business on the application and accompanied by a referral form from the SBDC.

Learn more about eligibility and borrowing here >

Equity Financing

Blu Venture Investments – A fund making  venture capital and private equity investments in early-stage companies in the Mid-Atlantic region; the typical investment is between $250,000 – $1 million in a single round. Blu Venture’s focus includes technology companies that have SaaS and/or enterprise software models, technology companies targeting solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Intelligence Community sectors, and special situations including acquisitions and spin-off re-structurings. Learn more and submit a pitch >

CAV Angels – An angel investor network investing in Seed or Series A rounds in companies focusing on healthcare and technology industries. The startup’s founder, major investor, or board member must be a UVA Alumnus or have another strong UVA affiliation (UVA IP used, student, faculty, etc.). Companies must be in a growing, high-tech industry, have an advanced prototype with demonstrated market traction, and a strong management team. Should a startup require more than $1MM in funding, then CAV Angels may also participate in a syndicated deal. Learn more and apply here >

Charlottesville Angel Network – An angel network investing $100,000 – $300,000 in seed, angel, and friends & family rounds in startups raising less than $5MM. CAN looks for companies with a proven product, strong management team, and clear path to liquidity. CAN also partners with co-investors on Series A and B rounds. Learn more and apply here >

Center for Innovative Technology – CIT GAP Funds is a family of seed- and early-stage investment funds placing near-equity and equity investments in Virginia-based technology, life science, and cleantech companies. Funds include:

  • GAP BioLife Fund – A seed fund investing exclusively in life science companies.
  • GAP Tech Fund – A seed fund investing in IT and technology companies.
  • Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF), a seed fund investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy companies.
  • Virginia Founders Fund, a seed fund designed to increase investment opportunities for Virginia-based entrepreneurs traditionally underrepresented in venture capital.

Learn more and submit information here >

Hivers and Strivers – An angel investment group focusing on early-stage investments to support startup companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. Military Academies. Investments are typically between $250,000 – $1 million in a single round; when larger financing rounds are needed, the group actively looks to syndicate deals with other investor groups. Learn more and apply >

New Dominion Angels – An angel network investing in Seed or Series A rounds and primarily investing in the Mid-Atlantic region. New Dominion does not restrict itself to specific industries, though majority of its portfolio companies fall into SaaS or Internet-of-Things categories. Learn more and apply here >

NRV – A venture capital firm that invests in Series A rounds in the Richmond-region and throughout Virginia. NRV looks for promising early-stage companies with demonstrated market traction and high growth potential. Learn more and apply >

Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors – An angel network making investments of $50,000 – $300,000 in early-stage companies that leverage technology to create a new product or service. A review committee assesses and ranks business proposals based on several factors, including: market potential, scalability, new job creation, intellectual property, competition, management team, business acumen, capital intensity and potential return on an equity investment. Learn more and apply here >

Trolley Ventures – A Richmond-based fund making investments between $50,000 – $500,000. Companies must be located in Virginia or willing to relocate and ideally be post-revenue. Trolley Ventures accepts all industries excluding real estate and will work with a variety of deal structures, including equity, loans, and revenue-based agreements. Learn more and apply here >

757 Angels – An angel network investing between $100,000 – $5 million in early-stage Virginia-based companies. Companies should have evidence of market traction, a strong management team, compelling business case, a large identified market opportunity, and credible exit potential. 757 Angels requires payment of a $100 fee with a complete application submission. Learn more and apply >

UVA LVG Seed Fund – The $10 million UVA LVG Seed Fund invests in companies founded to commercialize UVA intellectual property; companies founded by current faculty, staff, and students at UVA, and iLab companies. Learn more and apply here >