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Slater Technology Fund

Providing capital for early-stage technology startups that show high-growth promise
Slater Technology Fund
Leadership team

Thorne Sparkman ( Managing Director)

Bob Chatham (Director)

Jason Harry  (Operating Partner)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Established
1997
Social Media
Summary

The Slater Technology Fund is a venture capital firm based in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1997, it is the state's only state-backed venture capital fund and provides funding and support to early-stage companies in the technology and life sciences industries. The fund is named after the former Governor of Rhode Island, William Slater.

The Slater Technology Fund's mission is to provide early-stage companies with the capital, guidance, and resources they need to become successful businesses. The fund seeks to invest in innovative companies with the potential to create high-quality jobs in Rhode Island and contribute to the state's economy. It aims to help build a strong, sustainable ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation in the state.

The Slater Technology Fund has a diverse portfolio of investments in companies across a range of industries, including software, healthcare, biotechnology, and cleantech. Some of its notable portfolio companies include eNow, a company that develops solar-powered technology for the transportation industry; VCharge, a provider of energy storage solutions; and Avedro, a biotechnology company that develops treatments for corneal disorders.

The Slater Technology Fund has a set of investment criteria that it uses to evaluate potential portfolio companies. These criteria include the company's potential for growth and profitability, the quality of its management team, its intellectual property, its market potential, and its ability to create jobs in Rhode Island.

In addition to providing funding, the Slater Technology Fund also offers guidance and support to its portfolio companies. This includes assistance with business planning, marketing, and fundraising, as well as access to a network of experienced mentors and advisors.


History

The Slater Technology Fund is an evergreen not-for-profit seed fund that was founded in 1997 in Rhode Island, USA. The fund was established with a $12 million endowment from the State of Rhode Island to support the development of new ventures in the technology industry. The Slater Technology Fund is the state’s oldest and most active seed-stage investment fund, and it has invested in a variety of high-growth technology ventures since its inception.

The fund was named after John Slater, a Rhode Island entrepreneur and philanthropist who was committed to supporting the growth of new technology companies in the state. The Slater Technology Fund was created to continue John Slater’s legacy by providing early-stage capital to entrepreneurs and startup companies with the potential for high growth and a transformational impact on their industries or markets.

In the early years of the fund, the Slater Technology Fund made investments in a wide range of technology ventures, including software, hardware, and life sciences companies. The fund quickly gained a reputation for its expertise in early-stage investing and its commitment to supporting the growth of local entrepreneurs and companies.

Over the years, the Slater Technology Fund has continued to evolve and refine its investment focus. Today, the fund primarily invests in software, energy, and life sciences companies that are focused on developing transformative technologies aimed at solving some of the world’s biggest problems. The Slater Technology Fund has also become increasingly focused on supporting the development of new ventures that are based in Rhode Island and committed to building and growing their businesses locally.

Since its founding, the Slater Technology Fund has invested over $35.7 million in seed-stage capital in more than 90 companies. These companies have gone on to raise over $690 million in follow-on funding from other investors, creating thousands of jobs and driving economic growth in Rhode Island and beyond. The Slater Technology Fund has also been involved in 33 acquisitions and other liquidity events over the years, helping to generate returns for its investors and support the growth of the local technology ecosystem.

Today, the Slater Technology Fund is led by Managing Director Thorne Sparkman and Director Bob Chatham, both of whom bring extensive experience in the technology industry to their roles. The fund continues to support the growth of new ventures in Rhode Island and beyond, investing in companies that have the potential to transform their industries and make a positive impact on the world.


Investment criteria

The Slater Technology Fund invests in early-stage technology ventures founded by entrepreneurs who have the vision, courage, and tenacity to build companies that aim to achieve transformational impact in the industries or markets they serve. The fund's investment criteria can be summarized as follows:

  • Seed- and early-stage capital: The fund primarily invests in seed and early-stage companies that are in the process of developing their products or services.
  • Industry focus: The fund invests in companies operating in the software, energy, and life sciences industries.
  • Transformative technologies: The fund seeks to invest in companies that are developing technologies aimed at solving some of the world's biggest problems.
  • Local commitment: The fund has a strong commitment to building and basing locally, and thus, primarily invests in Rhode Island-based companies.
  • Clear, unmet needs: The fund seeks to invest in companies that are addressing clear, unmet needs in their respective industries.
  • Attractive potential: The fund looks for opportunities that have the potential to attract the people and resources that great ventures thrive upon.

Overall, the Slater Technology Fund's investment criteria aim to support early-stage ventures with high potential for growth and impact, while also contributing to the development of the local Rhode Island economy.


Values
  • Entrepreneurial Vision: The Slater Technology Fund believes in the power of entrepreneurial vision and creativity to drive innovation and change. They invest in entrepreneurs who have the courage, tenacity, and passion to build transformative companies that aim to solve the world's biggest problems.
  • Impact-Driven: The fund seeks to support ventures that have the potential to achieve transformational impact in the industries or markets they serve. They prioritize companies that are focused on creating solutions to unmet needs and are committed to building sustainable and impactful businesses.
  • Local Commitment: The Slater Technology Fund is committed to building and based locally. They invest in early-stage ventures founded in Rhode Island and are dedicated to helping build a strong and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state.
  • Collaborative Approach: The fund takes a collaborative approach to work with entrepreneurs, recognizing that successful ventures require the support of a network of partners, advisors, and investors. They work closely with entrepreneurs to provide the capital, experience, perspective, and support needed to turn ideas into reality.
  • Community-Oriented: Community is a core part of Slater's value proposition, and they believe that connecting entrepreneurs with each other and with potential partners, investors, customers, and employees is critical to success. They hold networking events, presentations, and panel discussions to bring value to their portfolio companies and create meaningful connections.

Mission

The Slater Technology Fund's mission statement is to support the development of new ventures in Rhode Island and surrounding areas by providing seed-stage capital, experience, perspective, and support to early-stage entrepreneurs who have the vision, courage, and tenacity to build companies that aim to achieve transformational impact in the industries or markets they serve. 

The fund focuses on investing in software, energy, and life sciences, with an emphasis on transformative technologies aimed at solving the world's biggest problems. The Slater Technology Fund is committed to building and based locally, and it seeks to create meaningful connections between portfolio companies, potential partners, investors, customers, and employees through its community events and networking opportunities.


Portfolio

The Slater Technology Fund had a diverse portfolio of investments in various industries, including life sciences, information technology, and advanced materials. Some of the notable companies in their portfolio include:

  • EpiVax: EpiVax is a biotechnology company that develops vaccines and immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer. The company's technology is based on the principles of immunoinformatics, which uses computational tools to design new vaccines and immunotherapies. The Slater Technology Fund made an early investment in EpiVax, and the company has since grown to become a leading player in the vaccine and immunotherapy space.
  • VCharge: VCharge is a company that provides energy management solutions for residential and commercial buildings. The company's technology helps to reduce energy costs and increase the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. The Slater Technology Fund invested in VCharge in 2014, and the company has since expanded its operations to include several large-scale projects in the United States and Europe.
  • Nabsys: Nabsys is a life sciences company that develops DNA sequencing technologies for research and clinical applications. The company's technology allows for the rapid and accurate analysis of DNA, which has many applications in medicine and biotechnology. The Slater Technology Fund was an early investor in Nabsys, and the company has since been acquired by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.
  • MojoTech: MojoTech is a software development company that provides custom software solutions for businesses. The company's expertise includes web development, mobile app development, and software consulting. The Slater Technology Fund invested in MojoTech in 2013, and the company has since grown to become one of the leading software development firms in the United States.
  • Splitwise: Splitwise is a mobile app that helps people split expenses with friends and roommates. The app allows users to easily track shared expenses and settle up debts without the need for cash or checks. The Slater Technology Fund invested in Splitwise in 2015, and the app has since grown to become a popular tool for managing shared expenses among friends and family.

Overall, The Slater Technology Fund's portfolio reflects its mission to invest in innovative technologies and companies that have the potential to create significant economic impact in Rhode Island and beyond.


References
Slater Technology Fund
Leadership team

Thorne Sparkman ( Managing Director)

Bob Chatham (Director)

Jason Harry  (Operating Partner)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Established
1997
Social Media