Expanded tax credit program creates new fund for growing firms

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Governor M. Jodi Rell recently announced that a key provision of the bipartisan Jobs Bill that Governor Rell helped shepherd to passage in the most recent legislative session is triggering a $72 million investment in at least 25 Connecticut small businesses, helping to create jobs, spur innovation and strengthen the state’s economy.

Advantage Capital Partners is the first venture capital and small business finance firm to be certified as a fund manager under the newly revised Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit program, which was updated as part of the Jobs Bill. The program leverages private capital provided by insurance companies that is then invested by statecertified fund managers.The Jobs Bill – passed by the Legislature in the waning days of the regular session – is a sweeping, bipartisan package that offers incentives for employers, supports small business and emerging industries, provides resources for tuition and training, helps manufacturers find efficiencies and includes accountability measures to safeguard state taxpayer dollars. The bill was the product of cooperative efforts Governor Rell began in the first leadership meeting of the legislative session.

“As I have traveled the state, one of the top concerns I have heard – especially as the economy has struggled – has been the lack of access to capital, especially risk capital for new ventures with considerable start-up costs but high growth potential,” Governor Rell said. “With the changes that we made to the Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit program, there will be a much-needed infusion of investment dollars into our state to support business formation and growth, as well as strengthen our high-tech work force. I expect that this program will be paying important economic dividends for years to come.”

Advantage Capital Partners, a group of venture capital partnerships that has raised more than $1.3 billion since 1992, has raised $72 million for investment in Connecticut-based companies. The firm provides equity and debt capital, along with value-added counsel and other support, to operating businesses that have the potential for excellent investor returns as well as significant community impact.

For the Connecticut fund, Advantage Capital has partnered with Ironwood Capital, an Avon-based investment management firm focused on private equity, mezzanine and senior debt investments. Ironwood Capital will identify, underwrite and manage these investments.

Advantage Capital’s fund will identify promising debt and equity investment opportunities in everything from seedstage through mature but growing companies.

“Advantage Capital Partners is committed to fostering the growth of small businesses in Connecticut,” said Steven T. Stull, President of Advantage Capital Partners. “Our firm has a strong track record of raising private capital for investments which promote economic opportunity, enable job creation and retention, and contribute to a robust investment climate. We look forward to working with the State of Connecticut and with Ironwood Capital to accomplish these important goals.”

The revamped Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit program now allows fund managers to invest in any Connecticutbased business, not just insurance-related companies. Twenty-five percent of the investments must be committed to green technology efforts, while 3 percent must go toward pre-seed investments.

“The passage of the jobs bill earlier this year was a momentous occasion for Connecticut,” said Joan McDonald, DECD commissioner and Connecticut Innovations board chair. “It provided a host of new incentives and resources for businesses to boost investment and create jobs across all industry sectors. The changes made to the Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit program, most notably in the pre-seed area, are another important building block in our efforts to move to an innovation-based economy.”

To learn more about the Advantage Capital Connecticut fund, please contact Victor Budnick at (860) 409-2108 or John Strahley at (860) 409-2106. Companies seeking capital can submit requests for funding via email to icc@ironwoodcap.com