MassMutual Announces Springfield Venture Fund
SPRINGFIELD — MassMutual announced a new, $5 million Springfield Venture Fund (SVF) to invest in high-potential startups in Springfield. The new seed fund is designed to serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the Springfield community and complement a new accelerator program in the city designed to help startups succeed. “Since 1851, MassMutual has been proud to call Springfield home. We see great economic-development opportunity in the city, and we’re proud to contribute to the positive momentum with this announcement,” said Tim Corbett, executive vice president and chief investment officer for MassMutual. “The Springfield Venture Fund will enhance the city’s already strong entrepreneurial environment for startups, as well as help entrepreneurs grow their business, create jobs, and generate additional tax revenue for the city.” SVF seeks to invest $5 million over the next five years in startups with business operations currently located in or willing to relocate to Springfield. Target companies will have a defined product or service, be no more than three years old, and have strong, committed management teams; well-defined, scalable business plans; and high-growth potential. In addition to SVF, MassMutual will invest more than $1.5 million over the next three years to support the creation of a startup accelerator by Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), an entrepreneur-mentoring network in Springfield that will manage the program, and DevelopSpringfield, a nonprofit organization dedicated to driving development in Springfield, which will build out a physical location for the Accelerator. The VVM Accelerator, modeled after MassChallenge, will provide startups with the space, training, connections, and opportunities they need to succeed, while creating a pool of potentially investable candidates for SVF and other seed funds. Startups accepted into the accelerator will be competing for more than $200,000 in grants to be awarded at the end of the four-month program. “By providing startups with greater access to capital, educational opportunities, and valuable mentors, SVF and VVM are a winning combination in helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams while drawing valuable resources and businesses to the Springfield area,” said Scott Foster, president of VVM. The Springfield Venture Fund is expected to start taking proposals in the fall. The VVM Accelerator will be accepting applications in August and expects to launch in early 2015.