On September 21, 2016, the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund had its third annual meeting. Startups, venture capitalists, BigCos and other ecosystem partners gathered together in Union Hall to celebrate the successes of the Syndicate Fund and to layout the vision for the future.
Sarah Anderson, Director of the Syndicate Fund, started off by giving a state of the fund. And things look pretty good. Currently, the fund has committed 80 percent of its funds and drawn down 33 percent of those committed funds. As far as the fund’s performance, it’s still early days. But with 12 top-tier venture capital firms as partners and 290 plus companies that are, on average, 13 months old and experiencing 200 percent growth rates, the outlook is promising. The fund’s performance, however, was not the highlight of the day. As Sarah explained, its about how the fund is an instrumental tool for building Cincinnati’s tech-based economy.
The Syndicate Fund is one of the key drivers responsible for the growth of our ecosystem and the cornerstone of Cintrifuse’s Active Network. Because of the fund, our ecosystem has access to hundreds of venture capitalists and startups from across the globe. Because of the fund, our corporations have access to thought leaders and innovation from outside the region. And, because of the fund, our community is growing and strengthening. Not too shabby for a $57 million fund of fund. Especially considering that, when it was formed way back in 2012, there were few, if any, models or templates to follow.
Over the years the fund has honed its strategy. The next evolution for the Syndicate Fund is to have our BigCo Limited Partners (LPs) start driving demand for innovation. After all, to build any economy you need two things – supply and demand. Valerie Shepard, Controller and Treasurer for P&G and Cintrifuse Board Chair, talked about the impact the fund has had on P&G and why other BigCos should take advantage of it.
One of those impacts is the return on innovation they see. Just like any large corporation, P&G has technology needs and wants to be at the forefront of innovate ideas and products. The fund allows them to survey a broad landscape of technology from the comfort of Cincinnati. Participating in the fund also impacts their company culture – making it less insular and more open it change. Perhaps the most significant impact the fund has had on P&G and BigCos like them, is the fund’s ability to grow the Greater Cincinnati Region. Everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies need talent. And talent does not want to live in an old, dusty, boring city. The fund helps keep the Queen City relevant on the national stage and makes our city an attractive place for the best and brightest.
Cintrifuse and the Syndicate Fund were created as assets for Cincinnati. So both Sarah and Valarie ended their talks asking Cincinnati’s business community to take advantage of this unique asset. Talk to our VCs, talk to our startups, define what your tech needs are and start the conversation. Let’s establish big goals and aim high. Let’s go from dreaming to doing.