On October 21st, 2010 well-known venture capitalist John Doerr announced a $250 million sFund aimed at providing financial support for tech startups focused on social networking.
If you’re an entrepreneur that is searching for funding, you know how extraordinarily difficult this can be. Venture Capitalists have to believe in your business model enough to commit money to it and if they do, they will want a large stake. Banks have largely tightened their lending standards to the point where getting a small business loan is difficult even when backed by the United States Small Business Association. Where can you go to find funding for your tech startup?
One option that is either overlooked or not considered by many startups are grant programs. These grant programs exist for numerous business types. Some are government-based coming from the SBA while others, like the new sFund are privately funded.
This $250 sFund was announced at a press event with tech CEOs in attendance. Among them, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus, and Kleiner’s Bing Gordon. Facebook, Amazon, and Zynga are all investors in the sFund, as are Comcast Interactive Capital, Allen & Company, and Liberty Media.
If you have a tech startup, could the sFund help you? Doerr and Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook said that they were looking for a specific social networking experience and they weren’t looking to fund companies who are simply adding on to existing technology.
Doerr had this to say about the sFund:
“We’re at the beginning of a new era for social Internet innovators who are re-imagining and re-inventing a Web of people and places, looking beyond documents and websites,” said KPCB partner John Doerr. “There’s never been a better time than now to start a new social venture.”
How can your tech startup apply for this fund? Contact Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and ask about the application procedures about the sFund.
As you search for funding options for your tech startup, don’t forget to look at the various grant programs available to startups as well as business loans and SBA backed microloan products.