By Timothy Boone
Advocate business writer
September 17, 2012
A newly formed venture capital fund, which aims to turn downtown Baton Rouge into an entrepreneurial hub, will be officially unveiled at noon Friday in the Kress Gallery.
The Capital Region Venture Partners wants to invest $5 million in seed capital for startup and emerging technology and digital media companies and predevelopment funds for real estate projects. The fund has already raised $1 million from its founders.
Trey Godfrey, a partner in Vision City and president of Springboard Baton Rouge, said the goal of the CRVP is to be on the “front edge of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
“If you look at places where startups are nurtured and supported, there’s a vibrant type of energy, like in Silicon Valley and Austin,” Godfrey said.
The CRVP will build on the work done downtown by Springboard Baton Rouge, an incubator for entrepreneurs, and Vision City Development Group. Godfrey, John Schneider and Derek Fitch, partners in Vision City and part of Springboard, were involved in redeveloping the Kress Building and Hotel Indigo downtown.
“Our interests lie in downtown, but the fund will not be limited,” said Godfrey, who hopes to see the reach of the venture capital dollars extend beyond Baton Rouge.
Schneider said in a statement that the CRVP is a key component in the development of Springboard and Vision City.
“Now that the SpringboardBR accelerator program is a reality and the Kress and Hotel Indigo operations are in successful economic commerce, we are ready to capitalize on the positive goodwill generated and expand our vision,” he said.
Springboard is set to announce the four companies selected to participate in its Fall 2012 Startup Accelerator Program at the luncheon Friday. Vision City will identify several potential real estate projects that are being considered, including renovations and new construction.
“We have so much to say, but the best stuff will come out Friday,” Godfrey said.