This article originally appeared in Austin Business Journal.
By: Will Anderson
A University of Texas at Austin program and a local venture capital firm have secured $750,000 in federal grants to invest in companies and initiatives that all too often miss out on financial backing from traditional sources.
The Texas Smart Water Innovation Cluster at the Austin Technology Incubator, which is part of UT Austin, received $500,000 and True Wealth Ventures, using the name Gender Lens Impact Fund, received $250,000 Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The grants, which were announced Tuesday morning at Austin City Hall, were part of $15 million doled out to 35 organizations around the nation to create and expand innovative investment programs.
True Wealth Ventures is an Austin venture capital firm led by Kerry Rupp and former Advanced Micro Devices Inc. executive Sara Brand that invests in women-led companies, especially in consumer health and sustainable products. The $250,000 from the federal government will go toward marketing and operational costs, according to Silicon Hills News. It will not be invested in startups — True Wealth Ventures is separately raising a $20 million fund, and closed in August on the first $4.7 million of that capital.
“Gender lens” investing refers to an investing model that evaluates both financial potential and how businesses empower women. Go here to learn more on the subject from Veris Wealth Partners LLC.
The Texas Smart Water Innovation Cluster will connect entrepreneurs and water researchers statewide to bring water technology to market, according to the Austin American-Statesman. ATI launched in March an incubator to support young companies in the sector.
Elsewhere in Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s South-Texas Innovation Partnership Program received $499,997 and the WERX Foundation of McKinney received $345,895.
Go here to learn more about the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program and how you can apply for future funding rounds.