Q. What’s CI’s philosophy when investing in companies?

A. We’re looking for forward-thinking entrepreneurs with extraordinary potential. People who want to build a company around a core technology that can make a tremendous market impact. Entrepreneurial teams with great ideas who also need seed capital to grow their business, peak our interest. We’ve found these kinds of individuals and teams welcome our supportive involvement, want to take advantage of our extensive network of contacts, and appreciate our passion to help businesses grow.

Q. What kinds of firms do you look for?

A. The first thing we look for is the right technical and ‘idea’ people who can lead and build market-leading technology companies. There’s a lot that rides on the shoulders of entrepreneurs. And we believe that the quality of a person’s (teams’) leadership, technical, and marketing skills is critical to the success of a new venture, at times even more than the idea or invention.

Q. How do you work with the firms in which you invest?

A. We’re active investors and consider our relationship a partnership with our portfolio companies. We can help build management teams, offer strategic advice, and work to cultivate relationships. New companies often need guidance in many areas. This is why we’re eager to share our experience to help manage the challenges that are a natural part of a company’s early stages.

Q. How many investments do you manage at a given point in time?

A. Although we are always on the look out for outstanding opportunities and teams, we are very selective in our investments and how many we manage concurrently. The early stages of a company are fragile, proving immensely critical to its long-term viability—a fact of which we are acutely aware. Because of this, it’s most important that we provide the proper support and guidance from the start as we want to ensure the quality of our involvement with each company throughout our investment period.

Q. What kind of industries appeal to you?

A. In general, we’re interested in core technologies that can make a substantial impact on the markets they will serve, but are difficult to replicate. These ideas usually come from physical sciences, but not always. So we also consider a range of software and IT-related investments too. Recently we’ve considered ideas related to the telecommunications, information display, life-science research, medical devices, research instrumentation, defense technologies, and software security industries.

Q. How much do you invest?

A. We’ll invest as little as $100,000 in seed money in a start-up company or as much as $5 million in a later stage. How much we invest depends on the individual idea, the potential we believe it holds, the stage of the company’s development, and its specific needs.

Q. Where do you invest?

A. Our personal, professional, and philanthropic interests are deeply engrained in the Rocky Mountain region and opportunities in this area interest us most. We don’t just support the building of companies, but also the communities, organizations, and people in them who benefit from a thriving local economy.

Q. What other areas do you invest your time and resources in?

A. We take the same approach toward building companies and apply it to our personal and philanthropic interests. Helping to create a strong local economy is important, but we also give our time and attention to numerous public and private charities, foundations and community programs.

Having said this, we’re in the process of reviewing several opportunities in third-world countries. Through these ventures, we look to help transform and develop sustainable businesses while also assisting the local economies and the people who depend on them by supporting entrepreneurship.

Q. How do we submit an idea or proposal for consideration?

A. If you have a proposal ready, you can send it to us for consideration. If you want to catch our attention, please include a compelling executive summary that includes a brief explanation (just a couple of detailed sentences) about why your idea is the next big thing, why we should consider it, and why you’re the person or people for the job.

Once you’ve captured our attention please be sure to supply us with more specifics about the exact industry challenge for which you are providing the solution; how your idea can change the industry; why you’re the best person/people to deliver the solution; the team behind the company, and what you’ll actually deliver.

We also welcome your call if you have an interest in finding funding for a new business. We do our best to make ourselves available for these conversations and always try to provide constructive feedback.

Q. Once we submit a proposal, how long until we hear something back?

A. We usually provide some type of response in one to two weeks. It may be something as simple as an email to let you know that we’ve received your proposal and we’re considering it. Or, we may call you to talk about your idea and get more information. We may take several months to decide whether to fund your idea, especially if it requires a significant financial investment.

Feel free to call us if you have questions, though. We understand new ideas take time to develop and sometimes a little feedback early on goes a long way.

Q. Do you have resources you recommend we read on our own?

A. Absolutely. Articles in The Harvard Business Review offer excellent, proven advice that covers numerous areas of finding investors for your start up, building a management team, and other topics of interest for entrepreneurs.

If you have a proposal ready, you can send it to us.