Frequently Asked Questions
What does SPEC stand for?
SPEC is an acronym for the Seaway Private Equity Corporation
– a private, not-for-profit corporation located in St. Lawrence
County, New York. It is responsible for overseeing the disbursement
of up to $10-million in early-stage investment funds to attract
the development of technologies and their associated businesses
in St. Lawrence County, particularly those focused on renewable
energy and environmental technologies.
Where does the funding come from?
Project funding comes from two sources. SPEC’s investments
are funded by a long-term $10 million loan from the New York Power
Authority. The balance of the funding comes from private investors
– at a ratio of $2 private to each $1 SPEC funding –
assembled by a Qualified Business Development Firm.
Who can apply?
We invite your inquiry if you have a market-changing technology
in the area of renewable energy or environmental technologies
(any others must be approved by a two-thirds vote of our Board
of Directors); have complete control of the technology; are committed
to principally operating your new technology company in St. Lawrence
County, New York (USA); and, are able to submit a business plan
that makes a compelling case for success.
What criteria are there for applying for
Before applying for funds, you should read through the Investment
Process and the overview of the Investment
Criteria we require. In addition, we suggest you answer the
three questions and review the requirements of your business plan,
as detailed on our Submissions page.
How are the funds repaid?
Both types of investors – SPEC and the private firms –
get repaid as equity investors from the profits generated by or
proceeds of the sale of the enterprises in which they invest.
Is this a grant or loan?
Neither. SPEC is an equity investor in the enterprises it finances.
Who provides the investment money?
The money comes from two sources – the New York Power Authority
and private investors. The New York Power Authority has made up
to $10-million available for the purpose of creating quality jobs
through the development of new technology companies – focusing
primarily on renewable energy and environmental advances –
in St. Lawrence County, New York (USA). Our Qualified Business
Development Firms work with start-up companies to secure $2 in
private investment for each $1 provided by SPEC.
At what stage of investment does SPEC enter
SPEC makes early stage investments in promising companies. Its
investments precede venture capitaland conventional financing.
Does SPEC co-invest with other financial
SPEC’s investments are made only made in cooperation with
other early stage private investors on a $1:$2 basis.
Are follow-on investments possible?
SPEC cannot invest more than $1 million in any single enterprise.
But follow-on investments are possible, provided that SPEC’s
initial investment was less than $1 million.
How will SPEC be involved with my company
after an investment is made?
SPEC is a passive investor. SPEC contracts with a Qualified Business
Development Firm that will be responsible for matching its funds
at a $1 : $2 ratio with private investment capital and will work
with you to define the business strategy and exercise oversight
and/or control of certain business operations.
If I meet the criteria, what do I need to
Entrepreneurs with great new technology ideas who meet SPEC’s
investment criteria should first answer the questions found on
the Submissions page to decide
if you should proceed. If the you can answer “yes”
to all three questions, you next need to contact one of our Qualified
Business Development Firms. Currently SPEC has contracted with
the following Qualified Business Development Firm:
Technology Management, LLC
When contacting the Qualified Business Development Firm, you
should be prepared to submit a concise, complete and compelling
business plan which meets the criteria addressed under the Contact
section of the Submission page.
How long until I know that SPEC will invest
in my technology and its associated business?
SPEC’s approval should not take more than 21 days from the
day that one of its Qualified Business Development Firms has forwarded
a complete package of documentation to SPEC. However, the discussions
and negotiations among the entrepreneur, the possible private
investors, and the Qualified Business Development Firm have no
timelines other than those they set themselves or are set by the
nature of the project itself.
What and who is involved in the approval
process for an investment?
SPEC’s approval of its portion of an investment is made
by the SPEC Board of Trustees – 10 people, most of whom
have residences and business offices in St. Lawrence County.
What is a Qualified Business Development
Firm? Why am I not just dealing directly with SPEC?
SPEC provides oversight for the funds but does not develop the
technology or the businesses in which it invests. It contracts
with Qualified Business Development Firms who provide important
guidance during the critical early stages of startup, as well
as bring private cash to match SPEC’s investment at a ratio
of $2 for every $1 of SPEC funds.
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