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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 funds?
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 the picture?
SPEC makes early stage investments in promising companies. Its investments precede venture capitaland conventional financing.

Does SPEC co-invest with other financial organizations?
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 do first?
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:

Golden 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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