States – Illinois

Illinois Resources

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center – Sponsored Research Program

Elizabeth Meschewski  

Purpose of Initiative

The Sponsored Research Program has supported over 235 projects, advancing the state of knowledge and practice in the areas of sustainability, pollution prevention, energy generation and conservation, and environmental issues of importance to the state of Illinois. Funding has been awarded to academic institutions, industry groups, businesses, not-profit organizations, and government entities.

Award Details

Typically, between three and six new projects receive funding each year. The number of awards is contingent on available funding, as well as the strength and relevance of the proposals. Each funding cycle begins with a focused solicitation identifying issues of special interest to the state.

Application Process

Due to budgetary constraints, there will not be a Request for Proposals (RFP) in FY 2018; however, those interested in future funding cycles can contact Elizabeth Meschewski to be added to the RFP notification email list.

Urbana-Champaign Angel Network

Craig Rost
(217) 359-6261

Purpose of Initiative

The mission of the Urbana-Champaign Angel Network (UCAN) is to serve as a forum for accredited investors to access and review investment opportunities in a confidential, efficient, and effective manner. The goal of UCAN is to further economic development in the Champaign County area by matching capital providers with attractive startup business opportunities.

Application Process

The first step in the investment process involves the entrepreneur completing a registration with the UCAN website (hosted by Gust). The applicant submits company information to the UCAN site—including business plans, PowerPoint presentations, financial projections, and other documents that would assist the Selection Committee in reviewing and assessing the business opportunity. The UCAN Selection Committee reviews each submission and a subset of the submissions are selected to present at the next meeting of UCAN members. Those selected to present at the meeting prepare a 10-15 minute presentation. After the presentation, each angel investor makes an individual decision on whether to obtain more information from a presenting company and, ultimately, whether to invest in the presenting company. A more detailed Due Diligence process is carried out by interested angels. The company and interested angels work out terms of the investment agreement and complete the investment. Questions regarding the application process should be directed to Craig Rost.

Central Illinois Angels

Kip McCoy
Central Illinois Angels
Peoria NEXT Innovation Center
801 W Main St
Peoria, IL 61606
(309) 696-9881

Purpose of Initiative

Central Illinois Angels was launched in 2009 as an angel investment organization focused on providing equity to entrepreneurs. The Central Illinois Angels have invested over $10 million since its inception.


Central Illinois Angels is looking for companies with a strong management team, an exit strategy for investors, a desire for advice and coaching from investors, and a valuation that fits their risk/reward expectations.

Application Process

Interested entrepreneurs would begin the application process by first completing an application. The applications are reviewed by administrative staff and, if the submission meets investment criteria, staff will meet with the company to review additional details before introducing the opportunity to the Screening Committee. The Screening Committee prioritizes which opportunities they would like to review further with a presentation. Those asked to present will have 20 minutes to provide the angel investors with a clear and concise overview of their company. If the Screening Committee decides to move the company forward, they will give a 20 minute presentation to the full membership. Due diligence is performed before investment terms are outlined and finalized.

Hyde Park Angels

Contact Information

Purpose of Initiative

Hyde Park Angels encompasses over 100 high-profile accredited investors with expertise in a range of industries. The organization works with Midwest-based entrepreneurs, providing strategic advice, coaching, and capital.


Hyde Park Angels only invests in companies within the Midwest. The organization invests in scalable companies led by talented management teams with innovative, market-ready solutions.

Serra Ventures

Serra Ventures
2021 South First Street
Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 819-5200

Purpose of Initiative

Serra Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology companies in emerging Midwest technology centers and other select areas. The sectors they focus on include information technology, devices and instrumentation, and agricultural technologies.


Ideal applicants include startup companies that have recently completed an accelerator program, an I-Corps program, or one that has been through a round of seed funding to demonstrate a strong product/market fit. Serra Ventures funds startup teams that have strong industry or technical experience, a capital efficient business model, a demonstrated product/market fit, a referenceable customer base, and a strong patent or technology advantage. There is a focus on emerging companies in the Midwest, including Illinois.


2242 West Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-9853

60 Hazelwood Drive, Suite 226
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 300-7661

Purpose of Initiative

IllinoisVENTURES provides guidance and capital to entrepreneurs and technical founders in Illinois. By helping researchers and entrepreneurs to commercialize innovative technologies, IllinoisVENTURES is making Illinois a better place to do business. The organization provides guidance and mentoring to startup teams in the earliest stages. They also provide seed and expansion capital. IllinoisVENTURES works with companies to attract team members, investors, and strategic partners. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois formally launched IllinoisVENTURES to address the need for startup support and funding. In addition to working with University of Illinois startups, IllinoisVENTURES also works with other entrepreneurs in the state of Illinois. IllinoisVENTURES begins working with companies or researchers in the very early stages of technology development—often before a technology even transitions out of the laboratory. By providing proof of concept and seed funding, the organization is able to help startup teams build prototypes, validate their target market(s), refine their business model, recruit management, and position their company for Series A investment.


IllinoisVENTURES provides investments in the form of proof of concept grants, seed capital, and venture capital. Proof of concept grants (funded through the UIC Chancellor’s Innovation Fund) enable inventors to take an idea and create a prototype or obtain data to validate the technology. With respect to seed capital, IllinoisVENTURES invests up to $200,000 in seed-stage opportunities developed at the University of Illinois. IllinoisVENTURES also manages the Illinois Emerging Technologies Funds (IETF), which are financed through external limited partners. IETF funds are used to either lead or participate in larger venture capital financings to help early-stage companies grow and surpass the startup level.

First Leaf Capital

First Leaf Capital
101 W Tomaras Avenue
Suite 54
Savoy, IL 61874
(217) 781-3637

Purpose of Initiative

First Leaf Capital is an investment and venture capital firm based in Illinois. The organization pursues a range of investment opportunities in Central Illinois and the Midwest. First Leaf focuses on early-stage investments in startup companies, as well as loans to new or established business owners, and acquisitions of entire businesses.


First Leaf Capital offers a range of investment structures, including convertible notes, venture equity, venture debt, partnership interests, revenue-based financing, bridge notes, term loans, or business lines of credit.

Application Process

Entrepreneurs seeking funding can contact or send any existing pitch materials to First Leaf Capital at If they are interested in the investment opportunity, they will request any additional information needed.

Updated March 2018 by Kristen Johnson


3161 Union Street
N. Chili, NY 14514


Dawnbreaker, Inc.
2117 Buffalo Rd., Suite 193
Rochester, NY 14624


(585) 594-0025
Fax: (585) 594-8623