Spark Capital starts seed-stage investing

Bambi Francisco Roizen · March 25, 2009 · Short URL:

Fund seeks Manhattan and Boston-based startups focused on media, tech and entertainment

 Good news for startups based in Boston or Manhattan and seeking capital. Manhattan-based Spark Capital, based in Manhattan, which has invested in Twitter, Tumblr,, Boxee, to Veoh, to name a few, is starting to place money at the earliest stages through a new program called Start@Spark.

Spark Capital said it's starting this program because a lot of early-stage forms of funding have dried up. "Fewer angels are investing aggressively and many top tier institutional investors are turning their attention to their existing portfolios," according to its site. While there is a healthy population of large venture capital funds that invest $5-plus million in startups, there are many entrepreneurs who need modest sums, far below that amount.

So what's the criteria to apply?

Start@Spark is seeking companies that have clearly articulated a problem, have teams that are hungry, and with the tools to hit the ground running, and have a good sense of how they would utilize their capital to hit certain milestones. Spark is looking at the media, technology and entertainment sectors. And, it's also looking in the area of next-generation personal finance and applications that can leverage the iPhone, Android, gaming consoles, and Twitter.

What's Spark putting in?

The standard Start@Spark investment will take the form of a convertible loan of up to $250,000. The loan will convert to equity at the company's next round of financing at a 20% discount. Start@Spark would also retain the right to provide at least half of the financing of the next round. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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