Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

February 4, 2020

Hartford’s Innovation Places team says state’s $6.4M investment paying off

HBJ File Photo Entrepreneurs from 10 insurance-technology startups (shown above in a strategy session) participated in the second annual Hartford InsurTech Hub accelerator program.

As the state’s $30-million Innovation Places program heads into the latter half of its third year, the Hartford entrepreneurial consortium funded by the initiative says it has put the money it’s received to good use.

The Hartford-based team -- one of four from around the state selected in 2017 to share in the funding pot over a five-year period -- has received $6.4 million thus far and was just approved by state overseers for another $400,000 leftover from a prior year.

Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places, which changed its name last fall to Launc[H], says its investments in accelerators like Hartford InsurTech Hub and Digital Health CT, as well as other initiatives that aim to boost the city’s profile, have helped create and retain nearly 190 jobs, create or scale 159 startups, and draw an additional $9.5 million in private matching funds.   

“I think there have been significant results from the investment that’s been made in the program, particularly in Hartford,” said Michelle Cote, director of strategic partnerships at UConn’s Hartford-based Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and director of the Launc[H] team. “To be able to get to scale will require additional investment.”

Innovation Places teams will return to the quasi-public CTNext in April with their funding asks for the fourth year of the program. The Hartford team is expected to seek $2 million.

The legislature created the Innovation Places program in 2016 as part of a broader effort to stimulate Connecticut's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Year 3 funding beefed up

In fiscal 2020, the third year of the program, Launc[H] is getting $2.8 million in total funding.

Cote said Launc[H] is using the recently approved $400,000, originally intended for an insurtech “proof of concept” fund, for the launch of a new website that aims to market the various innovation programs happening in the city.

The aim of the site, built by New Haven-based marketing agency Digital Surgeons, is somewhat similar to one run by the MetroHartford Alliance, which acts as a fiduciary for the Hartford Innovation Places funds.

Besides the new website, which is budgeted to cost $150,000, Launc[H] will use another $100,000 for events.

It’s planning an investor event around Hartford InsurTech Hub’s annual Demo Day, where its cohort of startups put their technology on display. Investors will also be able to meet with alumni of the insurtech program.

Launc[H] and InsurTech Hub are also planning to play a more significant role in the annual Insurance Capital Summit, which is normally held later in the year, but is planned for June 2020.

Finally, Launc[H] funds will send a delegation to Insurtech Connect, a major trade show in Las Vegas. 

The final $150,000 will be split between hiring a new full-time staffer to coordinate events and track and support the program’s progress, and to build up insurtech talent efforts, including launching an online talent center on the new Launc[H] website.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF