Durham-based IDEA Fund Partners has been looking for business in Florida – and it’s found some.
A year after expanding into Florida with the opening of an office and hiring staff, including one venture partner, IDEA Fund on Tuesday announced that it had made an investment in a college savings plan website startup called GradSave.
Matt Barber, an analyst for IDEA Fund, wouldn’t disclose the size of the investment.
However, he did say two angel investors also participated in the deal.
As part of the financing, GradSave is acquiring another website, SavingforCollege.com.
GradSave works with parents, families and friends to help create so-called 529 college savings accounts.
The investment is the 13th IDEA Fund has made out of its first fund, which closed in 2007.
IDEA Fund is associated with the economic development group NC IDEA, which makes non-dilutive grants to startup companies.
A similar plan has been launched in Florida, and two grants have been awarded, Barber said.
“Florida IDEA has awarded two grants (to Pandora Genomics and Rillip in Fall 2011) and recently completed another grant cycle with winners to be announced soon,” Barber said.
IDEA Fund’s stated strategy is to invest in early-stage companies across the southeast.
GradSave is based in Miami.
“We fundamentally believe that it takes a village to raise a child, even from a financial perspective,” said GradSave CEO Marcos Cordero. “GradSave makes it easy for parents, family and friends to give the lasting gift of an education in lieu of traditional gifts at events such as birthdays, Christmas or other holidays. No more trinkets please!”
GradSave utilizes social media as part of its strategy to help families save for college.
“We are delighted to welcome GradSave to the IDEA Fund Partners family as our first Florida-based investment and are eager to work closely with their team to help build a great company,” said Lister Delgado, managing partner at IDEA Fund Partners, in announcing the deal. “GradSave’s platform for saving for college is very impactful and easy to use. They are tackling the serious issue of rising higher education costs. Marcos is an impressive and driven CEO who is deeply committed to his vision and business and an entrepreneur we are excited to support. GradSave is a great example of the talent and innovation that has attracted us to Florida.”