About The Validation Fund

The Validation Fund is an evergreen, not-for-profit fund dedicated to deploying early-stage awards to validation-stage Arkansas startup companies. The Validation Fund’s purpose is to aid in the creation of jobs and economic prosperity for Arkansas by providing needed early-stage capital to promising companies.

An established investment capital continuum consists of the following capital stages: Proof-of-Concept, Validation, Angel, and Venture. The lack of capital at the validation stage has created a competitive disadvantage for Arkansas entrepreneurs and limited the opportunity to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy. As a result, Arkansas is missing growth opportunities.

The Validation Fund responds to the need for early-stage capital by closing the validation capital gap in Arkansas. The Validation Fund was seeded with a $1 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation for Northwest Arkansas companies and plans to make investments of $50,000 to $150,000 in 8-10 validation stage companies over the next two years. The Fund also plans to raise an additional $6 million over time to invest throughout the rest of the state in seven targeted industries:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Retail
  3. Transportation, distribution, and logistics
  4. Agriculture, food, and natural resources
  5. Financial services
  6. Data sciences, advanced analytics, and software development
  7. Energy and power electronics.

Winrock will then leverage existing entrepreneurial support programs, such as Innovate Arkansas and the Innovation Fund (I-Fund), to provide technical assistance and counseling to companies seeking investment.