California State University, Fresno Foundation


Fresno, CA


Project Name

Central Valley Regional Innovation Investment Fund



Seed Fund Support

Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match




The California State University Fresno Foundation and its project team will launch the Central Valley Regional Innovation Investment Fund to cultivate, train, and organize new and existing investors to inject seed capital into emerging startups developing innovative new products at the nexus of the water-energy-food sector (also known as “AgTech”) that defines the region’s economic activity. California’s Central Valley Regional (CVR) is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, but also one of the nation’s poorest, and innovation is needed in water, energy, and agricultural technologies to address water and labor shortages, energy management, low output prices, and shrinking margins. While there has been progress towards building an innovation ecosystem in the region working on addressing needs and opportunities in the AgTech sector, only a handful of investor groups are active the region and access to early-stage funding is lacking. An investment fund will directly address this missing piece of the entrepreneurial landscape in a highly underserved market. This project will support the establishment of a new fund, developing its structure, launching an introductory fund, marketing the fund, providing education and training to investors, to ultimately launch a scaled-up CVR Innovation Investment Fund. The fund will encourage more AgTech startups to locate their headquarters in the CVR and serve as a catalyst to jumpstart regional economic and job growth. During the project’s first three years, the team expects to raise a minimum of $1.2 million for investment in up to 30 early-stage companies. The team expects to reach a minimum of $5 million in early-stage seed investment by its fifth year.