First National Bank announced Tuesday that it's made a $300,000 investment in the Colorado Enterprise Fund's Early Stage Loan Pool.
The Fort Collins, Colo., bank said the cash — really a low-interest loan — will be used to support early stage companies being incubated at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere. The program already provides support to 39 startup companies that employ 200 people. First National said the loan funds, part of Innosphere's Access to Capital program, will most likely be used to fill purchase orders or build inventory.
The move is reminiscent of bigger banks' recent efforts to seed smaller companies.
In January, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria said it would invest $100 million through its newly created BBVA Ventures arm.
The division of the Spanish banking group planned to invest between $500,000 and $5 million to entrepreneurs to fund their businesses, pick their brains and potentially use the technology they create.
Citigroup's Citi Ventures has invested in Silver Tail Systems, a fraud prevention and predictive analytics startup that was sold to EMC Corp. last year.
In the meantime, First National is apparently confident that its future borrowers will make a difference in the regional economy.
"We are proud to support innovative ideas and local entrepreneurship via First National's Community Development Corporation," said Innosphere funding partner and the bank's president Mark Driscoll, in a press release. "First National Bank is committed to building strong communities and we're pleased to partner with the Colorado Enterprise Fund to provide Innosphere startup companies with access to these funds."