Funding Your Startup Without a VC or Angel Investor

November 19, 2019

Speaker Slides

Funding Your Startup Without a VC or Angel Investor

John Toomey, CEO of Celeriss, Inc.

How to Get ‘Free’ Money for Your Startup

Stacy Swider, Director, SBIR Center of Excellence at UMass Lowell Research Institute

Funding Your Company in Massachusetts

Nancy Briefs, Co-Founder & CEO of AltrixBio; Life Science Executive, Serial Entrepreneur – 7 Start-Ups, Independent Bod Member

Are you trying to launch or grow a startup business?

Do you need money but just can’t find it?

Not ready for angels or VC investors? Or already turned down?

Need to build your company and need money to do it – but how to do that?

This panel will address these questions and help you understand:

  • How to build your company from nothing to something.
  • How to do it without VC or angel money.
  • How to get non-investor first funding and further cash equivalents

This panel will focus on getting initial money from non-traditional sources when VCs and angels will not help, and friends and family are tapped out. The panelists will speak from experience to show you how they have used SBIRs and governmental grants, strategic partnering and customer-funded development.

Investors want to see something before they invest. Yet it takes money to make your company into something to interest investors. It is a catch-22. This panel offers techniques to show you how to break out of that conundrum – to take your company from nothing to something, and to do so without VC or angel funding.


6:00-7:00 PM – Registration & Networking

7:00-7:10 PM – ENET Chairman’s Announcements

7:10-7:25 PM – eMinute PITCH – up to 3 startups give a 90-second elevator pitch

7:25-8:15 PM – Expert speakers on the night’s topic

8:15-8:30 PM – Audience / Speakers Q & A

8:30-9:00 PM – Final networking, including meeting speakers

A question and answer session follow the presentation, and panelists will be available afterward for responses to individual questions.  As with every ENET meeting, you will also get the chance to network with the panelists and other meeting attendees, both before the start of the meeting and afterward.


Nancy Briefs,  Co-Founder & CEO of AltrixBio   Life Science Executive,  Serial Entrepreneur – 7 Start-Ups,  Independent Bod Member.  She is a  strategic business leader with extensive experience creating value, driving strategy and launching product commercialization in diverse life science companies. Deep general management and fundraising expertise having raised over $500 M in equity including IPO. Innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial, strong communicator and tenacious.  Trusted advisor and mentor to founders and boards. Energized by turning innovation into commercial reality, working with creative scientists, and communicating value to partners and investors.  Extensive regulatory experience with FDA and notified bodies. Ms. Briefs is an inventor on 7 issued US Patents. In addition to serving on numerous corporate boards, she is affiliated with TMA Accelerator Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH), MassBio Advisory Board, The Connors Center for Women’s Health Advisory Board, BWH, Reviewer for the MLSC’s Milestone Achievement Program, Coach, MLCS’s MassNextGen Initiative, EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Stacy Swider, Director, SBIR Center of Excellence at UMass Lowell Research Institute

The UMass Small Business Innovation Research Center of Excellence offers coaching and other support for small companies as they prepare SBIR/STTR proposals and execute their programs. We can connect Teams to potential research partners in the UMass system, as well as corporate partners such as Primes and investors. Also presently offering a 50/50 matching grant to SBIR companies doing at least 10% DoD business. Stacy has over 25 years experience in startups and broader industry. She successfully commercialized a novel gamma sensor through the SBIR process – – from initial proposal to pilot production.

John Toomey, CEO of Celeriss, Inc, an innovative broadband solution company and a Senior Executive at Edge Velocity Corporation, a leader in secure intelligent networks both on a fractional basis.   John is a Business Advisor, Executive Coach and C-Level Fractional Executive.  Previously,  he was CEO of Visible Inventory, Inc a startup company using sensor based technology to manage and control inventory. In a turnaround situation the company raised the funding and reengineered the products for the targeted markets. Visible Inventory was sold to its largest customer and now has a large installed base of it products. John was also one of three founding shareholders of White Mountain DSP, Inc. a technology startup taken to a mature company and subsequently being acquired by Analog Devices, Inc. John has held senior management positions at Warren Power Systems, Inc, GCA Corporation and Baird Corporation, all technology based companies.  John holds a BSBA majoring in Accounting from University of Massachusetts and an MBA concentrating in Management and International Business from Southern New Hampshire University.


Twitter:  @JohnToomey52




Robert Adelson, business and tax attorney, partner @ Engel & Schultz LLP (Boston) and Chair Emeritus @ Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET).  

Rob has been an attorney for over 30 years specialized in business, tax, stock and options, employment, contracts, financing, trademarks and intellectual property.  Rob began as an associate at major New York City law firms before returning home to Boston in 1985 where he has since been a partner in small and medium sized firms before joining his present firm in 2004.  Rob represents entrepreneurs, start-ups and small companies, independent contractors and employees and executives. Rob is a frequent speaker on business law topics and author of numerous articles published in Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech and other publications. He has been named among the “Top 20 Boston Startup Lawyers” by, a website that provides tools for entrepreneurs. Rob has been on the ENET Board since 2002, was Vice Chair 2005-2009, and ENET Chairman 2009-2019.  He was also a Co-Founder and Board member of the 128 Innovation Capital Group (2004 -2015). In 2016, he received the IEEE USA Professional Achievement award for “extreme dedication to the entrepreneurship community.” He holds degrees from Boston University, B.A., summa cum laude, Northwestern University (Chicago), J.D., Law Review, and New York University, LL.M. in Taxation. His website –


Dan Skiba, President & CEO GOT Interface, Vice-Chair Boston ENET

As a Product Development Company Executive, I provide strategic leadership in product innovation and managing global teams, delivering award-winning products to the international market.  My ability to problem solve, direct the entire product development lifecycle and gain commitment to a common goal have driven faster release of products and market penetration.  By building synergies across all Product Life Cycle disciplines, We have delivered products that result in 100% product utilization and seamless integration into customer environments. My skills in optimizing international resources have significantly reduced costs and streamlined production, delivering product excellence.

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