After spending eight years and $20 million in federal grants creating portable water purification systems, Seldon Technologies last year was ready to start selling its devices to the developing world. But bank credit and venture capital were tight, and the Windsor (Vt.) company couldn’t raise the money it needed to launch production.
So co-founder Alan Cummings turned to a federal program that offers foreigners permanent U.S. residency if they invest in companies that create jobs. Cummings says he has already received “millions” and expects to secure a total of $20 million from 40 foreign investors, “if not this year, next.” He plans to hire 140 people. “It’s been a lifeline to capital as we’re trying to grow this business,” says Cummings, 63.