University-Related Startups See Shifting Landscape for Capital

A field test of an insect lidar. Under a $225,000 Phase 1 STTR, Integrative Economics of Portland, Ore., partnered with MSU’s Spectrum Lab to develop a lidar system that detects and measures insect populations flying in orchards, vineyards, and other agricultural settings. Courtesy of Joe Shaw/Montana State University.

COVID-19 has changed the way venture capital firms approach university-based photonics startups in the U.S., but government-funded programs remain stable.


Lately, Les Craig, a partner with Next Frontier Capital, has been feeling as though his business is on another world. His venture capital fund is based in Bozeman, Mont., which is renowned for having one of the highest densities of optical companies in the country due to the presence of the Spectrum Lab and Optical Technology Center (OpTeC) at Montana State University (MSU).



Sign up for the Newsletter Today!

Be a part of the Montana Photonics & Quantum Alliance Community!


The professional association for Montana's optics and photonics businesses and researchers.

Scroll to Top