Incubators & Accelerators

Posted by Lauren Moone on August 9, 2017

If you have a startup in the Tri-Valley, or are thinking about launching one, these local think tanks should be on your radar.

Our region is home to three programs that we encourage young companies to take advantage of; whether they are launching off the ground or expanding into the global market.

One is hoping to establish San Ramon as "the center of the universe for artificial intelligence startups," one has been around long enough to spawn a few multi-million dollar companies and another is on a mission to foster a fintech community which will lend itself to enterprise demand. All are optimistic about the Tri-Valley startup scene.

Startups, like any other company, demand different stages of help, funding and strategic planning. Younger companies will seek guidance from an incubator that has an assortment of resources. Here, they will benefit from working in close proximity to companies in a similar stage of growth. More mature companies will seek the specialized advice available at an accelerator.

While not comprehensive or exhaustive lists, these are the typical structures of a startup incubator or accelerator.

Incubator

  1. Non-profit
  2. Less pressure to get to market
  3. Long term
  4. Many applicants/many accepted
  5. No equity stake

Accelerator

  1. For-profit
  2. Aggressive focus to beat out competition
  3. Less than 1 year
  4. Many applicants/few accepted
  5. Generally a small equity stake

Bishop Ranch Intelligence Innovation Accelerator (BRIIA)

BRIIA is a 12,000 square foot workspace is located in Bishop Ranch. It exists to accelerate the ideas and business platforms specifically around machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and language processing.

Their plan involves a 12 week program with a heavy focus on mentorship. BRIIA has a highly selective application process and is looking for companies who have a strong foundation and are confident their employees share their vision to succeed. What the companies will need from the staff will vary. Resident entrepreneurs with proven success in machine learning or AI will be on hand to guide them in areas like product-market fit or a fundraising strategy.

The team has applied for and received membership in the Global Accelerator Network, GAN, legitimizing their mission. According to the GAN website, 85% of startups who go through a GAN program are still in business today.

The space, formerly executive offices, has been designed to accommodate companies in the program. Below is a map of the accelerator. There are a variety of workspaces both private, for the resident companies, and public, for the program's staff and any outside resources that may come in.

BRIIA Space.jpg

What is BRIIA getting out of this program? The end game for the team at BRIIA is to have companies come out of the program fully equipped and ready to do business. Some of the mentors will be investors, having taken a financial stake in the company in exchange for their expertise.

Bishop Ranch stands to benefit thanks to the location of this accelerator. It is in the 2600 building, right at the center of the park, and surrounding it are hundreds of thousands of square feet of available office space. The idea being, once the employees become acquainted with the plush amenities of the park, they will see no reason to leave.

The Switch

Take a stroll down second street in downtown Livermore and you'll find The Switch, a startup incubator operated by non-profit i-GATE,

If your hope is to be connected with folks at LLNL or Sandia, then this is the place to be. The people you'll meet here are well connected in the Tri-Valley community and have strong relationships with the labs. 

As mentioned in our annual research report earlier this year, alumni from The Switch have collectively raised over $50 million in capital and employ over 100 people across the region.

Check the space out and you might spot their Robot Garden community which, according to their Meetup page, is a family friendly Makerspace including "metal and wood working, electronics, sewing machines and sergers, 3-D printers, CNC mills and a laser cutter."

If you need a space to collaborate or are interested in the Robot Garden you can purchase a membership here.

i-GATE also runs the NextTech Speaker Series which connects investors, entrepreneurs and anyone interested really, with local leaders in the life sciences space. Past speakers include Tim Harkness, CEO of Pleasanton company Unchained Labs, Dave Selinger of Tri-Valley Ventures and Dr. Hemai Parthasarathy, Scientific Director at Breakout Labs.

The 16,000 sq. ft. facility is located at 1911 Second St. in Livermore

iValley

The goal of iValley, as an incubator, is to provide mentorship and access to capital for fintech startups in the Tri-Valley and beyond. Like BRIIA, it is located in the 585 acre Bishop Ranch office park.

Founder of iValley and Tri-Valley resident, Paddy Ramanathan, realized the inevitable north-east path of the tech boom years ago as evidenced by this article he wrote in 2015.

If you have a fintech startup and don't know about iValley, we recommend you get in touch to take advantage of their deep network and suite of mentors. iValley is the only fintech focused incubator we are aware of in the region.

On September 26th, iValley will be hosting its annual fintechTalk conference at Bishop Ranch. This is regarded as the premier fintech event in the Bay Area. The 2016 conference drew a crowd of over 300 people to San Ramon.


These organizations have long been optimistic about the progress of the Tri-Valley. We hope you are able to take advantage of their resources!

 

Topics: Company Profiles, Startups, Tri-Valley Research, venture capital

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