Major League Baseball is back in full swing – one of my favorite times of the year. I particularly enjoy watching the rookie stars who have worked their way up through the farm system of minor league teams affiliated with the franchises in the Majors. It’s also a good time to talk about how we help cultivate and train talented entrepreneurs, preparing them and their startup companies for the Major Leagues of the business world.
It is no secret that the availability of venture capital and investment capital in general has decreased, caused primarily by rising interest rates and unease about banks after the collapse of Silicon Valley and Signature banks. But the need for operating capital hasn’t gone away. So where do founders of startups turn? One option: the U.S. Small Business Administration.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. That’s an African proverb often used to exhort people to work as a team. It is also a big part of the Sunstone Way.
We here at Sunstone Management know something that no one else seems to know – or at least they aren’t talking about it. It’s pretty simple, really. And once I tell you, it will seem obvious. Ready?
It was an honor and pleasure to be a sponsor and host at last week’s Irvine Tech Week. It comes as no surprise that conversation topic number one was the fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. I had the opportunity to address Sunstone’s immediate response to the situation several times over the five-day event. That response is simple, really. It follows our philosophy of investment, entrepreneurship, and community.
The big day has arrived – Irvine Tech Week starts today, and Sunstone will be front and center. Before we host the first public event, I’ll be speaking to a group of our partners who will hear about the state of Sunstone and our exciting plans for 2023. Then we’ll welcome about 150 members of the startup community to hear from a panel of four great founders talking about their past experiences and future plans as the start-up environment evolves, especially in the wake of SVB’s collapse.
Lots to talk about today as we get ready for Irvine Tech Week. We are one of the major sponsors, and activities start here next Wednesday, March 22. Much of the discussion next week will undoubtedly revolve around the impact of the closure of Silicon Valley Bank. Ironically, that closure emphasizes the ongoing efforts to make Irvine a new center of technology and innovation – a large reason why Sunstone Management moved its headquarters to Irvine more than a year ago.
Welcome to The Sunstone Way, a new blog from John Keisler, the CEO at Sunstone Management. Come back here every week as we explore how Sunstone is helping enrich companies, communities and lives through investment. It’s our goal with this blog to explain how we are working here at Sunstone to enrich the world by helping startup founders turn a dream into a viable business, create valuable and interesting jobs, and improve the community by providing a needed service or product.
Yesterday, while sitting on stage at TiEcon Southwest, I was asked to answer the most difficult question facing all early-stage venture capital investors: “What information do you use to identify great startups?” This is such a difficult question to answer because there is so little information available to forecast the potential for future success. At Sunstone Management, we believe in creating partnerships to identify, engage, and support the growth of early-stage Founders. Here are five strategies that we use to identify great startups.
Almost every city in America—large and small, rural and urban, coastal and inland—is looking for new and creative ways to attract and grow new small businesses in their communities. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and provide several critical resources to the health of a city including job creation, revenues to pay for city services, and creating a high quality of life through quality goods and services. But small businesses need support to survive and thrive; and, most cities are failing to provide the key support services that are needed to grow their local small business economy.
We often hear that “government should run more like a business”. Typically, this statement is meant to imply that the private sector is more innovative, creative, and efficient—that the American economy would grow more if only government would get out of the way. This is a common assumption in American business culture that limits economic growth and shows a lack of understanding about how the public sector supports economic growth through economic development. Real economic growth requires a partnership between government and business.
Sunstone Management Expands its Investment in University Partnerships: How Universities are the Foundation of the Startup Economy
Sunstone Management announced the launch of our most recent investment in early-stage entrepreneurs with Sunstone University, a monthly education series that brings university-based startup Founders together to share resources and support one another. Sunstone has emerged as a Statewide leader among early-stage venture capital firms in supporting university-based entrepreneurship.
Sunstone Management Expands Accelerator Partnerships Nationwide: How Does a National Startup Network Benefit the American Dream?
This week, Sunstone Management announced its exciting nationwide expansion into New York City through a new partnership with early-stage startup accelerator Lair East Labs (LEL), one of the Top 100 Accelerators Worldwide. This is a big investment for two organizations located on separate sides of the continent over 2,780 miles apart. How can this big investment result in benefits to Founders of early-stage technology startups located in such different regions of the country?
Earlier this month, Sunstone Management distributed approximately $1 million in Simple Agreements for Equity (SAFE) to 10 early-stage technology startups with the hope that these diverse entrepreneurs would become partners in the creative, complex, and challenging journey of risking it all to realize their entrepreneurial dream.