Long Beach Accelerator Celebrates With Its First Summit, Plus Awards

Welcome back to The Sunstone Way.

One of the ways you can tell when an organization has “made it” is when they start organizing summits and handing out awards.

The Long Beach Accelerator actually “made it” a while back. The nonprofit accelerator already has shepherded about 40 startups in six cohorts through a four-month program of business planning, marketing approaches and more. Those startups have raised more than $25 million in investment, and seven of them have had acquisition offers.

Time To Celebrate

Next month, the LBA will host the First Annual Investors & Founders Summit on the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach. It will be an exciting half day, with an educational forum for founders and investors and a luncheon where three important awards will be handed out.

Let me talk about the awards first. LBA Board Chair Vivian Shimoyama said three awards are planned – Investor of the Year, Visionary of the Year, and Trailblazer of the Year.

My friend and partner, John Shen, will be honored as the investor of the year. That’s so fitting. In many ways, John was the impetus for starting the Long Beach Accelerator in the first place.

John came to me back in 2018 with the proposal to create a nonprofit tech accelerator in partnership with the city (I was the economic development director back then), Cal State Long Beach’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Sunstone Management. Sunstone has been the primary capital partner of the LBA since its beginning.

Government Connection

It also is very fitting that Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson is the recipient of the first Visionary of the Year Award. Mayor Richardson was the architect of the Grow Long Beach economic development plan that includes the Launch Beach: 100 Startups campaign.

Mayor Richardson’s vision is to wean Long Beach off oil revenue by focusing on development of five other sectors of the economy. Part of that drive is the effort to bring in 100 new small businesses in the next five years through a coalition that includes the LBA, Sunstone Management, Cal State Long Beach and others.

Mayor Richardson already has appeared at multiple events touting the plan. We are working hard to find the capital for Launch Beach with the Long Beach Venture Fund, expected to raise $25 million.

Supporting The Underserved

Presenting Amy Millman with the Trailblazer of the Year Award is both an acknowledgement of Millman’s life of advocating for female founders and a nod to the LBA’s emphasis on lifting up entrepreneurs from underserved segments of the population.

Millman founded Springboard Enterprises in 2000 to accelerate the growth of companies led by women through access to essential resources and a global community of experts. If that sounds familiar, it should – that’s part and parcel of LBA’s mission, with more than half of the companies’ CEOs women or minorities.*

A passionate advocate for women entrepreneurs, Millman remains active today as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the George Washington University School of Business while serving as managing partner at StageNext LLC. She is indeed a trailblazer extraordinaire.

And There’s Learning

Any entrepreneurial event worth its salt offers insights and inspiration to founders looking to start new businesses, and the First Annual Long Beach Accelerator Investors & Founders Summit is more than worth its salt. The event starts at 9 a.m. and will include a panel discussion with some heavy hitters holding microphones.

Julia Huang, founder of Intertrend (and a good friend), will talk about creativity’s role in the entrepreneurial journey. Qiana Patterson, who’s firm Nayah is dedicated to fostering technology-driven solutions to our world’s biggest problems, will share her experiences in the venture capital ecosystem. And angel investor Santhosh Devati has experience to share in all phases of the entrepreneurial journey.

See You There

In other words, this is going to be an important day for the Long Beach Accelerator and the many Founders the LBA has helped since the first cohort in 2020. Full disclosure, Sunstone is a sponsor of the event. We’d sure like to see others join us, both as sponsors and as attendees.

All you have to do is email Vivian Shimoyama at vshimoyama@gmail.com.

I’ll be there, along with a number of Sunstones. I hope you join us.

That’s The Sunstone Way.

And as always, be a Sunstone!

John Keisler

CEO & Managing Partner

Sunstone Management, Inc.

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Note: This blog post is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities. Such offers are made solely pursuant to formal offering and subscription documentation in an investment fund (“Fund”).

More About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.

© Sunstone Management Inc., 2023

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