NEW YORK (May 18, 2023) – A ceremony Wednesday, May 17, at the Lair East Labs headquarters in Midtown Manhattan cemented the bi-coastal alliance between the accelerator and Sunstone Management, the early-stage venture capital firm based in Irvine, Calif.
LEL, recognized as one of the Top 100 Accelerators Worldwide by Crunchbase in 2019, focuses on startup founders expanding into the international market. The LEL accelerator empowers founders to scale business in the U.S. and connect them with Asian market opportunities.
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital firm located in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who demonstrate the promise to build great companies. Sunstone emphasizes support for founders as the basis for its investment philosophy.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed Wednesday by Sunstone CEO and managing partner John Keisler and LEL managing partner Michelle Wang is an extension and expansion of a deal first signed last year. It provides support from Sunstone for startups joining cohorts of the LEL accelerator.
“Cultivating a global ecosystem for founders is at the heart of our mission at Lair East Labs,” Michelle Wang said. “Our extended partnership with Sunstone Management unlocks a treasure trove of international resources, bridging the gap between the East and West coasts. Together, we empower entrepreneurs, especially underserved startup founders, with unparalleled access to a diverse network of mentors, investors, and public resources.”
Jie Li, LEL’s director, added, “This collaboration enables founders to tap into the vibrant startup communities of both the U.S. and Asian markets, opening doors to new opportunities, invaluable cross-cultural insights, and accelerated growth on a global scale.”
Over the next five years, it is expected that up to 100 early-stage companies will go through the accelerator, receiving technical assistance with business plans, marketing, scaling and more. LEL and Sunstone also will help connect the startups with other sources of capital.
Lair East Labs has extensive connections in the East Coast and the Asian markets, making the timing of the agreement during Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Month particularly appropriate, John Keisler said.
“Lair East Labs offers a global approach to entrepreneurship in both the founders they attract and the connection to markets they provide,” he said. “Their philosophy and approach fit very well with what we are doing here at Sunstone.”
© Sunstone Management Inc.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm located 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.
About Sunstone Community Fund
The Sunstone Community Fund is a Donor Advised Fund managed by the National Philanthropic Trust. It is an important component of Sunstone Management’s vision to advance public-benefit programs that support the development of inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. The SCF supports a network of universities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that develop and implement university-based entrepreneurship programs, early-stage tech accelerators, and advance local economic development through inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation.