LONG BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Long Beach Accelerator (LBA) welcomed its first cohort of startups on February 15th. The LBA is a partnership between Sunstone Management, the City of Long Beach’s Economic Development Department and California State University Long Beach’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CSLUB IIE). The inaugural cohort members represent a strong group of diverse founders, industries, geographies and verticals, including 3 companies based in Long Beach.
The promising class of entrepreneurs was carefully selected to kick off the Long Beach Accelerator’s program, where experts will assist in preparing the cohort’s early-stage tech startups to scale their businesses and secure funding from the LBA Sunstone Fund and others, as well as providing many other valuable resources. Over the 3.5 month program, this first cohort will embark on a hands-on, workshop-based curriculum, guided not only by experts in business, engineering and technology, but by dedicated mentors from each startup’s specific industry sector.
Beyond the opportunity to pitch regularly to an exclusive group of investors and industry partners, cohort members will also have the chance for intimate discussions with leading tech startup ecosystem players through the LBA’s Lunch with Leaders speaker series.
“We are thrilled to welcome the LBA’s inaugural cohort, which features groundbreaking companies that have already made an impact on their respective industries,” said Andrea White-Kjoss, LBA’s Executive Director. “We look forward to helping them accelerate their businesses and grow Southern California’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
LBA has also welcomed a new Board Chair and several new members to its Board of Directors. Wade Martin, a professor of economics at California State University Long Beach and Director of CSLUB IIE has been named as Chair, where he will draw on his experience in managing CSULB’s incubator program, as well as risk analysis in business and public policy.
Other recent additions to the Board include Chris Halliwell, the Executive Director of Technology Marketing Center, where she provides competitive strategy, go-to market execution guidance and qualitative market research services to technology-based companies. Secondly, Santhosh Devati, Founder of Anamika Ventures, a company that invests in female-founded early-stage companies, has served as a mentor to over 300 business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. Thirdly, Sue Malone, President and Founder of Strategies for Small Business, has funded businesses throughout the country in many industries, with the goal of funding 100,000 small businesses. Lastly, Vivian Shimoyama heads two ventures, Growth Small Business and Scale Smarter Partners, LLC, both demonstrations of her expertise in small businesses and small business advocacy as a whole.
“I am pleased to step into the role of Chair of the Board at such an exciting time for the Long Beach Accelerator,” said Wade Martin. “Welcoming our new cohort, coupled with the expansion of our Board of Directors to include such an impressive range of experienced voices, prepares us for an exciting year ahead.”
About the Long Beach Accelerator
The Long Beach Accelerator is not your typical accelerator. It was established with the entrepreneur in mind with full support from the city, private investors, and CSULB. Program participants have access to capital to support them through acceleration and expansion. Cohort members have real government access to help navigate through the regulatory maze and provide resources and guidance at every level. They also have access to key university and industry partners and some of the largest markets in the world. The LBA is focused on providing exceptional vision and value to this ecosystem, and in seeking out and supporting companies founded by diverse entrepreneurs.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management, with subsidiary Sunstone Venture Capital Fund, is a diversified private capital management and investment firm offering comprehensive wealth management solutions to high net worth clients worldwide, in particular U.S. new-immigrant families. Focusing on investments in U.S. based small businesses and lower middle markets, its offerings are carefully structured to meet targeted investor goals ranging from short term senior debt products to longer term, equity, growth capital, and venture capital investment strategies.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more.
About CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The mission of the CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IIE) is to provide programming and guidance for innovators and entrepreneurs that leads to success. The IIE is a central hub for innovators and entrepreneurs in Long Beach, with programming and services to support long-term economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable for our diverse community.