From The CEO’s Desk: Looking Back at 2023 with Gratitude, Looking Forward with Confidence in 2024

Here at Sunstone Management, we are anxious to get on with 2024 and all the wonderful things it has in store. But we wouldn’t be here, poised for success, without a lot of hard work in December. 

Let’s look back for a moment. 

Building Trust & Confidence 

After months of hard work and study, several of our staff members became Registered Representatives through our broker/dealer collaboration with Carofin.  As part of this process, senior members of our team including Nathan Jia, Lloyd Wei and Jing Sun passed their Series 7—General Securities Representative Exam—which is administered by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.  FINRA is a self-regulatory organization authorized by Congress to regulate brokerage firms and exchange markets, in essence to oversee U.S. broker-dealers, to protect investors and ensure the market’s integrity.  I am incredibly proud that our team can offer Sunstone investors the confidence that compliance with FINRA rules is being sought in all aspects of our activities and operations. Some of these rules require that: 

  • every investor receives the basic protections they deserve; 
  • anyone who sells a securities product is FINRA licensed
  • every securities product advertisement used is truthful, and not misleading; 
  • an investor is appropriately suitable, qualified and/or accredited before purchase and 
  • investors receive complete disclosure about the investment product before purchase. 

Celebrating Holidays & Giving Thanks 

In the Sunstone Way tradition of giving thanks and building community, December was also a time for celebration.  With help from our friends at American Lending Center, we were able to take dozens of our partners and clients out on the water to enjoy the Newport Harbor Christmas lights from the decks of the Sunstone boats (see photos).  These memorable boat trips were hosted by members of the Sunstone staff and involved five straight nights of Christmas cheer, food, and good conversation while enjoying one of the most unique and exclusive harbors in the world.   Thank you to everyone who joined us.  We look forward to more celebrations ahead with Chinese New Year right around the corner! 

Speaking of shaking hands, our Sunstone Community Fund team led by Jayro Sandoval conducted a major push for new donors in December. That included the first-ever boat trip for potential new partners. 

Strengthening Our Team 

It was a Red-Letter Day for Sunstone in December when I was able to introduce our newest Partner and Chief Strategy Officer Richard Jun. Rich will be charged with Corporate Strategy as well as managing our Venture Capital Program, and is already making an immediate impact on strengthening Sunstone for the benefit of our investors. Rich was the co-founder and managing partner of BAM Ventures, a top performing consumer focused early-stage venture fund based in Los Angeles. For the past four years, he has been on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of the 500 most influential leaders and impactful executives in Los Angeles. 

Rich’s name is synonymous with quality in the venture capital world and bringing him on board elevates both Sunstone’s profile and its capabilities. 

Another strong addition to the team, Heather Lewis, signed on in late December. She will start this month as our first-ever in-house Chief Compliance Officer, helping to strengthen our training and compliance programs and expand the products and services that we can provide our investors. 

We’ve also tapped two talented young professionals, Cindy Lin and Justin Pham, as the next participants in our six-month fellowship program to develop young leaders. Cindy will work in the Marketing SBU while Justin joins the Accounting Department. 

Shaping the Future through Innovation 

December was also a time for introducing new models of investment through partnership with local government for public benefit. Eric Romero, our Director of Economic Development, has been working hard on multiple projects, including laying the groundwork for a new tech accelerator here in Irvine. He also has crafted a new service for municipalities, and finalized our first consulting contract with the city of Anaheim last month to help with business investment and economic development there. 

Also in December, we were able to announce that our New York City partner Lair East Labs has become a certified accelerator in New Jersey, opening the door for diverse government funding and support opportunities there. We are part of that program as LEL’s primary capital partner. 

As part of our efforts to support and spotlight young entrepreneurs, a new profile series called The Next Step was launched. These stories catch up with students whose startups have won or placed in pitch contests sponsored by Sunstone. Those cash prizes often help take their ideas to the next step in becoming a viable business. 

Looking Forward with Confidence 

After lots of preparation in 2023, we are confident and ready to reach ambitious goals for ourselves for 2024 – beginning with a challenging 10% monthly growth target across each of our strategic business units (SBUs). To help accomplish this, we will be using a strategy tool called Objectives & Key Results (OKRs). The approach comes from legendary investor John Doerr and has been used by such diverse entities as Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation. 

I’m truly excited about what 2024 holds for Sunstone Management, and hope that you are excited about what we can accomplish together this year too. It’s going to be fun! 

And as always, remember to be a Sunstone! 

©Sunstone Management, Inc. 2024


About Sunstone Management  

Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors.  The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its 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.

Connect with Sunstone Management at: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Crunchbase | Pitchbook 

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