Unexpected Connections Explores Creative Economy, Showcases 100 Startups Campaign

LONG BEACH, Calif. – (October 11, 2023) – Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson opened the Unexpected Connections: Catalyzing the Creative Economy conference by touting the Launch Beach: 100 Startups Campaign and thanking Sunstone Management, Inc., and Imprint Venture Lab for partnering with the city for the initiative.

Unexpected Connections was put on Thursday, Oct. 5, by Intertrend Communications and its nonprofit affiliate, Creative Class Collective, with sponsorship from the Long Beach Economic Partnership and Sunstone Management, Inc., along with others. The wide-ranging event was moderated by Tim Chan of Rolling Stone Magazine. It included an illustration of how art can impact communities from Han Santana-Sayles of Meow Wolf as well as a report on economic impact of the creative economy in Long Beach by economists Seiji Steimetz and Robert Kleinhenz of California State University, Long Beach.

“Long Beach is at an important inflection point,” Mayor Richardson said to open the conference. “The Launch Beach initiative is an important part of the future, and we’re happy to partner with Sunstone Management (and others) on the effort. And Imprint Venture Lab is leading the way, managing the first $5 million to support creative startups. I visited their space recently and it is very impressive.”

The money the mayor spoke of is part of the Long Beach Venture Fund, which is a private investment fund with plans to raise up to $25 million from accredited investors to support and invest in early-stage businesses going through the Long Beach Accelerator as part of Launch Beach. As part of the last presentation of the day, Sunstone Management CEO John Keisler announced that the Long Beach Venture Fund had received its initial capital investment – 3% of the goal from Sunstone Management and Imprint Venture Lab.

“We’ve begun with Sunstone and Imprint Venture Lab as general partners,” Keisler said. “In addition to the capital (we will raise), we will be providing technical and other support.”

Long Beach’s own Alan Pullman, partner at Studio One Eleven, moderated a panel about how urban planning and design can shape the economic and social landscape of a city. Developer David Malmuth, who helped create the Hollywood and Highland complex in Hollywood and now is working on the I.D.E.A. District in San Diego, said his driving principal was creating places for togetherness.

“We’re fighting loneliness,” Malmuth said. “We’re social animals, after all.”

Economist Robert Kleinhenz, with the Long Beach State Office of Economic Research, told the group that his research showed industries in the Creative Economy in Long Beach represented $550 million in payroll in 2022 – about 5% of the total. Architecture and entertainment are the two largest sectors of the creative industry in Long Beach at 43% each. The creative industries have grown about 4.3% in the last five years, he said, but there is lots of room for growth, particularly in fashion, creative goods and entertainment/marketing.

Fashion is the industry Joresa Blount, founder of GoFlyy, cares about. That company offers quick delivery and quick returns if the clothes don’t fit. Keisler interviewed Blount as a startup entrepreneur who went through the Long Beach Accelerator, where Sunstone Management is a capital partner.

“It (the accelerator) is like a very intense business crash course,” Blount said. “The thing I liked most was the sense of community; being a sole founder is lonely. And of course there’s the capital available. Capital is necessary to be able to move the needle.”

“Well now you know you’re not alone,” Keisler responded. Then he announced that Sunstone Management has opened a Long Beach office on the eighth floor of the World Trade Center. “We’ll be here to help.”

Note: Interests in private funds such as the Long Beach Venture Fund are offered pursuant to an exemption from registration with the SEC and are therefore high-risk, illiquid investments. Those considering such investments should be able to afford losing some or all their money. For more information about the Long Beach Venture Fund, including a summary of risks, please request a Private Placement Memorandum from Sunstone Management, Inc.

This News Release 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”).

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More 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. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.

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