Welcome back to The Sunstone Way.
It seems like just yesterday when we were celebrating the Lunar New Year and preparing for the Year of the Rabbit. Yet tomorrow, Friday, is June 30, and half the year is gone.
It has been a very auspicious two quarters for Sunstone Management Inc. The biggest news of the year (so far!) has been the growth of our community—beginning with our own team—which has more than doubled in team members from the end of 2022, and the opening of our new headquarters on the 5th Floor of Airport Towers in Irvine. We now have more than 26 team members including full-time staff, management fellows, interns, and contractors working at the new Sunstone headquarters which includes the Sunstone Stage. If you haven’t visited us recently you have to stop by for some good coffee, good music, and great conversation.
To support our mission of economic development through creative partnerships, we have also launched several new companies this year. The first major news came in mid-January when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the registration of Sunstone Advisors, our new federally Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Sunstone Advisors is led by our Chief Investment Officer Mike Stone, and will be responsible for oversight and care for our investment funds. It took several months of hard work to reach this milestone but this new entity will allow us to offer more and creative solutions to our founders, funders, and friends.
Equally important was the launch of Sunstone Development in April to help guide our economic development activities in the real estate sector. Led by our Economic Development Director Eric Romero, Sunstone Development has been actively engaged in creative joint ventures to build real estate projects and create jobs for rural communities. Sunstone Development is already actively engaged in several large projects that suggest it will be an exciting year of development in 2024.
In the first half of 2023, we entered into not one, not two, but three five-year partnerships that will help support early-stage entrepreneurs.
First, we extended a memorandum of understanding with one of our first partners, the Long Beach Accelerator (we were one of the three LBA founding partners, along with Cal State Long Beach and the city of Long Beach). We’re committed to supporting cohort members through 2028.
Next, we signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Sunstone CSU Startup Challenge for the next five years. The Sunstone Community Fund will provide the prize money to university charitable foundations hosting an annual system-wide pitch competition where teams from all 23 California State University campuses showcase their startup business concepts. At $200,000 a year in prize money, that’s a $1 million commitment.
Then we extended our partnership with Lair East Labs, a highly regarded accelerator in New York City, in an arrangement very similar to the LBA partnership. We will be supporting startup businesses going through their program.
Working With Government
A unique coalition was formed in January to support an initiative Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson is calling Launch Beach – an economic development plan to bring 100 new diverse startups to that city in the next five years. We (Sunstone Management and Sunstone Community Fund) are joining with the Long Beach Economic Development Department, the CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Long Beach Accelerator, the Long Beach Economic Partnership, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion and Imprint Venture Lab to execute this plan. The Community Fund will provide grants to the nonprofit partners – the Accelerator, Economic Partnership and Center for Economic Inclusion — to help them help the business development being created.
We thought as we entered 2023 that this would be a very exciting, even pivotal, year for Sunstone. The first half of the year far exceeded those expectations. I cannot wait to see what the rest of 2023 will bring.
We’re excited to move forward. That’s the Sunstone Way.
CEO & Managing Partner
Sunstone Management Inc.
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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.