NEWS: Venture Matching Program Expands into OC

A venture matching program is expanding into Orange County.

The SoCal Venture Pipeline started in LA County, and then expanded to Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. Now, it’s seeking to identify under-invested founders across OC as well. See article on the pipeline’s launch here.

One OC company has already been accepted and has been introduced to a VC investor. The Alliance for SoCal Innovation, the creator of the pipeline, declined to disclose which company.

Need for the Pipeline
SoCal has had a proliferation of early-stage seed funds, but the alliance has continued to see founders, especially first- time founders, struggle to access critical Series A growth capital.

To enable SoCal to become a global-leading innovation ecosystem, Boston Consulting Group recommended increasing access to VC as the No. 1 priority, as part of its recent strategic assessment.

The SoCal Venture Pipeline bridges a key funding gap for SoCal entrepreneurs by connecting high-potential startups to relevant VC firms, enabling growth for startups and for the region.

Partnership and Support
The program is a partnership between the Alliance for Southern California Innovation and Silicon Valley Bank, a leading bank for startups.

The alliance has another partner – Connect, a nonprofit that operates a similar program in San Diego. There, Connect has been able to get $650 million of funding into the hands of startup founders since 2015.

Connect recruits and selects top SoCal-based startups that have demonstrated clear market traction and provides “white glove” introductions to leading venture funds from a vast national network of over 400 investors.

Additional support provided by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and KPPB allows the alliance to deliver its program without any fees or equity participation.

Who does it serve and where?
SoCal founders continue to struggle to raise mid/later stage capital despite a wealth of talent and potential — this is especially the case for entrepreneurs who are people of color, women, from other underrepresented groups or founders who live outside the dominant innovation hubs where investors are based or tend to visit.

With this program, the alliance provides founders with targeted VC introductions that they might not access otherwise.
What type of metrics are typical for a startup to be accepted?

Basic indicators that may suggest a business is Series A-ready to apply are:
• Raised at least $500,000 of angel/seed investment funds
• Dedicated team of at least three people
• Product already in the market
• Demonstrated market traction (revenue or users)
• Gearing up to raise first round of larger institutional funding within the next six to 12 months

If you meet this criteria, apply here.

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