The SoCal Venture Pipeline is connecting high-potential startups to venture capital in an effort to bridge a key funding gap for Southern Californian entrepreneurs. This will, as a result, enable growth for companies and for the region. The program is a partnership between The Alliance for Southern California Innovation (Alliance) and Silicon Valley Bank. It chiefly vets companies that have demonstrated clear market traction. It also provides targeted introductions to venture funds from a vast national network. Above all, the goal is to help high-potential start-ups take the next step in their growth trajectory. Additional program support provided by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and KPPB, LP.
“Increasing access to venture capital was Boston Consulting Group‘s #1 recommendation to enable SoCal to become a top tech ecosystem,” said Andy Wilson, Executive Director of the Alliance, referring to a strategic assessment conducted by the management consulting firm in 2019. “With the proliferation of seed-stage funds in SoCal, access to Series A capital has become a limiting factor. The SoCal Venture Pipeline hits the bull’s eye in addressing this challenge; we provide great entrepreneurs with enhanced access to capital while the SoCal VC community continues to develop,” added Wilson. “Entrepreneurship is everywhere, but funding is not, and we aim to bridge the gap.”
Recognizing and bridging the funding gap
SoCal founders continue to struggle to raise growth capital despite a wealth of talent and potential. This is especially the case for entrepreneurs who are people of color, women or from other underrepresented groups. But diversity is the SoCal region’s greatest strength; in order to realize the true impact of this superpower, it is vital to extend capital access to all entrepreneurs. Without access to enough capital to grow and scale to their fullest potential, early-stage founders often must take sub-optimal paths. This negatively impacts the entire region. Through SoCal Venture Pipeline, more startups in Southern California will be able to break through the Series-A funding barrier. They will then create economic opportunities for their communities, including more high-paying jobs and talent attraction and retention.
“As the leading financial services partner for venture-backed startups, Silicon Valley Bank wants to help more entrepreneurs access capital, and Series A dollars serve as foundational capital for startups to build upon,” said L.A.-based Rob Freelen, Head of VC Relationships for SVB. “The SoCal Venture Pipeline program is designed to do just that – strengthen the region’s innovation ecosystem by attracting more early stage investments.”
Empowering overlooked SoCal entrepreneurs
The SoCal Venture Pipeline builds on the successful model established by Mike Krenn of Connect. Since 2015, Krenn’s efforts have helped San Diego area founders raise $650M in Series A funding. Krenn is a key partner in the SoCal Venture Pipeline. As a partner, it enables the Alliance to extend the model to founders in Santa Barbara, Ventura, L.A., Orange and Riverside counties.
To hear from program leaders and past participants about how SoCal Venture Pipeline significantly accelerated their fundraising efforts, join the virtual launch event on Tuesday, June 22nd from 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST.
To learn more about the program visit the SoCal Venture Pipeline website.
About The Alliance for Southern California Innovation
The Alliance for Southern California Innovation (the “Alliance”) is a not for profit formed in 2017 that has successfully brought together the heft of Southern California’s top research institutions, local business leaders and world-class advisors to focus on bridging critical gaps in the SoCal innovation ecosystem. The goal of the Alliance is to engage and unify SoCal’s compelling diversity of talent, ideas and perspectives in order to optimize the conditions for the region’s innovators to bring breakthroughs to the world. Learn more at AllianceSoCal.org
About Silicon Valley Bank
For nearly 40 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. It has offices in Santa Monica, Irvine and San Diego. With commercial, international and private banking services, SVB helps address the unique needs of innovators. Learn more at svb.com.
Read about a recent report from DocSend about the startup funding divide.