Trish Halamandaris: L.A. is the fastest growing venture capital market, and the accelerator ties us to the L.A. business community. Among our goals is creating strategic partnerships. One example is our upcoming AR/VR conference with TechCrunch, which provides relevancy and connects the academic community to real-world technology advancements.
We also have our showcase event on November 7. The accelerator hosts two six-month cohorts (of student entrepreneurs) each year; their efforts culminate with pitches at the showcase. What’s great is that the Anderson Venture Accelerator is industry-agnostic, allowing us to present the diversity of thought and students here, as well as the strength of the concepts that they develop as a result of that diversity.
UCLA has a strong history of health care innovation, which is continuing in the accelerator. About 35 percent of the companies in the past two cohorts have been health care-related, so that UCLA tradition continues. We also have several consumer products companies, continuing the UCLA Anderson tradition of companies and founders such as The Bouqs, an online florist founded by John Tabis (’06), Sugarfina (a gourmet candy retailer co-founded by Rosie O’Neill (B.A. ’00, ’05) and DogVacay (a pet sitting venture founded by Aaron Hirschorn (’12). We also have teams launching startups using applications of blockchain, machine learning and AI. We’ve facilitated discussions of these disruptive new technologies between students and local venture capitalists, giving us a platform to personalize our relationship to the venture capital market.
Venture capital markets differ. Silicon Valley has a lot of enabling technology for e-commerce and B2C plays. Los Angeles (and Anderson students) have a tradition of producing successful, consumer-facing tech startups. These firms often use the enabling technology that Bay Area startups have created, while developing new types of products, services and content for consumers.