On February 22nd, the second StartUpOC Investor Showcase sponsored by Applied Innovation, OCTANe, and the Irvine Chamber of Commerce was held at the Cove. Attendees represented a diverse spectrum of venture capital firms, angel investors, and local ecosystem partners. Participating organizations included EvoNexus, FastStart.studio, and Launchlabs @ Chapman University. Companies that pitched included five established and eight emerging, representing $33.5 Million dollars raised in total. The program format consisted of a ten-minute pitch by each startup, followed by a Q&A afterward. Monster VR, one of the participating startups that pitched in the morning, also provided attendees a demo of their technology throughout the day.
Linda DiMario, Vice President of Economic and Development and Tourism for the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, shared the following, "I am proud of the collaboration between the university and the community. This event is a way for us to increase the profile among our local community as well as regionally and throughout the state. We are showing that Irvine and Orange County has an ecosystem for startups that is robust and not to be not quite such a secret anymore."
Bill Carpou, President, and CEO of OCTANe shared, "this is an opportunity for us to continue to expand access to capital for the companies that are starting up here in Orange County. We recognize that can be the most important thing for startups. This event is the second in the series, and I think we have improved on the last iteration. Today, more VCs are in attendance and the companies presenting are of a higher quality. We want to continue with these showcases throughout the year on a quarterly basis."
From a venture capital perspective, Akhil Saklecha, MD, MBA, Partner with Artiman Ventures, an early-stage sector agnostic venture fund with offices in Silicon Valley and Bangalore, expressed "Overall, the companies that presented were of good quality and well prepared." Other groups such as Golden Seeds, Greycoft Partners, Mark IV Capital, Bow Capital, and the Cove Fund were also present for the event.
Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.