*NEWS: OCTANe Launches Its First Capital Campaign. Seeking $3.3 Million

Bill Carpou, CEO, OCTANe

OCTANe, the life sciences and tech accelerator in Aliso Viejo, has been very busy lately in a concerted effort to enhance the OC startup/innovation ecosystem and unify it with LA and SD’s ecosystems.

One of its oft-stated goals is to create 55,000 jobs in the region by 2030.

To that end, OCTANe announced its first ever capital campaign Thursday night at its High Tech Innovation Awards at the Balboa Bay Resort. It’s looking to raise $3.3 million, CEO Bill Carpou said.

The funds would cover OCTANe’s operating and infrastructure costs over the next three years, including hiring for a critical need: a full time investor relations manager.

This manager would create a private investor network throughout SoCal that would work to fill the funding gap between angel and institutional funding, Carpou said. It would be comprised of individuals capable of investing amounts of $1 million or more.

Mention of a funding gap echoes similar refrains from other key players in OC’s innovation/startup ecosystem, like the Innovation Institute, with HQ in La Palma, which recently partnered with an equity crowdfunding portal in an effort to fill that gap as well. (See related story here).

The private investor network that OCTANe wants to build would enable SoCal investors to review companies coming out of its LaunchPad accelerator.

OCTANe already has the relationships with these individuals – it’s just a matter of pulling them together and making it formal, as well as bringing in the several family offices in the area, Carpou said.

OCTANe has amassed data from all the companies that have already participated in its accelerator. And, it has the credibility to create the formal structure of a private investor network platform, Carpou said.

The SoCal area has been dubbed “the Death Valley of funding,” said JC Ruffalo, director of LaunchPad and investor relations.

At a private OCTANe meeting recently, Ruffalo alluded to statistics from a recent PWC Money Tree/CB Insights showing that there’s been more than $5.5 billion invested by SoCal venture capitalists, with only $700 million of that capital actually residing here in SoCal.

The relationship that OCTANe recently formed with investment banking company Tellson Securities will also be key in filling the funding gap and helping LaunchPad alums grow, Carpou said. (See related story here)

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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