*OPINION – Collaboration vs. Competition – Richard Sudek, UCI Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of UCI Beall Applied Innovation, Gives His Opinion….
This is the fourth in a series of opinion pieces about whether OC’s startup/innovation ecosystem is more prone to collaboration or competition. Today’s opinion is from Richard Sudek, UCI chief innovation officer and executive director of UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
OCSN: Do you see yourself, and UCI Beall Applied Innovation, as collaborators or competitors within the OC startup ecosystem?
Sudek: Definitely collaborators. Our goal is to help make Orange County a globally-recognized startup ecosystem and that can only happen by working in partnership with all organizations.
OCSN: Where do you see room for more collaboration?
Sudek: I see funding as a prime area for more collaboration. In fact, that is why Beall Applied Innovation hired a specialist in venture capital collaboration, Luis Vasquez, to provide free connections and introductions on behalf of startup companies to VCs and other investors. He works with non-UCI startups, as well as UCI-related startups. The long term benefit is that VCs from around the country are exposed to more OC startups and will recognize the vibrant startup ecosystem that we are helping to create.
OCSN: Do you see the OC startup ecosystem as fragmented? If so, why?
Sudek: Perhaps still a bit fragmented. But the good news is that I am seeing much more cohesive collaborations and that translates into economic growth.
OCSN: Anything else you’d like to add about competition vs. collaboration in OC?
Sudek: For us, it is all about collaboration. We are building partnerships that create regional economic impact. Through collaboration, we are developing a robust, economically vibrant ecosystem that is good for the people of Orange County – especially those building the modern American Dream – and helping to restore ladders of upward mobility for all.