UPDATE: OCTANe Sheds More Light on Future Incubator and Partnership with FivePoint
The incubator that OCTANe plans to launch, first reported by OCSN Friday, will initially focus on the fintech, cybersecurity and data analytics industries.
The incubator will be part of OCTANe’s new location at the Great Park in Irvine, where it plans to open in Q1 2020.
OCTANe has partnered with FivePoint to create an innovation hub in the Great Park, the former home of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
FivePoint — which designs and develops mixed–use, master–planned communities throughout the state, including the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas — is developing a “Gateway Campus” at the Great Park.
An Amtrak train station at the Great Park will provide easy access to those involved in the greater SoCal innovation ecosystem, which includes Los Angeles and San Diego, OCTANe CEO Bill Carpou said.
“We think it creates a natural epicenter for innovation and builds upon our InSoCal network to convene innovation across Southern California with emphasis on Orange County,” Carpou said.
So, why add an incubator now when the LaunchPad accelerator has been around since 2010?
Because when LaunchPad first started, it was focused on earlier-stage companies, similar to an incubator.. Over the past several years, however, LaunchPad has moved up-market and is now focused on companies raising late seed and Series A rounds, Carpou told OCSN.
Several local companies have signed on to support this initiative as sponsors, including local companies like Acorns, Experian and Alteryx, Carpou said.
As has MVM Partners. MVM invests in high-growth healthcare businesses. It has offices in Boston and London and will be one of 12 VC firms that will have an office in this new innovation hub here in OC.
Great Park Innovation Hub
Carpou characterized OCTANe’s move to the Great Park as much more than a simple “relocation.”
It’s more like moving into a synergistic community of ideas and innovation, he said.
“FivePoint is building a city,” he said. “There’s already schools and housing there, including affordable housing. There is a world class sports complex that will host the Olympic water polo games in 2028 and the outdoor amphitheater provides a venue for entertainment. Eventually there may even be a convention center and hotel in there. …You will be able to work, live, be entertained, and be educated right in one place.”
Full Spectrum of Services
News of the incubator follows OCTANe’s launch of Octane Enterprise Solutions (OES), created to provide companies that have gone through the accelerator access to strategic and institutional capital, as well as family offices and a newly-formed private investor network.
Additionally, these companies will have a wide range of resources to enable growth.
The goal is to help these companies create jobs here in OC.
OCTANe recently hired Paul Tobin to serve as president of this division. Tobin is a former corporate attorney who’s worked with startups and managed venture funds. He was most recently the CEO of Terrapin Ventures in Newport Beach, which helps established companies in overseas markets expand into the U.S.
Need For Incubator
Carpou said another reason for launching the incubator is that the OCTANe team has seen a lot of companies apply to the accelerator that “are not prepared for the stage of LaunchPad.”
“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said we would never do that,” Carpou said. “But we’re seeing companies that need additional incubation, heavy mentorship, business plan guidance and early funding. We decided, rather than send those off, we will continue to work collaboratively with local incubators and do some of the work ourselves.”
The incubator plans to accept an initial cohort of five startups.
OCTANe will take equity in those companies. The percentage hasn’t been decided yet, Carpou said.
The incubator also intends to provide the accepted startups free space, as EvoNexus does, with the support of the Irvine Co. EvoNexus’ incubator is in University Research Park near UCI. The original incubator is in San Diego.