Accelerator Crazy In Southern California

What's the latest craze in startups in Southern Califonia? It looks to be startup accelerators. In just the last few weeks, at least five different incubation/acceleration efforts have booted up in the region. Here's a rundown of the latest (but not all) of the incubation/acceleration efforts in the area:

MuckerLab--which just launched this morning, is headed by Erik Rannala (formerly of Silicon Valley venture firm Harrison Metal) and William Hsu (formerly of AT&T Interactive), and is looking to apply the TechStars model to startups here in Los Angeles. The group is a member of the TechStars Network, and boasts a who's who of successful local CEOs and investors.

K5Launch, which was announced yesterday, is headed up by Amir Banafatemi, Ray Chan, David Cheng, and Kai Tao, four Southern California angel investors. Similarly, the firm is using a Y-Combinator/TechStars model to startups, and covers Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. The group's members include many member of the Tech Coast Angels, and has a goal of making Southern California, and particularly Orange County, a more vibrant environment for tech startups.

LA Cleantech Incubator, officially launched last week, and was created by Los Angeles Cleantech Alliance, a group supported by Mayor's Office, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Community Redevelopment Agency for Los Angeles, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, UCLA, USC, CalTech, and Arts Center College of Design. Specifically targeted at clean techonlogy firms, the group has more of a traditional incubator program, offering up office space for 6-8 companies, along with support, resources, and mentorship.

Nantworks, is the personal business incubation effort--just announced a few weeks ago--of local billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made his fortune in the biotech industry with Abraxis Bioscience. Nantworks says it is focused on "bringing the digital revolution to the service of healthcare, education, science and the justice system, as well as taking digital entertainment to an entirely new level" and has a number of companies in its portfolio.

Upstart LA, started by Dan Dato and Bruce Brown, is hoping to take the TechStars and Y-Combinator model to Los Angeles, and has been in the process of lining up mentors and investors to back its incubation efforts. Dato previously served at SnapNow, TouchCommerce, and The Motley Fool; Brown is an investor who was previously at Microsoft.

This is a list of just the latest in incubation/acceleration efforts, but is in no way complete: other accelerators/incubators which have been active lately in Southern California include San Diego's EvoNexus Incubator, the Venture Ventures Technology Center, the Los Angeles County Business Technology Center (which is hosting Los Angeles Technology Week today)--just to name a few more.


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