OCTANe’s Accelerator Program Shows its Chops

Monday, August 22, 2016

(Source: MedCity News)

Startups have a burning need to raise money; investors want the best possible returns. The trick is connecting these two groups. In Orange County, California, OCTANe is the reigning matchmaker.

OCTANe was founded in 2002 to grow Orange County’s tech and life sciences sectors. Their primary tool is its LaunchPad accelerator, which matches interested investors with growing companies.  Startups that completed the nonprofit’s accelerator program raised $75 million in the second quarter, up from $27 million in the first quarter. OCTANe is also expanding its footprint by partnering with an organization out of state as well.

“When a company comes through our accelerator, we can put them at different touch points for capital, whether it’s venture, private investor, strategic or potentially investing in it ourselves,” said CEO Bill Carpou. “We’ve had 208 of 210 companies that went through LaunchPad receive funding, around $1.3 billion.”

As important as capital is to growing a startup, information places a close second. “We have about 250 advisors aligned with OCTANe,” says Carpou, “sales and marketing, operations, how to grow and scale a company.”

While there are hundreds of tech accelerators and incubators around the nation –techstars, New York Digital Health Accelerator, gener8tor, to name a few – OCTANe is a nonprofit and receives LaunchPad support from the Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network, an arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Their corporate mix is about 50/50 between high tech and the life sciences, with the latter heavily weighted towards device companies. Some of the startups that raised money in the second quarter include Bioniz Therapeutics, which develops drugs for cancer and autoimmune conditions, raised $1.4 million. Dental technology companySonendo raised $33 million, which brings its total to a healthy $102 million.

OCTANe is actively expanding its network of potential investors, as well as finding new benefits for their companies. They recently partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council to improve access to capital for device companies in both regions.

They’ve also partnered with the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) to share resources. The collaboration will give OCTANe’s life science companies access to CLSA’s buying consortium, providing discounts on a variety of research-related goods and services.

“It’s good synergy,” says Carpou. “They provide advocacy, which we don’t. We provide access to expertise and capital, which CLSA doesn’t. We think it will increase both of our memberships.”

There’s more to come from OCTANe. Their website will soon provide a portal to their advisory services, while ongoing meetups drive financing and other deals. Their Medical Device & Investor Forum in October is expected to draw around 800 people.

“It’s a simple formula,” says Carpou, “provide great access to capital and greater access to expertise. Every startup needs both.”

Category: Economic Development

Tags: economic development, economic growth, Orange County, Medical Device