I’m a risk taker. Yet this is not so much about my nature, rather I attribute it to the ecosystem where I live and work, the mentors who have shown me the way, and about Sacramento’s new maker culture I find myself enveloped in — where permission to fail is encouraged.
Kish Rajan is the director of GO-Biz, the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Previously, he was the director of North American sales for SanDisk, was an aid to Phil Angelides during his ’94 run for state treasurer and was a legislative aide to California Sen. Barbara Boxer.
In 2008, John Bissell co-founded Micromidas Inc., a West Sacramento biotech company that has developed a process to convert carbohydrate feedstocks like cardboard into higher-value chemicals, including renewable plastics. The company incorporated in 2009. Bissell, a UC Davis grad who also serves as CEO, was recently included in Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields, and has helped raise more than $20 million in financing for his company.
Like many transplants to Sacramento, before moving to the area I had little awareness of the plethora of quality-of-life amenities the region has to offer. As I complete my first decade as a resident, it has dawned on me that this has been the longest stop thus far in my professional career.
Bright orange walls and ergonomic chairs. A black conference table flanked by a half-dozen scruffy-chic men (zip-front sweaters, double-pierced ears, turn-of-the-millennium tattoos) and three times as many digital devices (nobody brought just one).
The Next Economy initiative aims to accelerate job creation and new investment in the Capital Region by developing key economic areas, or “clusters,” of growth. The critical motivator to these clusters, experts say, is venture capital, a cash investment.
“We need to have a funding mechanism for launching these types of firms within a region in order for the region to be successful,” says Curt Rocca, managing partner with DCA Partners, business advisory and private equity firm.
“Small Market, Big Heart” tells the story of the Sacramento Kings and their fans’ fight to hold onto the team. But the 80-minute documentary — packed with NBA archive footage and interviews with Kings’ executives, local politicians and sports entertainment personalities — isn’t from the NBA offices or an established production company.
New legislation is typically received by the business community with as much adoration as a Yankee fan at Fenway, but there are exceptions.
Bill Mueller, 47, is CEO and managing partner at Valley Vision. One of four partners in the regional Next Economy initiative, Valley Vision serves as the project manager of the Capital Region’s latest economic development effort.
A few months after the 2002 launch of Arcadia Biosciences Inc. in Phoenix, CEO Eric Rey insisted the company move to California. Not to Silicon Valley, but to Davis.
After four quarters of increasing venture investment, 2010 is off to a slow start. Venture capitalists invested $4.7 billion in the year’s first quarter, down from $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The life sciences sector, including biotechnology and medical device industries, took the biggest hit with a 26 percent decline in venture investment over the previous quarter.