How the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is Helping Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

How the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is Helping Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

Every entrepreneur has a different story for the inspiration behind his or her business. Some know from day one that they want to be their own boss while others come up with ideas when working for someone else and decide to take the entrepreneurial leap.

However, most business owners will agree on one thing: being an entrepreneur is great. There are endless reasons for this, and every entrepreneur will have his or her own personal reason as well. One common theme we see for many entrepreneurs is a faster path to financial independence and a flexible work-life balance.

In a story from the Harvard Business Review, “Why Today’s Teens Are More Entrepreneurial than Their Parents,” author Whitney Johnson finds that today’s teens (Gen Z) are no longer working in customary jobs, like waiting tables and lifeguarding. Instead, they are creating their own full-scale babysitting or dog sitting operations, opening eBay stores, or selling clothing and other items through Instagram.

Television Shows like Shark Tank are glamorizing entrepreneurship and social media tools are extending the range of the old-fashioned lemonade stand.

UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator - UCLA Anderson School
UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator – UCLA Anderson School

Gallup poll confirms

that the next generation of entrepreneurs do not intend to remain in corporate jobs over the course of their lifetime. According to the data, 8 out of 10 students (77%) in grades 5 through 12 wanted to be their own boss, 45% wanted to start their own business, and 42% wanted to invent something to change the world. Creating something of value and making a lasting impact is the new mantra of the generations to come.

In order to keep pace with the changing trends in future career paths and the resources required for the leaders of tomorrow, the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson was founded in 2016 to meet that need.

The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is a curated six-month, immersive program customized by vertical and stage for each company.  The program is open to not only enrolled MBA students but the startup community at large.

We interviewed Trish Halamandaris, Director of the Venture Accelerator at UCLA, about the program and the value it provides to students and entrepreneurs at large, and the Los Angeles business community. Trish, a UCLA Anderson alum from the class of ’92, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make an impact.  Her background in successfully launching products for companies such as Disney, Amazon and Electronic Arts, and her strong ties to the UCLA Alumni network inspired her to share her experiences with students to help bridge the gap between academics and the business world.

Trish Halamandaris, Director | Anderson Venture Accelerator
Trish Halamandaris, Director | Anderson Venture Accelerator

Why the UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator

UCLA has a long history of fostering entrepreneurship studies and promoting students to think big and impactfully.  The depth of the alumni network, resources, and diversity offered is second to none.  Further, deep ties to the LA startup and business community fosters a cohesive sense of commitment to ensure the future leaders of tomorrow are prepared both academically & practically to tackle real-world business problems.

The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is an immersive program designed to leverage UCLA’s resources to enable the success of promising startups within the Anderson and Los Angeles community. Accelerator leadership provides startups with one-on-one consulting as well as curated connections to Anderson’s prominent alumni network and potential funders among LA’s thriving venture capital community. Accelerator startups receive customized and actionable programming catered to their vertical and stage, peer support and mentorship, as well as unlimited access to a 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art co-working space located on UCLA’s campus in the Rosenfeld Library.

The program offers:

  • Connections to the Anderson Alumni Network
  • Consulting from experts in marketing, public relations, sales, product development, financial modeling, legal and fundraising
  • Weekly workshops with renowned professionals as consultants and speakers
  • Advisory sessions with Accelerator consulting coaches
  • Networking events with startup companies, including founder lunches and happy hours
  • Culmination Showcase event attended by angel investors, Anderson donors, early stage venture capitalists, UCLA faculty, and media

How UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator Works

The program supports two types of startups: companies in the BCO (Business Creation Option) program and companies in the cohort.  The BCO program is catered to the full-time MBA, fully employed MBA and executive MBA students and runs throughout the year.  The cohort is open to any entrepreneur that meets the application process, and the program is offered at the beginning of the calendar year and culminates in late fall with a Demo Day, or Showcase event. Further details about the program and the application for the cohort can be found on the website here. A co-working work environment like WeWork is provided to the startups to work on their new business.

How the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is Helping Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles
How the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is Helping Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

A Transformational Experience

Success in the Anderson Accelerator means that companies exit in one of four avenues: (i) sell their company; (ii) receive a pre-seed round of financing; (iii) graduate to equity investing accelerator; or (iv) self-fund via retail sales.  The Accelerator is experiencing an 85% success rate with four cohorts to date and are entering into their fifth cohort.

Impact on the Community

Regardless of the eventual outcome of each individual business, startups as a whole are vital to encouraging innovation, creating new solutions to problems, and driving employment.  Further, Los Angeles continues to be a leader in both cultural and industry line diversity making it a haven for entrepreneurs.

The Anderson Venture Accelerator is indicative of the Los Angeles market supporting a diverse composition of industries and founders with about 50% of the companies being founded by women and founders from across many countries including Peru, Chile, China, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Mexico, Canada, India, and Israel.

5 of Our Favorite New Startups

  1. 81cents helps women and underrepresented minorities understand if they’re being paid fairly. 81cents crowdsource personalized negotiation advice, salary data, and feedback on compensation packages and new offers from relevant professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters. All insights go into a custom report that 81cents users can leverage for their negotiations.
  2. Bluprint is a web-based application that makes the process of creating an organized, engaging and visually appealing presentation effortless. The company’s subscription-based software leverages a data-driven content organization and design techniques to “automagically” create professional-quality presentations.
  3. FinDIY helps college students and parents tackle money as a team. With easy-to-use tools and the ability to seamlessly collaborate with parents, students are empowered to take charge of their college financial life and carry newfound confidence with money into adulthood.
  4. Rooo is a fitness mobile app that helps people move more and better. We curate playfully themed workouts that are highly specific to your goals, moods, and preferences, such as “Lazy Sunday Morning Workout”, “Run Faster”, or “My Back Hurts Workout”.
  5. Umergency prepares and empowers students and their families by giving them the tools they need to navigate any emergency, health or safety situation. Providing peace of mind to millions of college families and customized for over 1,200 schools, we’re just getting started.

Next Up

In collaboration with the Venture Accelerator, LA Startups is doing a series of articles showcasing the innovative founders and startups that have emerged from the program.  Our featured list will comprise of diverse industries such as IOT, Ride-Share, Healthcare, and Food as well as founders that hail from different countries and cultures around the world.

Check out our recent interview U-Nest: Interview With U-Nest CEO & Founder, Ksenia Yudina

Image Credit – Daily BruinRingo Chiu

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