Gathering Steam


by Daniel Parrella, Michael Bisch, Bill Habicht, Matthew Miller, and Alex Rossbach

As a startup community begins to flourish, access to capital and innovative leasing space is crucial to its long-term health. A steady flow of financing from angel groups and venture capital firms can mean the difference between a startup burning out and a successful Initial Public Offering. A new angel group, as well as a number of local initiatives, promises an exciting start to solving challenges that local startups face.

 Startups typically rely on friends and family for the initial round of seed funding. Once those funds have been exhausted startups have traditionally targeted venture capital groups to fill their fundraising needs. To fill the gap between the initial seed funding and venture capital funding, startups increasingly have been begun turning to angel investors. Angel investors are typically wealthy individuals with startup experience. Angel investors often do more than just write a check. Many provide mentoring to guide a young company to maturity, as well as provide industry connections to smooth the transition.

The collapse of venture capital firms in Sacramento during the dot-com bust has led to a dearth of available financing in the Sacramento region. While venture capital in Silicon Valley has come roaring back, the well in Sacramento has remained dry. Local startups have to look to the Bay Area for seed funding and many lament the lack of capital available locally. JumpStart Davis has begun the formation of a local angel group to provide financing to Davis startups, while also allowing investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolio.

A non-profit community coworking space, POLLINATE Davis, is scheduled to launch in February. POLLINATE is located in the heart of Downtown Davis, at Regency Square, 508 Second Street, Suite 208. POLLINATE is a shared, interactive work environment ideally suited for startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, code writers, and other members of the creative class requiring a flexible space. For more info on POLLINATE, go here:

 or attend the Open House 7:00PM, Wednesday, January 14th.

The 2nd of three exciting annual downtown TEDxUCDavis events will be held 1:00-3:00PM, Saturday, January 17th at the Odd Fellows Hall located at 415 Second Street, in Downtown Davis.  The theme for this salon event is the “Year of X”.  Speakers are Bill Habicht, Kang Pha, Maria Contreras Tebbutt and Phil America.  The event is sponsored by Davis Downtown, JumpStart Davis, Davis Roots, Davis Chamber of Commerce, Yolo County Visitors Bureau, City of Davis and Nishi/Gateway/Downtown Innovation Project. Online tickets can be purchased here:

 The third “JumpStart Davis” networking event will be hosted January 21st at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen in Davis. The event will begin at 6:30pm and will showcase two Davis startups. Ethan Garret is the co-founder of “Rootd”, a social media site for student athletes to connect with alumni after graduation; Bob Webb is a founder of NEXTGEN Pants, an indie game studio founded in 2013. The event will also showcase POLLINATE Co-Working space, presentation by Matt Miller, co-founder.

A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is not something that will happen over night. But a sustained effort to grow the startup community can yield dividends for the entire city and region of Davis and have us continue to be leaders in innovation.

If you have questions about the events or wish to join the effort? Contact Daniel Parrella (, Michael Bisch (, Bill Habicht (, Matthew Miller ( or Alex Rossbach (

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts


    1. Alan Miller

      The bigger the controversy, the bigger the read.  Stimulating local business, though important, isn’t exactly sexy.  If one  could make this subject as enticing as reading about JeLo’s ass, you’d have something.

      1. Miwok

        Is the “Innovation” really looking to start local businesses? When you start accessing venture capital and angel investors, you are not trying to stay local, nor are you going to stay local, as a previous article mentioned.

        Since I have worked for growing businesses until they were too big, I love to hear about startups, but know that they are highly mobile until they get so big and buy their own building, like these small startups. Are any of them planning to stay after they “make it”? And does that really matter?

        1. Daniel Parrella


          I appreciate the comment but I respectfully disagree. One of the biggest reasons we are creating a local angel fund is precisely because we would prefer our startups get access to financing locally rather than beg for scraps from Silicon Valley investors.

          Startups are attracted to capital, one of the big reasons Boulder is such a hotbed right now is because there are 3 active venture capital groups, 2 angel funds and about 50 active individual angel investors that startups can interact with and woo for money. In Davis I can list one active angel investor for sure, and he started a business that employs over 20 people after buying a UCD technology.

          I can assure you the entire point of JumpStart was for local homegrown innovation and quite frankly I think we have done a pretty bang up job so far. More to come, thanks for reading!

          Daniel Parrella

        2. Miwok

          Alan Miller: ” Stimulating local business, though important, isn’t exactly sexy. ”

          Thank you, Daniel, but I was referring to what was said in another article, by Matt Williams:

          First, is comfort with an estimation/quantification of the demand for incubation space that UCD’s Technology Transfer program will generate. Second, is the expected life cycle of the early stage start-ups that will incubate on the site. Bottom-line, I don’t expect any individual early stage start-up to reside in the incubation center any longer than three years. If they are still early stage after three years, then the chances that their product/service has commercial viability will have decreased to near zero.

          That said the Downtown and Innovation centers were to be incubators, right? That means the turnover will be higher than what they would like to see, with many offices vacant most of the time?

          You can disagree with Matt.

          If you want to continue about Boulder, are they tracking all the successes or failures? I think their PR would not prefer to cite those.

  1. Bill

    Thanks for the feedback Davis Progressive.  I’m guessing that JumpStart might be engaging a different demographic than typically reads/comments on the Vanguard.  Onward we go!!

    Btw, a shout out to Daniel Parrella for writing such a fantastic piece.  Nice work Daniel!

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for