Davis Roots Signs Program Extension with the City and Brings in New Executive Director

Hunt-Boyer-2(From Press Release) – Davis Roots is pleased to announce it has signed a two-year lease extension with the City of Davis at the Hunt Boyer Mansion in downtown Davis to continue its partnership in supporting local entrepreneurship. “Cities can play an important role in innovation and fostering entrepreneurship. The city has built innovation into its own activities through its partnership with Davis Roots and UC Davis. We are fortunate to have city and community leadership which has made it a priority.”  said Anthony Costello co-founder and Board Director of Davis Roots.

Costello went on to say “What started as a ‘request for ideas’ from the Chancellor quickly became Davis Roots and an innovative, strategic partnership between a non-profit accelerator, the City and University to build and grow start-up companies in Davis.  Three years later, we’ve graduated 15 companies from the program. We are continuing to build a regional reputation for finding great companies and grounding them in the realities of early stage development, funding and life outside the University.”

Regarding the two-year lease extension for the Davis Roots headquarters downtown, “The City of Davis is a proud partner and active supporter of Davis Roots,” said Dan Wolk, Mayor of Davis.  “Our community is home to a thriving ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship and by providing space in a highly-desirable location, we are adding to the vibrancy of downtown and stimulating opportunities for creativity.“

Davis Roots is equally pleased to announce that Kari Rundquist (Fry) has been named its new executive director. She is a native Davisite who brings with her experience in operations, program management, fundraising, government relations and business consulting in the private sector. Additionally, Rundquist has many years of non-profit volunteer leadership experience.

Rundquist’s current volunteer activities include serving on the Board of Directors of the Yolo Food Bank and as a member of the Davis Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee. She previously served on the Davis Schools Foundation Board of Directors, and played a leadership role in fundraising for each of the last three parcel tax campaigns for the Davis Joint Unified School District. Her experience as a passionate advocate, strategic networker and diplomatic community builder will greatly benefit the Davis Roots organization.

The extension of its lease agreement with the City of Davis and the addition of a new executive director also provide Davis Roots the opportunity to further its partnerships within the University community.

“Our growing collaboration between Davis Roots and Venture Catalyst represents an important element in the meshwork of resources and support that makes for a healthy and growing ecosystem to support local technology startups,” said Dushyant Pathak, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Executive Director of Venture Catalyst at UC Davis.  “We are looking forward to working with Kari and her team in this next stage in the continued development of Davis Roots as a driver of economic impact in Davis and beyond.”

Davis Roots has a proven track record assisting entrepreneurs with the development of their ideas into successful companies. Davis Roots is positioned to scale this success and further cultivate the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem to expand entrepreneurial opportunities in Davis and the surrounding region. Davis Roots plans to strengthen its leadership role in fostering a more robust innovation commerce marketplace through its existing partnerships and the expansion of its network of engaged stakeholders. Equally important is Roots’ continued development of access to the capital resources required to fuel a vibrant startup community.

“We talk a lot about the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, the gaps we are working to fill and the opportunities that come with its development. I see Davis Roots in the center of it all and know that we have a very important leadership role to play” said Rundquist. She continued,  “I’m honored by the opportunity to serve our community as the Executive Director of Davis Roots and enhance the resources we can offer our local entrepreneurs.”

Besides the primary duties of recruiting and mentoring companies in the program, Rundquist plans to expand Davis Roots’ community programming, develop an internship program, draw in the local mentor community more frequently and increase engagement with the larger regional innovation network.

“Davis Roots forged a partnership with the City of Davis to accomplish critical tasks for our community.” stated Rundquist. “One of the tasks I am most excited to see accomplished is the development of opportunities for UCD students to stay and work in Davis post-graduation. I built my former company around a group of amazing interns from UCD who became employees and ultimately took over the business. It feels amazing to create jobs. We accomplished meaningful projects together. It was truly inspiring. Our community cannot afford to continually export the best and brightest to seek job opportunities elsewhere, nor do we want to lose the startups that create those jobs.  Davis Roots can help preserve both right here in Davis”

The Davis Roots companies currently in residence are Foodful.ly (www.foodful.ly), Psynthesys (www.psynthesys.com), Sonanutech (www.sonanutech.com), and Gift of Education (www.thegiftofeducation.com).

For more information about Davis Roots or its current companies visit: www.davisroots.org or contact krundquist@davisroots.org.

Davis Roots is a non-profit start-up business incubator, founded by Andy Hargadon, Anthony Costello, and Joe DiNunzio with the shared goal of fostering the formation and early development of new high-growth ventures. Davis Roots provides direct support to local start-up companies through grants, mentoring, networking, office space downtown Davis and capital resource development.

Venture Catalyst is a unit within the Technology Management & Corporate Relations division, led by Associate Vice Chancellor Dushyant Pathak, of the UC Davis Office of Research. Venture Catalyst has a campus-wide mission focused on providing support services, infrastructure and resources to assist university researchers representing all disciplines on campus, in creating well structured, effectively networked and efficiently resourced startups.  Venture Catalyst collaborates closely with the University’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and with external drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship in the community.

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