The City of Davis announced Thursday that the Davis City Council will grant a loan of up to $100,000 to local business incubator Inventopia to allow it to add specialized space needed by local entrepreneurs and startup companies. The Council voted unanimously at its Oct. 6 meeting to approve a resolution granting the loan and conducted a public hearing at its Nov. 17 meeting for final approval of the resolution.
“Supporting Inventopia and the businesses it houses enables the Davis business environment to expand economic development and capitalize on local talent to create more Davis jobs,” said Mayor Gloria Partida. “We are pleased to contribute to Davis as a burgeoning research hotspot in the life sciences, food and agriculture, sustainability and advanced manufacturing.”
The loan funding comes from community-wide City Enhancement Funds from various development projects. The proposed loan would be repaid over five years at 3% interest. Operating as a non-profit, Inventopia (located at 630 Pena Drive) leases the use of state-of-art labs, specialized manufacturing equipment and technology for startups based on various membership models.
The City loan will allow Inventopia to expand its lease at Pena Drive to add two new suites to the two business suites it currently maintains. The new space at Pena will house a specialized biosafety lab
and an advanced manufacturing machine shop. The expansion adds over 3,900 square feet new maker space.
Startup successes supported by Inventopia include Innerplant, a company that makes plants into living sensors. Founded in the Bay Area, the two-person company relocated to Davis for access to specialized plant biologist and plant geneticist talent. Now graduated to University Research Park office space, Innerplant continues use of Inventopia’s specialized equipment to reduce costs. Peakb, a startup developing naturally derived blue food coloring, is a new Inventopia tenant. This startup was founded by Justin Siegel, UC Davis Associate Professor and entrepreneur.
“With our proximity to the University, Davis is uniquely positioned to cultivate an entrepreneurial business landscape with state-of-the-art facilities and local talent,” said Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney. “Recently, companies like MARS Cocoa, Archer Daniels Midland and MyFloraDNA have headquartered in Davis adding to our business success stories, such as Marrone Bio and Novozymes.”
“We are grateful to the City for their faith in us and the future of Davis businesses. This loan will allow more startups to anchor in Davis, keeping discoveries and jobs within the community, especially at this time where we need the economy to rebound,” said Tim Keller, Executive Director, Inventopia.
Inventopia is affiliated with UC Davis’ Venture Catalyst Engine DRIVE (Distributed Research Incubation & Venture) program. This UC Davis program has launched 122 startups since 2004 with 85 of those businesses launched in the last six years. https://www.inventopia.org/
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