Saturday, June 14, 2008

New California Hall of Fame touted

Today's Stockton Record chimes in with a preview of The New California 100 event and the New California Hall of Fame:
Hall of fame gets 8 Valley leaders: Business moguls honored Tuesday
Stockton developers Fritz Grupe and Alex Spanos will be among eight business leaders inducted into the New California Hall of Fame in recognition for their legacies of business, philanthropic and civic contributions to the Great Central Valley.

Individuals selected for the hall of fame founded and led companies headquartered in the 19-county Valley region of California stretching from Shasta to Kern County.

They will be honored at a Tuesday dinner at the first-ever New California 100 Conference in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Davis. The conference also will name 100 companies that have contributed to regional prosperity by generating revenue and jobs. Sixteen companies in San Joaquin County are on that list.

The others to be inducted are Archie Aldis "Red" Emmerson, founder of Sierra Pacific Industries, Redding; Newton T. Enloe, founder of the Enloe Medical Center, Chico; Ernest and Julio Gallo, co-founders of E&J Gallo, Modesto; Tom Raley, founder of Raley's Stores, West Sacramento; and Fred Ruiz, co-founder of Ruiz Foods, Dinuba.

"These business legends represent what makes California's great Central Valley fertile ground for the next generation of innovation and prosperity, and can serve as continued reminders of how to be successful in business in California and around the world," said Jon Gregory, chief executive officer of Golden Capital Network, a nonprofit networking, training and consulting group that is one of the conference sponsors.

The conference Tuesday will also feature a full slate of speakers and give business leaders the chance to gather to share stories and chart how they can collectively continue to make California golden for business, he said. These companies being honored account for more than $50 billion in annual revenue and support more than 250,000 jobs in the region, he said.

The event will feature industry discussions lead by expert panelists from the finance, venture capital, academic and other sectors. Some top 100 company CEOs will share their stories of challenge, solution and accomplishment, and early-stage entrepreneurs will share their market solutions and paths to success.

Chris Soderquist, general partner with Davis-based Golden Capital Venture Funds, said the conferences will be staged annually to bring together business leaders from top companies, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs in promising new businesses, municipal elected officials and economic development specialists.

The original intent is to celebrate business success in the Central Valley, he said. But bringing together a wide variety of business sector players promises to promote business growth in the region at a time when there's a lot of "rhetoric" ranging from talk about a poor economy to poor air quality, he said.

"Things obviously are growing, but the grounds are a lot more fertile to grow even more so," Soderquist said.

For more information about the conference and the California Hall of Fame dinner, which together will run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., or to register, visit Cost is $325 per person for the conference and $450 for the conference and dinner.

The following 16 companies headquartered in San Joaquin County were named to the New California 100:

AG Spanos; Grupe Co.; Bank of Stockton; Building Material Distributors Inc.; Coastal Pacific Food Distributors; Collins Electrical; Delicato Family Vineyards; Diamond Foods; Duraflame; Interstate International Inc.; Klein Bros Ltd.; Mid Valley Plastering; Musco Family Olive Co.; Pacific Coast Producers; PAQ Inc.; and the Poly Processing Co.

The conference is being sponsored by Golden Capital Network; the Great Valley Center, a nonprofit Central Valley think tank; Hamilton Lane, an independent, private equity asset management service; and UC Davis.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Entrepreneurs will flood Davis: UCD Conference promotes startups

In today's Davis Enterprise ... great encapsulation of Venture Communities and the New California 100 event.

Entrepreneurs will flood Davis: UCD Conference promotes startups
By Claire St. John | Enterprise staff writer | June 12, 2008 12:06

Business is booming in Yolo County.

Next week, two events will bring Yolo County to the attention of Central Valley investors and entrepreneurs, creating a synergy here that could lead to more investment, more local industry and more money pumped into local governments, service providers and community ventures.

Davis, which has long been interested in keeping more UC Davis spin-off companies and entrepreneurs within city limits, has spent the past few years focused on economic development. To that end, it created the Business and Economic Development Commission and invested in an Angel Investor Fund, designed to bring investors and entrepreneurs together. Several other Yolo cities and the county also invested.

On Monday, the effort goes public with the launch of the Yolo Venture Community Web site and a workshop for entrepreneurs and business owners.

On Tuesday, UC Davis' Mondavi Center will host the New California 100 Conference, at which 100 Central Valley companies - including nine Yolo County businesses - will be honored, and seven individuals will be inducted into the New California Hall of Fame.

Together, the 100 companies generate more than $50 billion in revenue and employ 250,000 people.

'There are 65 to 70 angel investors and venture capitalists coming to the event, so it's the largest number of investors to convene in the Central Valley at one event,' said Chris Soderquist, a native Davisite and a general partner at Golden Capital Venture Funds.

'There should be between 400 and 600 people at the event, primarily principal executives at the top companies, entrepreneurs and other civic and economic leaders.'

The city of Davis - along with Woodland, Winters, West Sacramento and Yolo County - invested matching funds in Golden Capital Venture Funds to create an Angel Investment Fund, connecting high net-worth investors with budding companies in the region.

The collaboration also allows investors to have confidence in their investments, as Golden Capital Venture Funds vets all start-ups and ensures they have access not just to money, but to intellectual and social resources.

Those local investors and businesses will come together on Monday at the Veterans' Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St. in Davis. The day will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a business seminar, featuring faculty from UC Davis, University of the Pacific and Sacramento State. Topics will focus on entrepreneurship and the economy, new technologies and the next big thing, business planning, financial planning for startups and pitching a business to Angel and venture capital investors.

At 4 p.m., hosted wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served, followed by a panel of local business founders, including Anthony Costello, consultant for Bazu Media; John Argo of Bloo Solar; Kerry Sachs of Puroast; Cameron Lewis, CEO of VuStik; and Julie Morris, CEO of Marrone Innovation Organics. The panel will be moderated by Meg Arnold, director of business development and entrepreneurship with UC Davis InnovationAccess.

'The future of a healthy economy in Davis is in large part due to us being able to develop these small start-up companies,' said Costello, who is also vice chairman of the city's Business and Economic Development Commission. 'Davis is a great place to start up a business, with a great base of employees, an affluent community, great downtown office space and the university. It's becoming a premier institution in the world for development research ideas.'

Soderquist will introduce the launch of Yolo Venture Community, an online social network and education platform that will enable entrepreneurs, investors and professional service providers in Yolo County to connect with each other and leverage the financial, intellectual and human resources of the greater California Venture Communities network.

'We're trying to organize capital to better support local business,' Soderquist said. 'To me, what's refreshing and rewarding is it's kind of stunting the rhetoric, or shelving the rhetoric, and really moving toward pragmatic ways we can encourage and support entrepreneurs and innovation.

'There's been so much talk about it, and instead of talking, we're actually doing it, we're finding out from the entrepreneurs what do they need, how can we support them, and connecting them with the financial and intellectual resources they need to grow their company.'

There is still time to register for any of the events Monday and Tuesday. Visit and for more information or to register.

What: Business seminar and Yolo Venture Community kickoff
When: Free seminar from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday; Yolo Venture Community kickoff from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Veterans' Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.
Admission: Free

Learn more
What: New California 100 Conference and California Hall of Fame inductee dinner
When: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis
Cost: $195 for conference, $300 for conference and Hall of Fame dinner
Info: Call (530) 893-8828 or visit