Movement Launches to Bolster Marin + Sonoma Startups

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Over 100 leading entrepreneurs and business leaders are uniting behind the newly-formed Marin Sonoma Impact Ventures (MSIV) to propel the North Bay’s economic future.

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MSIV is rallying the Marin + Sonoma community behind entrepreneurs working to build the next great North Bay company

Marin Sonoma Impact Ventures (MSIV) today announced the formal launch of its efforts to bolster the North Bay’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and help Marin + Sonoma startups become the next great North Bay company.

“The North Bay is such an incredible community and home to so many talented people, yet we suffer from low levels of job creation, an aging population, and growing inequality,” said Zachary Kushel, Founder and Managing Partner of Marin Sonoma Impact Ventures. “MSIV is a social enterprise combatting these challenges by harnessing the intellectual and financial capital so prevalent in our community to boost entrepreneurs building high-growth local startups,” said Kushel.

“MSIV’s vision is to ensure North Bay prosperity for the decades ahead,” continued Kushel. “The COVID reset provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine our economic future. With the reopening now upon us, we must make long-term community investments in diversified sectors to insulate the North Bay economy from stagnation and the growing ravages of climate change,” he finished.

MSIV is leaning in to support Marin + Sonoma entrepreneurs in the following ways:

  • Founder Network – At launch, 59 active Founder/CEOs of early-stage Marin + Sonoma startups have joined this peer group that ensures no local founders are ‘on an island.’
  • Executive Network – At launch, 30 local C-level executives from a diverse set of sectors and functions have signed on to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs.
  • Access to Capital – MSIV is actively making introductions to help ease the early-stage financing process for the region’s most promising startups.
  • Thought Leadership – MSIV is publishing original research on the startup community and highlighting the work of local founders through its Founder Interview series.
  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence – MSIV is hosting Mill Valley’s Carolyn McGourty Supple, a national leader in advancing the culture in America’s newsrooms, as its first EIR.

MSIV recently published ‘first-of-its-kind’ research into the robust yet underappreciated North Bay startup footprint. This research has shown that, last decade:

  • More quality startups formed in Marin + Sonoma than half of U.S. states on an absolute basis – per capita, Marin + Sonoma outranked 48 of 50 U.S. states (link)
  • 11 local startup companies exited for $100 million or more (link)
  • Local startups attracted institutional capital from 23 U.S. states and 20 countries (link)
  • Marin + Sonoma startups were 3x-4x undercapitalized relative to Silicon Valley (link)

“Despite this rich footprint, prior to MSIV, if you were a local entrepreneur with a grand vision aiming to build the next Amy’s Kitchen, Autodesk, or BioMarin, there was no organization across the public, non-profit, or private sectors making it their mission to help you succeed,” said San Anselmo’s Craig Nelson, a longtime North Bay business leader and MSIV Advisor. “MSIV is changing that and will usher in a new era of thoughtful economic growth and prosperity for this community,” continued Nelson.

“MSIV is harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit so prevalent across Sonoma + Marin to better support those men and women launching their own high-growth businesses,” said Sonoma’s Beth Stelluto Dunaier, an active social enterprise investor and MSIV Advisor. “If we can unite behind those local leaders looking to build their businesses embedded in our community, the future of our entire community will be that much brighter,” continued Stelluto Dunaier.

MSIV is collaborating closely with the greater North Bay business community and working with four Community Partners, which includes the Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics, the Marin Economic Forum, Dominican University’s Barowsky School of Business, and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce.

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Zachary Kushel
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