Published November 18, 2014
Volume 22, Number 11

Innovate Pleasanton & Tri-Valley Capital Boost


Investment Firm with a Hands-On Approach
Innovate Pleasanton
Pictured Kurt Pfluger, Founder/Managing Partner and Greg Hitchan, Founder/CEO, Tri Valley Capital.

By Zoe Francis

The Tri-Valley is poised to be the next hotbed of technological innovation.
The brand-new Innovate Pleasanton workspace will serve as an incubator for startup companies that need space and whose employees are eager to work with like-minded entrepreneurs.
“In (Silicon) Valley, it would be called an incubator or an accelerator,” founder Greg Hitchan said. “I don’t think I even fully appreciated the need and desire for co-working space like this (in the Tri-Valley).”
Hitchan brainstormed the idea for Innovate Pleasanton as he worked to launch Tri-Valley Capital earlier this year.
“Tri-Valley Capital is an investment firm that helps fund and assist startup companies to grow in any way they can,” he explained. “We provide capital, strategic advice, business advice, relationships and mentoring. We’re very value-add to a startup company in the sense that a many founders may have a great idea and be very tech oriented, but they may not have much experience on the business and fundraising side.”
Hitchan, a Stanford-educated attorney, worked several years as chief operating officer at the highly esteemed Blum Capital in San Francisco. While he enjoyed the work, the commute took too much time away from his young family in Pleasanton.
“I always told myself if I had the opportunity to do something out here, I would do that,” he said. “I was fortunately successful enough at Blum Capital that it afforded me the opportunity to do an entrepreneurial venture like this to invest my own capital into companies I like and play a very hands-on role.”
The founding of Tri-Valley Capital with partner Kurt Pfluger made it a natural fit for Hitchan to launch Innovate Pleasanton, which already hosts a handful of the capital firm’s portfolio startup companies.
“We house several of our portfolio companies, as well as have additional space for several other companies that want to be part of an innovative and collaborative culture,” he said. “I’m building it up to be an innovative space for startups and people with entrepreneurial minds.”
The newly renovated 30,000-square-foot facility started hosting companies earlier this fall.
“It’s a work space that can house 12 to 14 different companies at a time with a collaborative, big, open workspace in the middle,” he said. “It’s gratifying to see the companies here interact with each other. We’ve had two companies that have already figured out a way to work together. Those kinds of synergies and cross-fertilization between companies are a powerful tool. That’s what we hope to foster.”
While companies can easily work together, they also have access to the many services offered by Tri-Valley Capital.
“We have the relationship not only with capital sources, but legal and accounting and all the services they’ll need,” Hitchan said. “The goal is to create these companies here and have them grow out of this space and get their own building in the Tri-Valley or Pleasanton. We’ll bring in the next innovative company that will gradually graduate and move on.”
Innovate Pleasanton is well on its way to full capacity as word of mouth about the creative facility spreads quickly among entrepreneurs and inventors.
“This is the place where they’ll want to come and work and hang out while being around other entrepreneurial people,” Hitchan said. “They’re all working on incredibly innovative technologies that do good – fuel efficiency, energy efficiency, laser optics.”
“The beauty of the Tri-Valley is there’s so much human and intellectual capital all residing in this area,” he added. “That’s a really powerful combination. And then you throw the (Lawrence Livermore National) lab into the mix. All that mixed together is all the ingredients for an incredibly vibrant startup community. I hope it grows bigger than all of us and becomes our version of Silicon Valley.”
Learn more about Tri-Valley Capital and Innovate Pleasanton at trivalleycapital.com and innovatepleasanton.com.


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