Starting any type of company is challenging, but business ideas that must be developed at a substantial monetary cost can be really tricky to get off the ground. Traditionally, a company with a high-tech idea would seek private funding to finance their company. However, technology that is further along in the development cycle is much more likely to pique the curiosity of investors, which is where TTEC comes in.
The Tri-Valley Technology Enterprise Center (TTEC), a project of the Tri-Valley Business Council, is a place where people with promising high-tech ideas can work on developing them in hopes of bringing a product to market. TTEC's mission is to support positive economic development in the Tri-Valley region as well as to help build a bridge between the nearby Sandia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and private technology companies. TTEC opened a technology "incubator" in December 2001.
"Six or seven years ago, the Tri-Valley business council did an economic development study in the Tri-Valley to determine how they should move forward as far as supporting economic development," says Mike LaLumiere, executive director of TTEC. "Through that study, they determined that there were growing technology sectors here and that with two national laboratories nearby there was reason to develop a collaboration between the great resources at the laboratories and the private technology sector."
TTEC has a facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that is used as the base of operations. Currently, six companies are housed at the laboratory in an incubator-style facility. There's office space, a shared conference room, a shared copy machine, a shared kitchenette, and other basic amenities for the companies. While office space and support is provided at TTEC's Lawrence Livermore facility, many startups require specialty space including wet labs, dry labs, and even clean rooms. To accommodate these needs, TTEC has reached an agreement with a company called Axon Photonics in Livermore to let TTEC's incubating companies use parts of their facility. TTEC tries to make arrangements at flexible rates between startup companies and the established companies that have the facilities they need.
TTEC also works with the companies to help arrange advisory services from Tri-Valley professionals on subjects including legal, accounting, funding, and other issues. TTEC provides seminars on these topics as well as consultations with the entrepreneurs. "A lot of statistics about incubators show that incubated companies have greater chance to succeed just because of that network of advisors and support," LaLumiere says. Judging from TTEC's track record, that statement bears some truth. Reactive NanoTechnologies, one of TTEC's incubator companies, recently announced an initial round of venture funding in the amount of $2 million.
For more information about TTEC, contact Mike LaLumiere at (925) 735-0803 or visit TTEC's website at www.trivalleytec.org .
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