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News From the East Bay Green Corridor

Green Corridor Announces Collaboration with Wavepoint

It’s a perfect match. The Green Corridor seeks out promising cleantech entrepreneurs from the region and Wavepoint Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, then matches them with experienced mentors to help develop the next generation of market-leading companies.  

“There’s a number of talented entrepreneurs in a variety of regions across Northern California,” explained Peter Gardner, one of three managing directors at Wavepoint. “In our judgment, many of these entrepreneurs are underserved by the VC community.” This neglect played a role in creating the new Green Corridor–Wavepoint Mentoring Program. “We recognized that we needed some sort of partnership mechanism to identify these companies in these communities, and so we decided to work with partners like the East Bay Green Corridor,” said Gardner.

After selecting two or three entrepreneurs, Wavepoint then executes its unique mentoring approach. “We really are developing custom-built mentoring programs for each entrepreneur based on where they are in the life cycle of their company, the markets they’re going after, and their specific needs,” said Gardner. Those needs may include finding strategic partners, assembling a management team or searching for funding. Wavepoint itself may also consider investing in these companies.

With their investment experience in cleantech reaching as far back as the nineties, the Wavepoint partners have extensive personal networks in the industry. This enables them to identify mentors with specific industry knowledge or market experience that meets the specialized needs of each entrepreneur in the program.

Initial Response

Although the ultimate measure of success—the degree to which entrepreneurs build thriving companies, raise capital or make successful exits—requires years to determine, Gardner was able to point to several benefits already realized through the young program. Participants have found that their mentors have helped them advance their business strategies. Wavepoint discovers new investments and extends its geographic reach in an efficient way that it cannot accomplish alone. And as for the Green Corridor, Gardner said that the program helps “entrepreneurs in places like the East Bay have access to a greater universe of resources, and that helps them have a greater likelihood of success.” And that success brings value to the entire community.

For more information about the mentoring program or to apply for participation, please contact Green Corridor director Carla Din at carla@eastbayeda.org or (510) 272-3889.


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