Inside Business

Cathie Anderson: Davis Roots works to ensure there’s fertile ground for entrepreneurs

canderson@sacbee.comJune 26, 2014 

Davis Roots, a nonprofit business accelerator, is incubating its third class of entrepreneurs.

The goals are to grow the entrepreneurial community in Davis and stop the brain drain that has local college graduates heading to the Silicon Valley for lucrative jobs, said Alex Rossbach, the organization’s general manager. Owners of fledgling start-ups, such as Barobo and The Gift of Education, arrive at 604 2nd St. in late April every year. They bring plenty of questions about intellectual property, accounting, marketing, finding the right personnel and technological challenges.

Over nine months, board members and mentors at Davis Roots make introductions and providing counseling, helping entrepreneurs gain the capital and know-how needed to establish their operations. Rossbach also invites established entrepreneurs from around the region to share their insights. All the services are at no cost to participants.

Davis Roots is banking on finding business ideas that will pay big dividends for the region. It got its start with donations from corporate sponsors, but one of the fledgling startups just might provide a windfall one day.

“We take a small equity stake from each company in the program,” Rossbach said. “We will keep that stake until the exit event, whether it’s acquisition or an IPO. Five to seven years is the typical timeline for that. If we get a large sum of money, it can be used to fund startups. Our eventual goal is to be able to give seed funding to some startups.”

Call The Bee’s Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow her on Twitter @CathieA_SacBee.

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