Alliance Blog

Alliance Super Connector Strategy Fully Coming to Life: Enlisting 75+ Strategic Partners (and counting)

NOTE: Image above is an incomplete/partial representation of the Alliance partner network to illustrate the breadth and diversity of the ecosystem collaborators we work with. We could not list all of them on this ‘slide’ due to space constraints (which is a great problem to have ;-).

As an entrepreneur building something new, we often latch on to sound bites that we think best represent what we are trying to accomplish.  Eighteen months ago I published a blog post that attempted to try to explain how a small startup not for profit could truly have an impact on the massive and diverse ecosystem that defines SoCal.  The good news is that sometimes you get it right.  The essence of my thesis was the Alliance needed to be a strategic super-connector as I explained then and which I’ll share here for convenience:

“By having a high-level architectural view of the entire region, the Alliance will have its greatest impact by acting as a strategic convener and matchmaker; putting players together who have complementary capabilities but share common objectives. It is only by having a holistic and broad view of the region and its strengths that we can facilitate the alignment of assets and players across the ecosystem. . . . . .

The Alliance can, indeed, move mountains — but not alone. We are engaging and aligning strategic partners to advance and accelerate their innovation agendas by better capitalizing on what the SoCal ecosystem has to offer  . . . . We aren’t just a connector but also look to spark powerful new collaborations that produce game-changing innovation initiatives. It is through this highly leveraged approach that we believe a small not-for-profit like the Alliance can indeed move mountains.”

I often say that the Alliance helps weave the rich innovation fabric that defines this amazing region: aligning the vertical threads within key stakeholder groups (academia, corporate, VC and community organizations) and then interconnecting them across these groups in hopes of instigating important collaborations.  This strategy only works once you have assembled critical mass in each stakeholder group; I believe we at the Alliance are now reaching that critical tipping point with more than 75 partnerships/formal collaborators where our impact can be felt across a significant population of the innovation ecosystem — that being said, like any good party we believe “the more, the merrier” so please reach out if you want to get more involved in our work. Here’s a brief summary of the collaborations we have formed:

  • 20 leading corporations including Disney, Warner, Amgen, Edwards, Lilly, Edison, Verizon, Cubic, etc.
  • 30 not for profit & community organizations with 15 in our SoCal Leadership Council including CLA-OC, BioSciencesLA, Biocom, Octane, Connect, LAEDC, Comotion, etc.
  • 10 Top Academic Research institutions: all the UC’s, USC, Caltech, Claremont Colleges, ASU & USD.
  • 15 VCs/CVC including Upfront, March, TenOneTen, M13, Bonfire, Calibrate, Smash, and others.

In our recent Alliance Annual meeting, we also added key leaders to our governance structure:

New to our Board of Directors

Todd Brinton, Chief Scientific Officer @ Edwards Life Sciences
Tony Driscoll,  Senior Vice President, Emerging & Production Technologies @WarnerMedia 
Drew Murphy, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development @Edison International 
Larry W. Sonsini, Senior and Founding Partner @ Wison Sonsini (also Chair of Corporate Advisory Council)

New to our Advisory Councils

Anna Barber, Partner @m13 (Vice-Chair VC Council)
Rachna Khosla, Vice President Business Development @Amgen
Ajay Nirula, Vice President, Immunology @Lilly Research Laboratories
Kara Nortman, Managing Partner @Upfront Ventures (Chair of VC Council)
David Whelan, Sr VP Chief Scientist @Cubic Corporation

Now that we are achieving critical mass, we are focused on bringing key leaders together to share best practices, develop new collaboration and initiate high-impact programs.  We are excited about SoCal Venture Pipeline brought to you by Silicon Valley Bank, as well as the regional innovation branding work developed by a consortium of leading organizations, and ongoing work to better map & inventory diverse and compelling innovation assets and resources. Certainly much more to come!