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Covid News 2024

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Tech Week 2024 showcases Irvine’s startup success

Irvine remains a jobs magnet and a hotbed of big dreams, with more than 17,000 companies, including a third of all Fortune 500 companies, and more than 1,500 startups, according to IT company Tracxn.

Irvine’s global ambition was on display last month at Tech Week, an event that has mushroomed since its inaugural convention in 2023.

With triple the number of sponsors – including major local Irvine companies like Sunstone Management, FivePoint and Irvine Company – this week saw more than double the number of events from last year, highlighted by an investor pitch session and a three-day intensive project. expansion opportunity, a raw materials fair for startups, a wrap party and a family-friendly 5 km fun run (with a virtual option).

Emerging innovators

As fun as all that networking and running was, this was a purposeful week, says Melinda Pang, executive director of Irvine Tech Hub, one of the leading organizers. “It’s about building bridges,” said Pang, who encouraged company founders to highlight their success to inspire investors and budding entrepreneurs.

Speakers at the conference included the inventors of a skateboard adapter that makes skateboarding feel like surfing on land, an anti-inflammatory powdered turmeric drink and an AI-powered accounts receivable system.

“I connected with an amazing network of mentors in Irvine who helped me close important deals and gave me guidance so I didn’t sound like a kid over email,” Patrick Dumas, CEO of Waterborne Skateboards, told the audience of his panel.

Dumas, who founded his company as a UCI sophomore, fell in love with skateboarding in college, despite receiving three tickets for riding around campus. “All I needed was no more than one or two degrees of joint away,” he said. “The law firm where I filed my patents was down the street. The first digital marketing company I worked with was a block away. When I had problems with production, I asked around and sure enough, someone’s neighbor was casting aluminum in South Gate, so they made our first 2,000 units. So you are in a good location.”

That thriving ecosystem helps explain why Irvine today has the highest job-per-employee ratio in the region, plus the fastest job growth in professional services, including computer science and engineering, according to a new UCI report. Local entrepreneurs are banking on these trends to continue – further establishing Irvine as a major player in several industries.