Valley Ventures helps entrepreneurs earn millions of dollars

Submitted by Geoff Thurner, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Fresno State University

In its first year, the Valley Ventures Accelerator has helped 25 companies attract $10 million in sales and $9 million in investment capital. Participating companies include founders from Fresno as well as Chile, Brazil, and South Korea, with many continuing to maintain business relationships throughout the Central Valley.

The three-year program is coordinated by the International Center for Water Technology at Fresno State and provides guidance on sales, marketing, distribution and venture capital for emerging companies in the water, agriculture and energy technology fields.

Funding was made possible by a $500,000 federal grant through the Regional Innovation Strategies i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support Grants competition and the BlueTechValley innovation cluster funded by the California Energy Commission.

Companies accepted into the program must demonstrate the potential to have region and industry economic impact, along with the ability to improve the efficient use of scarce natural resources. Other evaluation criteria include commercial value, environmental impact, fundability, leadership, potential return, personnel skills and scalability.

The previous cohort’s 13 companies included Agri-logix, AjO, Azadi, BioFiltro, BLH Aguatech, BoxPower, HerdDogg, Map Thread, Re-Nuble, Spooky Action, Sweep Energy, Tiny Farms and Waterfind.

“We look forward to continuing to attract a diverse group of new technologies,” said project coordinator Benjamin Francis. “The spring cohort showed great potential and included products and services that addressed problems such as renewable energy for disadvantaged communities, sustainable wastewater treatment, manufacturer equipment optimization, and even a sustainable alternate protein farming method involving crickets.”

One company, HerdDogg, used the campus farm to test its dairy cow ear tag technology that is also found in 10 states and in Australia, Brazil and Norway.

The unit sensor uploads physiological and GPS location data to the cloud online storage provider so managers can better track and monitor health and activity throughout the dairy.

The company’s founder and CEO, Melissa Brandao, fits the entrepreneurial pedigree that the cohort is trying to attract. She has worked the past decade on the development of specialty agriculture technologies; was the first female to found an electric vehicle company; and was one of 32 entrepreneurs and companies invited to participate in a White House Demo Day event in 2015.

“HerdDogg’s passion for animal welfare has helped the company enjoy a successful start, and is now looking to scale sales and increase its strategic activities with dairies throughout California,” Francis said. “HerdDogg utilized the Valley Ventures program to assist with improving sales, building a sales team, and raising a second round of funding.”

The Valley Ventures Accelerator is now accepting applications through August 1 for its third cohort.

The three-month cohort will select eight to 12 companies to participate in three, two-day sessions starting in September. The fall session will culminate in a final open-pitch demonstration in November to the public, industry members, campus faculty and staff and potential investors.

Participants will take part in exercises and learning modules led by professionals, investors, industry experts, successful entrepreneurs and target consumers. Guest speakers will also offer advice about the evolution of their successful companies at similar stages of customer and venture capital development.

For more information on the program, visit http://www.valleyventures.org or contact Benjamin Francis at 559.270.7121 or bfrancis@mail.fresnostate.edu.

 

https://campusnews.fresnostate.edu/july-16-2018/valley-ventures-helps-entrepreneurs-earn-millions-of-dollars

 

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(From left:) HerdDogg employee, Aaron Andrade; Ronaldo Brandao, Melissa Brandao’s husband; Ben Francis, project coordinator; and HerdDogg CEO/entrepreneur Melissa Brandao at the campus dairy.

HVAC company expands in Central Valley

 

  • Legacy Air opens new Bakersfield operation
  • “Legacy Air … now is entering a new phase of growth”

The Brea-based HVAC service company known as Legacy Air is expanding its footprint in the Central Valley with the opening of a new office in Bakersfield. Legacy opened a Sacramento office earlier.

“Legacy Air has grown significantly since the company was founded and now is entering a new phase of growth with our expansion in Hawaii and throughout California,” says Jay Parker, president and founder of Legacy Air.

The new Central Valley office in Bakersfield is Legacy Air’s fifth  in the state. At present, the company also has California branches in San Diego, Orange County, and in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas. The new office will support the growing demand for Legacy Air’s services in California as well the needs of service technicians in the field.

Donovan Taylor has been named service manager at the new Bakersfield office. Mr. Taylor brings more than 17 years of experience in the HVAC service profession to his new role. He first joined Legacy Air in 2017 after being a college instructor, entrepreneur and residential HVAC professional in Bakersfield. In February 2018, he became an interim service manager in Los Angeles.

Legacy Air’s technicians work on HVAC, refrigeration, kitchen equipment and preventive maintenance projects for customers ranging from restaurants to cell towers to big box and convenience stores.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/7c50265a-10cb-4df9-b11e-d4e32028c22d.pdf

Hanford gives preliminary OK to Faraday

 

  • City issues a temporary certificate of occupancy
  • “Building my dream … that will change the way people view transportation”

Hanford has approved a temporary certificate of occupancy for the factory that is to make the all-electric Faraday Future vehicles.

Faraday expects its model FF 91 to start rolling off the Hanford assembly line by the end of the year. The lease for the 1-million square foot site was signed in August 2017, with major cleanup and infrastructural preparation continuing through the first part of last month when the building permit was given and the contractor signed to lead the construction project.

The TCO is the first step in final approval required from a municipality’s building and safety inspectors before a new occupant can fully take over a site or structure, move in, and start their intended activities full-time as a running business.

“This first TCO, specifically allowing ramp-up for assembly of our FF 91 prototypes in the most finished part of the Hanford site, is a real step forward,” says Faraday Senior VP of Manufacturing Dag Reckhorn.

“The Hanford location is ideal for both Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area for deliveries, among other benefits,” says Faraday Future Founder and Global CEO Y.T. Jia. “It is exciting for me as an entrepreneur to begin with this small step in building my dream of creating the next-generation mobility products that will change the way people view transportation.”

FF Hanford is applying for the Conditional Certificate of  Occupancy (CCO), and then the final Certificate of Occupancy (COO) for the first FF 91s. The Hanford plant is expected to create between 1,000 and 1,300 new jobs in the Central Valley when it reaches full operating capacity, the company says.

The company says its FF 91 is an all-purpose fully-connected EV with an estimated 0-60 mph acceleration of under three seconds and an expected range of 300+ miles.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/86dab1c4-e674-483b-8cfe-b766d6d48fef.pdf

KATERRA TO OPEN NEW ADVANCED MANUFACTURING FACTORY

 

Facility for Manufacturing Building Components to Be Located in California’s Central Valley

Menlo Park, CA – July, 2018 – Katerra, a technology company redefining the construction industry, today announced its plans to open a new advanced manufacturing factory in Tracy, Calif., where it will produce building components including wall panels, floor systems, roof truss assemblies, windows, cabinets and finishes. Manufacturing of building components in a factory setting allows for rapid assembly at the job site, significantly reducing construction time, costs and waste while improving quality.

Katerra is expanding its U.S. operations as it delivers on $3.7 billion in new build project bookings. With its new 577K square foot factory, Katerra’s manufacturing presence in Tracy will add more than 500 jobs. This new manufacturing facility will complement Katerra’s existing California operations, including its headquarters in Menlo Park and office in San Francisco.

“Establishing a manufacturing presence in the Central Valley made sense to efficiently serve the West Coast market while gaining access to talent to operate advanced robotic equipment,” said Michael Marks, chairman and co-founder of Katerra. “We’re excited to be adding jobs to California’s economy as we apply technology to deliver high-quality buildings faster.”

Katerra’s integrated factory model seamlessly connects building design to the factory floor and job site. Compared to its first factory located in Phoenix, Ariz., Katerra’s next generation plant will be an advanced manufacturing facility with significantly more automation. The operation will include fully automated wood frame wall production lines, automated floor lines, automated cabinet and finish areas, automated roof truss lines, an automated window line and a light gauge steel production line. The factory will be able to produce, on an annual basis, the equivalent of 12,500 multifamily units.

“We are very excited about the economic impact that Katerra will bring to the City of Tracy and the region,” stated City of Tracy Mayor, Robert Rickman. “Tracy’s proximity to workforce talent, affordable land, and state-of-the-art building opportunities, provide a business supportive environment for advanced manufacturing companies such as Katerra to thrive. I would like to welcome Katerra to the City of Tracy and thank them for ‘Thinking Inside the Triangle’.”

Additional facts and figures about Katerra’s Tracy factory include:

 The new facility will be strategically located near rail, shipping ports and freeways

 To support the factory’s operation, more than 500 jobs will be created in San Joaquin County, which is designated by the state as a high unemployment area

 Production is slated to begin in 2019

In addition to its factories in Arizona and California, Katerra is constructing a mass timber manufacturing facility in Spokane, Wash., which will produce cross-laminated timber wall panels and floor systems when it comes online in 2019. Katerra’s near-term manufacturing expansion plans for the U.S. includes three more building components factories to serve the South and East Coast markets, as well as another mass timber production facility to be located in the Southeast.

About Katerra

Katerra is a technology company optimizing every aspect of building development, design, and construction. With leaders from the most groundbreaking technology, design, manufacturing and construction companies, Katerra transforms how buildings and spaces come to life. Founded in 2015, Katerra has a growing number of domestic and international offices, factories and building projects. For more information, visit www.katerra.com.

Media Contact:

Robin Clewley | VP, Marketing & Communications, Katerra

Robin.clewley@katerra.com

 

Three new-to-Fresno restaurants to bring Korean fried chicken, giant sandwiches, more

July 09, 2018 

California Trade Report for May 2018

Below are highlights from the recently released trade data from the US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis. To view additional data and analysis related to the California economy visit our website at www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

Share of Goods Through US Ports
18.4%
CA Share of Total Trade
Through US Ports

Total US goods trade (exports and imports) through California ports edged down to 18.40% (12 month moving average; compared to 18.44% in Apr 2018 and 18.43% in May 2017).

California remained the #1 state, ahead of Texas with 17.07% (compared to 16.99% in Apr 2018 and 16.61% in May 2017). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 29.47% (compared to 29.44% in Apr 2018 and 29.7% in May 2017).

The state’s continued lead in this area forms the trade-related base for one of California’s largest centers of middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Transportation & Warehousing alone provided 579,800 jobs in May (up from 559,000 in May 2017), paying an average annual salary of $54.5k. This employment base in turn supports additional blue-collar and white-collar jobs in a range of other industries.

California Goods Exports Increase
$1.7
Billion in Exports

Total California goods exports were up $1.7 billion from May 2017 (up 12.6%). California remained in 2nd place with 11.03% of all US goods exports (12 month moving total), behind Texas at 17.74%.

California’s Balance of Goods Trade
-$22.1
Billions of Goods Trade

California’s balance of goods trade through state businesses narrowed to -$22.1 billion, compared to a level of -$23.7 billion in May 2017. California trade accounted for 31% of the US trade deficit in goods in May 2018.

Top 10 Exports, May 2018
Top 10 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from May 2017.

By shipping weight (vessel and air total), the leading export was Petroleum & Coal Products at 1.1 billion kg (35% of total exports), followed by Waste And Scrap at 0.9 billion kg (29%), and Food & Kindred Products at 0.3 billion kg (9%).

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Top 10 Export Markets, May 2018
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Closer Look: California’s Trade With China
China and Hong Kong combined accounted for about 16% of the exports originating in the state (produced here or bundled for export here) in both 2017 and 2018 (for the 12 months ending in May in both years), while countries with which US has trade agreements (including NAFTA) accounted for about 41% in 2018, up slightly from 39% in 2017.  Overall exports to China and Hong Kong grew only 2.2% in the last 12 months, compared to 10.1% growth for all Trade Agreement Partners combined.
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By value, Top 12 Exports to China & Hong Kong for the 12 months ending May 2018 are shown below.
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http://cbrtcfj.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/j/C95DAAF4183765B92540EF23F30FEDED/70DD5D838DBEFE94DCC9454293137CA2

Employers needed in Kings County for subsidized workers

CVBT

July 11, 2018

• Program takes care of workers comp and other expenses
• “The participants that have been sent my way want to work and are willing to learn”

Public and non-profit agencies in Kings County that need more workers but don’t have the money might be able to get help
from a subsidized workforce of individuals who have been affected by recent natural disasters.

The program is also open to private firms that have positions available that are specifically for clean-up and repair of a public
or private non-profit facility. It’s being managed by Proteus Inc., a Hanford-based private non-profit community-based organization has received
$185,868 in funding for it from La Cooperativa de Campesina .

Currently, Proteus is partnering with the city of Hanford’s public works department and has placed 20 workers within the
department. “Having the extra help to address work duties is helpful beyond words,” says Tim Breashers, parks and grounds superintendent
with Kings County Public Works. “The participants that have been sent my way want to work and are willing to learn.”

Proteus will handle payroll functions and cover workers compensation costs. Prevailing wages are paid to all participants. Other agencies participating in the program include Kings County public works, Corcoran public works, and Lemoore public works.

“I would like to emphasize that Proteus recruits the participants, handles all the paperwork and payroll functions,” says Araceli
Ochoa of Proteus. “This is a fantastic opportunity to assist individuals to connect with work and at the same time help
improve our local communities. All the worksites are required to be in Kings County.”

Low-income individuals who live in Kings County and who are temporarily or permanently laid off work as a consequence of a
natural disaster are eligible as are self-employed individuals who became unemployed or significantly underemployed as a
result of the disaster.

Kings County has been recognized as an area that is at risk for a flood post drought. This program is designed to provide
temporary employment for those residents who have been unemployed due to the disaster or long-term unemployed as a
result of previous disasters, as well as provide relief for local organizations to assist in clean-up and/or repair of the site, a
Proteus spokesman explains in an email to CVBT.

Each worker will have a worksite agreement for up to six months or $14,000, whichever comes first, he adds. The program is set to end September 30, “however Proteus is hopeful for an extension.” Additional worksites are needed in order to achieve program goals and help local residents. For more information contact
Petra Solano at (559) 582-9253.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/7b013146-866d-4dfa-b9be-e63b09dfa4c6.pdf

Tree Fresno breathing new life into an empty lot in Southwest Fresno

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space.

The process involves a few steps– first is making sure that the ground is level. Then you take the tree out of the pot. You score it, put in the ground, cover it with dirt and repeat– 452 Times.

Thanks to grant funded by the High Speed Rail Authority, the non-profit is able to accomplish this feat. They will be planting Ginkgo Biloba, Scarlet Oak, and other trees on the 24 acre space along Annadale Avenue, next to West Fresno Middle School.

CEO of Tree Fresno Lee Ayres said, “They are going to help with the air quality, these are large trees so that overtime they can absorb up to three tons of carbon.”

Ayres said the project will have a lasting impact on the community. In the future the location might serve as the new site for a school. It will also provide tons of shade, a new gathering space and will encourage more people to go outside.

“When I come out and check this place early in the morning, like six in the morning on a Saturday, there are people out here working out.”

Eryn Roberts, who recently moved to Fresno, saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to her community.

“It is definitely hot out here but it is really good enjoying getting to plant trees and seeing this new area, I’ve never been on this side of Fresno before.”

The non-profit will be planting trees from 8:00 a.m. to noon until the 12th, and they said the need all the help they can get.

Old Visalia Mall bank will be demolished, replaced with new building

An old bank and seasonal Halloween store that’s part of the Visalia Mall will soon transform into something new.

An old bank and seasonal Halloween store that’s part of the Visalia Mall will soon transform into something new.

“I was shocked,” mall patron Brittney Krum said. “I didn’t know they were going to knock the building down, but it’s nice that they’re going to be building something new.”

Visalia Mall General Manager Rick Feder says the building hasn’t been the right fit for a retailer.

But now someone is interested in the space, so it will be demolished within the next few weeks.

The new 5,000 square-foot building will be under construction by the beginning of 2019.

Feder says the project falls in line with the mall’s goal of connecting with customers through entertainment such as their new Food Truck Fridays event, restaurants like Blaze Pizza, and new retail additions like Macy’s Backstage, the store’s second-floor outlet.

“It creates excitement,” Feder said. “It keeps customers at the mall longer and engaged for a longer period of time. It’s all giving back to the customers what they want.”

Feder can’t say who the new tenant or tenants are just yet, even though he knows there are passionate opinions about what retailer or restaurant should open here.

“I think it’d be nice to see a Chick-fil-A here just because there isn’t one in Visalia and I really like them,” Krum said.

Javi’s Tacos is under construction inside the mall food court.

Valley based juice shop looking to hire employees for new Fresno location

A Valley based juice shop is expanding and looking for new employees.

A Valley-based juice shop is expanding and looking for new employees.

Re-Invent Juicery is opening a store at Fig Garden Village next to CVS. The shop uses local and all-natural ingredients to make their cold press juices. Customers can also indulge in blended drinks and acai bowls.

It is their fourth location in the Fresno-Clovis area since they first opened for business in 2015. However, they did shut down their location on Ashlan and Fowler last month.

Re-Invent Juicery is currently hiring for their new location and is hoping to open on July 20th.