Bill Harrison
Mayor of Fremont

In the spirit of Super Bowl 50, what better way to celebrate than with an evening of great food, entertainment, and the opportunity to mingle with a few football greats? And that’s exactly what nearly 120 guests did on the evening of Friday, February 5, …

In the spirit of Super Bowl 50, what better way to celebrate than with an evening of great food, entertainment, and the opportunity to mingle with a few football greats?

And that’s exactly what nearly 120 guests did on the evening of Friday, February 5, at Legends of the Bay. This event celebrated the Fremont Family Resource Center, a one-stop shop centrally located in Fremont, bringing together 24 state, county, City of Fremont, and nonprofit organizations. Additionally, we celebrated the growing momentum in the Fremont Innovation District in Warm Springs, home to a number of high-profile businesses and BART’s next station in the extension to San Jose. The 880-acre mixed-use Innovation District has been a massive project in the making, with the goal of bringing awareness to Fremont’s rapidly growing cluster of advanced manufacturing and cleantech companies such as Delta Corporation, Lam Research, Tesla Motors and Thermo Fisher, among others.

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Guests mingled with football legends who not only call the Bay Area home, but are also huge supporters of the Fremont Family Resource Center and all that it does for our community. This lineup included Charles Haley (five-time Super Bowl Champion), Eric Wright (four-time Super Bowl Champion), Mike Wilson (four-time Super Bowl Champion), John Taylor (three-time Super Bowl Champion), and Cliff Branch (three-time Super Bowl Champion), pictured below with his bling. Event emcee Renel Brooks-Moon was right at home with these World Champions in the room. Renel has been broadcasting iconic sports moments to local fans for over two decades, and since 2000 has been the voice of the San Francisco Giants as the public address announcer for 40,000 fans a night at AT&T Park.

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While the purpose of the event was to celebrate these football legends, we also took a page from Hollywood’s playbook and showcased a couple of videos featuring the Fremont Family Resource Center back story and the Fremont Innovation District, which outlined how far Fremont has come and the steps we’re taking to be strategically urban. We appreciate Delta Corporation’s opening its doors and allowing us to hold this special event in its new headquarters located in the Innovation District.

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Attendees showed their support throughout the evening, bidding on silent auction items, as well as participating in a live auction, with successful bidders winning pro sports packages, family fun and great adventures, date nights, etc. All in all, we raised $56,000, which will go toward improving and maintaining our Family Resource Center so it can continue to seamlessly connect families and individuals to the services they need most, when they may not have other resources readily available.

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Category: Fremont General



Kelly Kline
Economic Development Director & Chief Innovation Officer

This piece titled “Software eats manufacturing (and manufacturing gains)” by Mark Muro, Kelly Kline and Bruce Katz was posted on the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program website on February 5, 2016. It’s been five years since the venture capitalist Ma…

This piece titled “Software eats manufacturing (and manufacturing gains)” by Mark Muro, Kelly Kline and Bruce Katz was posted on the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program website on February 5, 2016.

It’s been five years since the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen quipped that “software is eating the world,” meaning that all of the digital tools and platforms needed to transform industries through software finally worked and were doing that. To prove his point Andreessen ticked off a long list of mostly consumer-facing service industries like bookselling, music, telecom, and air travel that were being productively disrupted. Though he noted that the global economy would soon be “fully digitally wired” he didn’t have as much to say about the manufacturing sector.

However, waves of digitization have been coursing through the manufacturing sector as well, creating new opportunities. Digital technologies are rapidly transforming the design, production, operation, and use of items as diverse as cars, workout clothes, and light bulbs. The changes have huge implications for industries and places, workers, and entrepreneurs.

To explore these implications, the Metro Program, in partnership with the city of Fremont, Calif., convened its second advanced industries regional workshop last week in Silicon Valley—the world focal point for the digitization of everything.

Such digitization is now so ubiquitous as to practically define the nation’s critical advanced industries sector, including manufacturing.

Therefore, the session brought together two dozen industry executives, entrepreneurs, investors, scholars, and economic development officials to tour an emblematic factory (Tesla Motors); discuss the latest trends in the Silicon Valley manufacturing ecosystem; and parse their implications for companies, regions, and the U.S. economy. Many, many trends were raised and assessed during the day’s discussions on the campus of Seagate Technology, in the former Solyndra solar factory, but a short list of compelling conclusions with broad implications came into focus.

See more at:  http://goo.gl/qlNjDZ

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Fremont Startup Grind Digest: Andrew Ponec and Preetish Nijhawan



Shilpi Sharma
Director of Fremont Startup Grind

At the first Startup Grind event of the New Year on January 19th, Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures talked about his experiences as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Nijhawan shared many of his funny, painful, and interesting p…

At the first Startup Grind event of the New Year on January 19th, Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures talked about his experiences as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Nijhawan shared many of his funny, painful, and interesting personal stories about funding startups.

At the end, he provided three lessons that entrepreneurs across all industries can apply:

   1. Be wary of building a business where you have to educate the market

   2. Reduce your burn rate in order to maximize your flexibility

   3. Learn more from your failures then successes 

During the audience Q&A portion of the event, Nijhawan brought up a semi-controversial idea stating that not all startups must have (or should have) VC funding. He encouraged entrepreneurs to think about lifestyle oriented companies that allow for more autonomy without the stresses of public reporting, IPO paperwork, or corporate board management. Sorry you missed it?  No worries, there is another one coming up!

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Shilpi Sharma, Fremont Startup Grind Director and Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures

 

Join us on February 18th to talk with our youngest entrepreneur yet, Andrew Ponec, Cofounder of Dragonfly Systems, about renewable energy, Cleantech incubation, and startups.  Dragonfly System created small electronic devices to improve efficiency and reduce installation costs for large commercial and utility-scale solar power installations. Dragonfly Systems was acquired in 2014 by SunPower Corporation, a US-based solar company, and is currently ramping up the production of the Dragonfly devices. Ponec was also named to Forbes “30 under 30” list in 2014 for his work in solar energy, and is currently focusing on smart buildings, and affordable housing technologies. 

Get your tickets here.

It is never too early to mark your calendar for the next StartupGrind event!

On March 15, 2016, Fremont Grind will feature Aaron Carpenter, Chief Customer Officer at HubNami, a social media management startup.

You can follow Startup Grind Fremont on Twitter, @FremontGrind and Facebook at Startup Grind Fremont.

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Category: Startups

Nothing but Growth on the Horizon for Biomed Companies



Ray Stewart
Founder and Managing Principal of Bay Materials, LLC

To help kick-off the New Year, we recently sat down with Dr. Ray Stewart, founder and managing principal of Bay Materials, LLC, a leader in polymer R&D and product development, that serves companies within the medical device, orthodontic, food packagi…

To help kick-off the New Year, we recently sat down with Dr. Ray Stewart, founder and managing principal of Bay Materials, LLC, a leader in polymer R&D and product development, that serves companies within the medical device, orthodontic, food packaging, and consumer-product industries, among others.

Here’s his take on where the biomed industry is headed, what Fremont has to offer to biomed companies, and his predictions for 2016.

City of Fremont: Some of our readers may not be familiar with Bay Materials. What would you say are the “need-to-knows”?

Ray Stewart: Bay Materials is a materials science-based polymer R&D and product development company providing contract R&D services to high-tech companies in the Bay Area and nationally. We specialize in helping clients rapidly and cost-effectively develop new products that contain a “polymer” or “plastics” component. Some examples include the highly specialized thermoplastic materials used to produce the Invisalign® brand of invisible orthodontic braces, temperature-triggered materials for products like “Pop-Up” cooking timers, medical polyurethanes for products like medical splints, optical coatings and encapsulates for products like LED light bulbs, and a wide range of other materials — many of which are items used in everyday life.

Fremont: Bay Materials recently relocated to Fremont, can you share any insights into the move?

RS: We relocated to Fremont in 2015 in order to consolidate operations into a custom-designed facility that would serve as the perfect space for us. Fremont has a great industrial base throughout the City and provides us with ready access to a wide range of specialty manufacturers and services providers — it’s all one big network.

Fremont: Are there any recent challenges you and other companies in this network have had to overcome?

RS: The biggest challenge we’ve seen the past few years is the change in funding sources for early-stage companies that are subject to FDA regulations and longer development cycles — something that’s typical in the biomed industry. To cope, companies are outsourcing efforts that are not as key to their near-term milestones so that they are able to run leaner.

Fremont: Do some of these challenges still hold true? What sort of growth has the industry experienced in the past year?

RS: With the Great Recession firmly behind us and the U.S. economy now improving at a steady rate, the biomed and related industries have started to once again grow at a rapid rate. We are seeing a corresponding growth in hiring, especially locally — right here in Fremont. We predict this trend will continue throughout 2016 and into the foreseeable future. The ability to hire locally is especially important, so local governments need to focus as much attention as possible on helping to meet that need.

Fremont: Besides support from local government, are there any factors that are pivotal to capitalizing on this expected growth?

RS: Facility startup, permitting, and the ability to start operations quickly are key factors. Looking out longer term, we expect that there will be a much larger need for trained and highly specialized employees who are locally based. The combination of long commute times and high housing prices is making staffing more difficult, so these are definitely considerations moving forward. 

 

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Richard Lucero: We're not doing enough to control misuse of guns



Richard Lucero
Chief of the Fremont Police Department

As the curators for the business blog, Takes From Silicon Valley East, we would like to depart from our usual focus on industry sectors, real estate activity, and metropolitan policy to hone in on an issue we all must consider, the impact of gun violence.…

As the curators for the business blog, Takes From Silicon Valley East, we would like to depart from our usual focus on industry sectors, real estate activity, and metropolitan policy to hone in on an issue we all must consider, the impact of gun violence.  It is personally important to each of us because the mounting losses are incomprehensible and damaging to our community fabric.  It is also important to us as economic development professionals as we seek to grow our cities in healthy and productive ways.  Fremont’s police chief has weighed in on the issue, outlining common sense solutions to tackling the problem.  We are sharing his opinion, published today in the San Jose Mercury News, to inspire a broader public dialogue, and shared responsibility in reversing this troubling trend.

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Photo: The U.S. Capitol Dome under restoration -  January 2016.  

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Category: Fremont General

Capturing a Moment in Time: Fremont 60th Anniversary Celebration



Bill Harrison
Mayor of Fremont

  On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the City of Fremont went all out and commemorated one of our City’s biggest milestones yet – its 60th anniversary. This important and celebratory day featured a time capsule ceremony, as well as a festive community picnic…

 

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the City of Fremont went all out and commemorated one of our City’s biggest milestones yet – its 60th anniversary. This important and celebratory day featured a time capsule ceremony, as well as a festive community picnic.

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As I looked out at the crowd of faces who make up our one-of-a-kind community, I couldn’t help but feel proud of all that Fremont has accomplished since its inauguration in 1956. Honestly, it still amazes me that our City was founded just 60 years ago.

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What started out as five individual townships – Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles, and Warm Springs – has evolved into a hub for advanced manufacturing and many other innovative companies. We’re developing into a strategically urban ecosystem complete with excellent schools, unique community programs, an Innovation District, and a future Downtown that will serve as the social heartbeat for our city. 

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Being born and raised in the City of Fremont, I know where our City stood more than 40 years ago, and I’m happy to say that we’ve come a long way since then. Fremont is a place that I am proud to call home. And when I think about my two sons and where they’ll be 40 years from now, I’m reassured knowing that Fremont is a city that they can thrive in. They’ll have the opportunity to get a great education, to hang out with friends Downtown, to establish their careers, and to make a home for their own families. I’m grateful that our youth will be able to build bright futures in Fremont.

To commemorate the City’s 60th anniversary, we wanted to do something that would not only highlight how far Fremont has come, but would paint a picture of our vibrant community as it exists today. We partnered with the City’s Youth Advisory Commission and the Fremont Unified School District, as well as the City’s Human Relations Commission, to assemble a time capsule, which will be installed at the site of what will be our new Downtown and Civic Center. We envision this spot to be a central location and gathering spot for the future Fremont community.

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The time capsule includes a vast array of items, most notably a beautiful collection of student art and essays that represent what Fremont means to our youth, and how they envision Fremont 40 years from now.

When future Fremont residents open the time capsule in 2056, I hope that our city is thriving as an even stronger community because of the foundation that we’ve set today. 

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Category: Fremont General

Why Manufacturing? (Video)



Greg Matter
Executive Vice President, JLL

Regionalization of manufacturing continues to drive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and new jobs nationally, but it’s also crystallizing Silicon Valley’s role in advanced manufacturing. Recall that advanced manufacturing involves processes such as …

Regionalization of manufacturing continues to drive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and new jobs nationally, but it’s also crystallizing Silicon Valley’s role in advanced manufacturing. Recall that advanced manufacturing involves processes such as 3-D printing (or ‘additive manufacturing’ for the real insiders) and complex robotics in order to speed up product development cycles and enhanced customization. Devices that are born out of the Silicon Valley technology ecosystem depend on these characteristics, as well as more reliable supply chains and protecting intellectual property.  

Want to know more?  Take a look at this video, recently produced by JLL’s Advanced Manufacturing Group, and I think you will be as excited as we are about what’s happening in manufacturing both locally and nationally.  

 

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Recovery? What Recovery? Cause for Concern on "Prosperity Island"



Kelly Kline
Economic Development Director & Chief Innovation Officer

Louis Belmonte is known for not mincing his words. And he was true to form at Silicon Valley CREW’s annual forecast event, calling Silicon Valley "an island of prosperity in a sea of stagnation" for the following reasons: The home mortgage "situation" …

Louis Belmonte is known for not mincing his words. And he was true to form at Silicon Valley CREW’s annual forecast event, calling Silicon Valley "an island of prosperity in a sea of stagnation" for the following reasons:

  • The home mortgage "situation" is still a festering problem
  • Median incomes (when adjusted for inflation) are declining
  • Rising numbers of older kids still living at home
  • There are more businesses closing than opening
  • Labor force participation is at 59.5% -- the lowest since the 1970's

Belmonte attributes the stagnation to two main factors -- excessive debt and excessive regulation. On the latter point, he describes federal regulators as attempting to be quarterbacks instead of a more traditional referee role, citing the auto bailout as a prime example.

Inhabitants of Prosperity Island should be cautious of two trends. The first, and more general trend is the slowing of China's economy. While currently not a crisis, Belmonte cited "severe debt problems." More specifically, Belmonte is worried about our local "one-horse economy" and the flow of funds into the Bay Area. Whether you are talking about Initial Public Offerings (I.P.O.'s), corporate buyouts, or Venture Capital investments, there is nervousness to go around based on the increasing complexity of the tech industry.

And, in spite of other major concerns (decreasing home ownership rates, and the "ticking time bomb of public pensions") Belmonte did cite one major ray of optimism. Of all the world economies, the U.S. is best poised to recover. "We are the master of work-arounds" said Belmonte with a smile. 

 

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Category: Fremont General

Fremont Startup Grind Digest: Preetish Nijhawan and Micah Yairi



Shilpi Sharma
Startup Grind Fremont Chapter Director

Don’t miss the first fireside chat for Fremont’s Startup Grind chapter in 2016!  On Tuesday, January 19th Startup Grind’s Fremont chapter kicks off the New Year with Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures. Cervin Ventures focuses on early…

Don’t miss the first fireside chat for Fremont’s Startup Grind chapter in 2016!  On Tuesday, January 19th Startup Grind’s Fremont chapter kicks off the New Year with Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures. Cervin Ventures focuses on early-stage investments for B2B businesses. Nijhawan has many years of experience advising senior executives in hardware, software and telecom industries for McKinsey and Company. In addition to his consulting experience, Nijhawan co-founded Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) in 1998. Most recently, Nijawan was the Chief Financial Officer for Neon Enterprise Software.

Come listen to Nijhawan expand on his experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, and venture capitalist focused on funding early-stage companies. 

Get your tickets here.

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Shilpi Sharma, Fremont Startup Grind Director and Dr. Micah Yairi, Co-Founder and CTO of Tactus Technology

At the last Startup Grind event on December 17th, guest entrepreneur Dr. Micah Yairi, Co-Founder and CTO of Tactus Technology, Inc talked about his professional experiences with an intimate group of attendees.  Yairi shared his experience at Tactus creating the next generation user interface for electronic consumer devices and displays – dynamic touch surfaces that enable buttons to rise up on demand out of the screen. Citing a statistic that 20 percent of iPhone screens eventually crack, he highlighted how Tactus’ technology can come to the rescue with their next-gen keyboards.  

Additionally, Yairi provided valuable insights about his experience working in early stage hardware startups and some important lessons, such as maintaining a primary focus on the user experience and balancing customer outreach with protecting intellectual property. Finally, he stressed the message that any entrepreneur must first convince his or herself about the potential for success before convincing others.

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Derek Anderson, Founder of Startup Grind (3rd from the left) with the Fremont Startup Grind Chapter. 

Can’t make to the next event with Preetish Nijhawan? No worries. Join us on February 18th to talk about renewable energy, the Clean Tech Open, and startups with Andrew Ponec, Co-founder Dragonfly Systems.

As a reminder, stay in contact by following Startup Grind Fremont on Twitter @FremontGrind, and liking us on Facebook at StartupGrindFremont.

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Category: Startups



Erik Steeb
VP of Programs, LACI

The Northern vs. Southern California rivalry may seem natural in some instances (Lakers vs. Warriors anybody?), but does not apply when it comes to cleantech innovation.  As a Bay Area cleantech hub, Fremont recognizes the value of partnerships in this in…

The Northern vs. Southern California rivalry may seem natural in some instances (Lakers vs. Warriors anybody?), but does not apply when it comes to cleantech innovation.  As a Bay Area cleantech hub, Fremont recognizes the value of partnerships in this industry from both far and near.  L.A. Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a renowned innovation hub for early stage clean technologies.  Building on their success in southern California, LACI has established a strategic second location in Silicon Valley, under the name Silicon Valley Cleantech Incubator (SVCI).  And we couldn’t be more thrilled to add them into our local portfolio of innovation assets. 

Q.  Tell us about the LACI Model for incubating cleantech startups.

A. We were founded as part of an economic development effort and built from the ground up to support manufacturing-oriented cleantech startups, which are typically long gestation period, asset intensive businesses. These are often characteristics that incubators, accelerators and investors shy away from. We approach this work expecting to work with them for five years. During this time, we apply a lot of resources, including: turn-key office space; dedicated executives in residence; prototyping resources, “Fundamentals” knowledge resources to educate founders on investment, IP, corporate structure, business model, and design for manufacturability; investment bank-grade investment prep; and access to a worldwide network of investors, partners, pilot demonstrations and prospective customers.

Q. What are you seeing as the latest trends in clean technologies?  Anything dominating the landscape?

A. I don’t see any one thing dominating the landscape but in terms of technologies, we see a lot of momentum in water, transportation, storage and the built-environment. In the area of investment, we see good support from angels and corporate strategic venture arms. We have also spun out a company called CAGIX that will help cleantech businesses link with high net worth individuals, family offices and other accredited investors with a mission driven investment interest.

Q.  Fremont has followed your work closely, given your particular focus on manufacturing.  What resources do you provide to support this activity?

A. At our campus in Los Angeles, we have 30,000 square feet of startup office and convening space, a 9,000 square foot prototyping space with state of the art manufacturing equipment and a 3,000 square foot training center. We’re also co-located with LADWP’s validation labs - that can provide independent validation on efficiency & performance claims – as well as their customer engagement center which includes a technology demonstration area. In the bay area, SVCI is co-located with GSV Labs and the Cleantech Open in a 70,000 square foot facility. We will offer the same programs and development efforts with the exception of the prototyping space, which we hope to build out as we grow.

Q.  What drove the decision to establish SVCI and what does the future look like for this effort?

A.  It’s a natural to want resources in the two biggest markets in the state. LA represents one of the largest cleantech markets in the country for water, built environment and transportation innovation. Silicon Valley has the best innovation and investment resources in the world. Both have outstanding research institutions and a dearth of startups. A presence in either is a great opportunity but the ability to facilitate engagements across both markets is a winning proposition. We’re less than a year in and just getting started in the bay area with four companies in the portfolio to date. And true to our DNA, they are all manufacturing oriented companies. As we grow, we intend to expand our resources to include the world-class prototyping and manufacturing support capabilities similar to what we have in place in LA. We’re very excited about the leadership position that Fremont is taking to support manufacturing and look forward to a strong partnership in that effort.

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Rendering of LACI facility in Los Angeles.

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About

Welcome to our blog – Takes from Silicon Valley East!  Our view is slightly different here on the east side of the bay – from the Mission Peak backdrop to the advanced manufacturing companies that dot our boulevards. As we become more urban and strive to interpret the business issues affecting our innovation economy, we want to share with you our observations, insights, photos, arguments, agreements, inspirations and CEO interviews – and here on our blog is exactly where we plan to do this.

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