Investment center California Tech Innovation Center is having its grand opening Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., offering services to startup companies such as consulting, legal advice, marketing, sales, bookkeeping and office space.
An entrepreneurial competition hosted by CTIC for best new product will also start Aug. 12, running until Dec. 12. The competition is open to anyone in the Valley and will have two divisions, one for those who are 18 years old and younger, and one for those who are 19 and older, said chief operations officer Kevin Gillespie.
CTIC has been at 608 E. Center Ave. in Visalia for about 10 months, and it's an incubator/accelerator business that helps entrepreneurs go from idea to commercialization. It focuses mainly on innovation, renewable energy and agriculture, with agriculture by far as its primary focus, he said.
“We are right in the heartland of agriculture, here in Visalia,” Gillespie said.
The company provides startup capital to new businesses, investing up to $75,000 from a number of venture capitalists CTIC works with for a percentage of company ownership, he said.
The venture capitalists will also be involved in the entrepreneurial competition, along with staff, to review all submissions. While there will be a minimum of two winners announced Jan. 15, Gillespie said there may be more than that, as he expects more than a couple of new ideas and product submissions that are ideal for investment.
“Being a native of Visalia, I just have a lot of faith in the community,” he said.
Prizes for the competition include $1000, submission into CTIC’s incubator program and access to the services it offers, he said.
The company offers a variety of services at per-hour-rates: Mentoring/consulting is $125 an hour, intended for those good at creating products but lacking in business know-how; legal advice is also $125 an hour; bookkeeping is about $75 an hour, marketing is $60 an hour and sales $25 an hour. CTIC can work with someone who can’t afford these rates, investing in the startup for a percentage of ownership, he said.
CTIC also has office space for those who can’t afford it otherwise, charging $250 a month for a cubicle, with all expenses such as utilities included in the price, Gillespie said.
The company is also partnered with MakerBot Industries, producer of 3-D printers. CTIC got involved with 3-D printing to create prototypes as cheaply as possible, he said. Designs can be submitted to be recreated by staff or people can come in and use the printers themselves, with 25 cents charged per cubic centimeter and a $12.50 minimum charge.
CTIC also sells 3-D printers. It has reached out to schools in Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties to add 3-D printers as they are great learning tools, Gillespie said. The company sells 3-D printers starting at $2,900, with added discount for schools.
Because the printers are fairly new in California, the company offers free training on use with the purchase of one, he said. The company also offers classes in 3-D printing to the general public as well, at $125 for a class that takes less than a day, he said.
Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander