San Diego Business Journal

Startup San Diego, a non-profit formed by a group of tech entrepreneurs, has spun off a month-long incubator program to run in conjunction with its 2020’s event “San Diego Startup Month.”

Led by local entrepreneur Chris Stanchak, the incubator program was launched in partnership with TechStars, a global startup network.

“The whole point of startup month is to help companies and create a community for people to connect in the entrepreneurial world right here in San Diego. It dawned on us that we have a unique opportunity to go a step beyond this and super-focus all of this ability on a few chosen startups,” said Stanchak. “Our goal with the incubator is to focus this collective knowledge in a way that will positively impact the trajectory of the participating startups.”

The organization received more than 50 applications to be part of this year’s cohort.

Helping Early-Stage Startups

In total, roughly 10 early-stage companies will be provided guidance and coaching including support in marketing, legal, and funding, among other areas.

The participants will also conduct public sessions enabling the greater startup community to contribute and bring value in a unique way.

Traditionally, most accelerator programs last several months and require an equity stake from the startups they incubate, Startup San Diego’s program is offered free of charge.

At the end of October, the program will culminate in a virtual demo day, where investors can evaluate the startups’ progress.

The hope is that the entrepreneurs attract both constructive feedback and investment dollars from the experience.

Stanchak could not predict whether this will be an on-going program next year, but described the initial launch as being a dream come true.

“We don’t know what this will look like next year,” said Stanchak. “The hope is that in 10 years, this program will still be running and I can look back and say that I helped get it off the ground. That would be awesome.”

Prior to Startup San Diego, Stanchak served as an early stage advisor at DreamIt Ventures where he helped launch their accelerator program in 2008. During his time, he mentored startups including payment company Venmo and digital platform LevelUp which was later acquired by GrubHub for $390 million in 2018.

He is also the co-founder and chief executive at Loveseat.com, a San Diego-based returned goods marketplace focused on furniture and other home goods.