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Connect Says Springboard Accelerator Program Alumni Raised $291M in 2017

Fifty of the 465 companies that have completed Connect’s Springboard Accelerator program since 2005 collectively raised $291 million in 2017, the organization said in a recently published report on the impact of the program.

Connect has been working with San Diego entrepreneurs since it was launched in the 1980s at UC San Diego. The organization spun out from the university in 2005.

In March, as it does annually, Connect began gathering data about companies that had participated in Springboard, its flagship mentoring program for technology and life science companies. The aim was to determine the impact of the program, which companies completed in an average of six months, based on factors such as how much money the companies had raised and jobs the companies had created.

Connect reached out to survey program alumni directly and used data from other sources, such as private equity and venture capital databases, it said.

Fewer companies raised funds in 2017 than in the past five years, when an average of 86 companies raised money yearly. But the total raised, at $291 million, was significantly higher than the average over the previous five years, which was $144 million annually.

The primary contributor was Brain Corp., which completed Springboard in 2016 and raised $114 million in July of 2017. Nine other companies also raised more than $5 million in 2017.

Of the companies that have completed the program, the organization said it determined that 255 companies, or 55 percent, remained “actively” in business as of the end of 2017. Of its alumni still in business, about half were technology companies; one-third were life sciences companies; and the remainder, 16 percent, were in the consumer products industry.

About two-thirds, or 308 companies of the companies that went through the program, had raised $1.95 billion in cumulative capital. Of those, Connect said 30 had raised “substantial” amounts.

A total of 35 have been acquired while a dozen merged with another private company or went public, the organization said.

Reach reporter Sarah de Crescenzo at sarahd@sdbj.com.


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