Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or a hobbyist building a better mousetrap in your basement, Pasadena offers organizations that are dedicated to helping you on your journey to Zuckerberg-style market dominance. Here’s our guide to the best resources for small-business startups.
City of Pasadena
Business Services Section
100 N. Garfield Ave., Room N106, Pasadena
626.744.4166, ci.pasadena.ca.us/Finance/License, tinyurl.com/3jts8oa
For a step by step to-do list for your start-up, visit the City of Pasadena comprehensive how-to website and then make a beeline for City Hall. Business licenses in the city vary in price depending on the type of business/number of employees; if you’re operating a home-based business, you’ll need to fill out a questionnaire to determine your Pasadena tax liability.
Pasadena City College Extended Learning
1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Room D108, Pasadena
PCC’s Extended Learning program can fill in some of those pesky knowledge gaps that entrepreneurs quickly identify once the Big Idea comes to fruition. Its online offerings (through Ed2Go at $95 each) include Accounting Fundamentals, Quickbooks Payroll, Creating a Business Plan and Business Law.
Pasadena Enterprise Center
1015 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena
Small start-ups looking for affordable office space might consider the Pasadena Enterprise Center. The facility provides services such as fax and copier, conference rooms and referrals for technical assistance. It also hosts live seminars on small business topics such as and sponsorship for PCC’s online courses.
Business Technology Center of Los Angeles County
2400 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena
Altadena’s Business Technology Center is one of the largest tech incubators in California, with a 40,000-square-foot technology center featuring 63 individual offices. However, if you want to find a home for your mousetrap business here, it had better be pretty snazzy. Tenancy is available by application only to firms that meet the stringent requirements of the L.A. Community Development Commission owners with “evident and apparent growth prospects” and a clear tech orientation.
JPL Business Opportunities Office
4800 Oak Grove Dr., M/S 190-205, Pasadena
If you’re a small business owner who has daydreamed about cracking the code to JPL subcontracting, get in touch with JPL’s Business Opportunities Office. The office manages JPL’s small business and supplier diversity program and will be hosting an informational Small Business Round Table on August 9th.
Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative (PBC)
2265 E. Foothill Blvd., East Pasadena
Direct all of those entrepreneurial chemists and biologists in your life to PBC, a life-science business incubator that was founded in 2004 to support the San Gabriel biotech industry. It offers a shared-use wetlab facility at as well as technical assistance, classes and access to advisors and lab technicians.
Chef’s Center of California
45 N. San Gabriel Blvd., East Pasadena
If Grandma’s vintage recipe book is your business inspiration, check out Chef’s Center. The facility offers 2,000 square feet of gorgeous licensed food preparation space along with commercial appliances and professional assistance, all for a low hourly rate. And you can sample the wares of current Chef’s Center entrepreneurs at its weekly Friday Night Food Fair and Artisanal Marketplace (Fridays through October; 6-9 p.m.).
INVESTORS & ANGELS
The Pasadena area is no stranger to tech startups—it hosts a number of venture and angel funds, each with its own specific goals and funding requirements. If your business is ready for an early funding cycle, consider the following sources of equity investment. Bear in mind that successful applicants are usually sophisticated startups with a scalable technology or scientific focus.
199 S. Los Robles Ave., Ste. 535, Pasadena
Arcturus’ primary focus is early-stage technology companies. The illustrious John D. Baldeschwieler, Caltech prof and National Medal of Science winner is affiliated with both Arcturus and the Athenaeum Fund (below). Arcturus accepts submission of business plans via e-mail.
The Athenaeum Fund
3100 E. Foothill Blvd., 2nd Fl., East Pasadena
The Athenaeum Fund is supported by 65 individual investors and provides seed funding to emerging Southern California technology companies, often those associated with Caltech, JPL and Pasadena’s Biotech Corridor. Contact founder and managing member Malcolm Cloyd for more information. Dr. Baldeschwieler (above) is the other managing member of the fund.
California Technology Ventures
670 N. Rosemead, Ste. 201, East Pasadena
California Technology Ventures operates with a small team of directors and invests primarily in life sciences and information and communications technology startups. It currently accepts business plans via e-mail from companies that meet its investment criteria.
130 W. Union St., Old Pasadena
The best known of Pasadena’s venture funds, Bill Gross’s Idealab was founded in 1996 and has created and funded more than 75 companies, including Picasa and Citysearch. Idealab doesn’t accept business plans through its website and is more likely to respond to submissions that have been vetted by its business associates.
2400 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena
No phone, pasadenaangels.com
Individual members belonging to this nonprofit established in 2000 invest in entrepreneurial companies; since its inception, the Angels have invested in over 50 companies and accept applications via their website.