ORANGE COUNTY, CA–(OC Register, January 25, 2015) – Entrepreneur Gareth Forde is spending the next four to six months trying to get his product, a wearable device for expectant moms, to consumers.
It’s an ambitious goal for his startup, Tiny Kicks, which is barely one year old. But the medical doctor by day is hopeful his firm’s recent acceptance by EvoNexus, a tech incubator that promises industry connections and mentoring, will help him and his team hit that deadline.
Still, it’s not lost on the Orange County OB/GYN that merely being in an incubator does not necessarily guarantee success. Roughly half of new businesses go belly up after five years, according to Census Bureau data. The chances for startups, a category of companies with a shorter-term focus on rapid growth, are likely bleaker.
“The overwhelming reality of being in an incubator is it’s only as good as how engaged you are,” said Forde, who drew that advice from friends who had participated in similar programs. “It’s probably one of the biggest drivers of success, the level of work and commitment of (your) team.”
Tiny Kicks – which Forde co-founded with UC Irvine biomedical engineering professor Michelle Khine – is among eight early-stage companies navigating the tricky roads of startup life, from networking to funding, as part of EvoNexus’ inaugural class in Irvine. The incubator, whose backers include Qualcomm and Broadcom, provides office space, mentoring and industry introductions to up-and-coming tech firms at no charge. What backers get in return are possible investment opportunities with the startups.
EvoNexus was launched in 2009 in San Diego and expanded to Orange County this month, setting up shop at the University Research Park, strategically located near UC Irvine.