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Irvine Company Co-Hosts Open House Heralding San Diego’s Emergence As Hotbed For Next Generation Of High-Tech Firms

Held at Company’s 4225 Executive Square Property in UTC La Jolla, Event Draws More Than 300 Business Leaders and Civic Officials

Heralding San Diego’s emergence as an international high-tech hotbed, more than 300 top business and civic leaders Tuesday night toured an unusual business “incubator” that is currently mentoring 10 highly promising startup technology firms.

Co-hosted by the Irvine Company at its 4225 Executive Square office property in La Jolla’s prestigious University Town Centre (UTC), the event was highlighted by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for CommNexus’ new headquarters. In what has resulted in a collegial atmosphere with a decidedly high-tech bent, the 18,000-square-foot space houses all 10 of the technology startup companies.

The open house was attended by a wide range of business and civic dignitaries, including NBA legend and Hall of Fame member Bill Walton, San Diego District 1 Councilmember Sherri Lightner, and executives from Qualcomm, Nokia and dozens of other leading companies and organizations.

Founded in 1998, CommNexus is a non-profit high-tech trade organization that provides facilities and comprehensive infrastructure support to San Diego-based early-stage technology firms. Its board of directors comprises a who’s who of industry leaders, with John Major, who is the chairman of Broadcom, at the helm as CommNexus’ chairman. Other members include Tami Erwin, president of Verizon Wireless’ West Area; Bill Davidson, Qualcomm’s senior vice president of global marketing and investor relations; David L. Schlotterbeck, chairman and CEO of CareFusion, and Doug Holte, president of Irvine Company Office Properties.

“As a leading property owner in San Diego County, the Irvine Company is committed to working closely with the region’s business and civic leaders to attract a wide range of emerging industries and companies, evolving the UTC area as a mecca for startup technology companies,” Holte said. “With that important goal in mind, we’re extremely pleased to have the opportunity to provide high-quality office space that enables CommNexus to guide these firms.

“From the Irvine Company’s perspective, it’s very rewarding and exciting for us to be able to play a role in shepherding these firms as they transform their ideas and concepts into products that could dramatically change the way we live.”

In 2009, CommNexus launched EvoNexus, San Diego County’s only community-supported, fully pro-bono technology incubator. Recognizing San Diego’s – and specifically, UTC La Jolla’s – potential as a growth center for the next generation of industries and companies, the Irvine Company formed a strategic partnership with CommNexus to provide the space for the incubator on the fourth floor of the company’s elegant Class A office tower.

“All of the critical pieces needed for UTC La Jolla’s ascension as a destination for emerging industries and companies are in place,” Holte said. “The area offers a large and highly skilled workforce, plus a full spectrum of community amenities to support companies and their employees, including housing, hotels, restaurants, shops, higher education and recreation. It’s bordered by Interstates 5 and 805 and State Route 52, and UC San Diego and Scripps Institute are nearby, making UTC an ideal locale for companies in key industries, including the high-tech and bio-medical fields.”

Holte said the Irvine Company strongly believes San Diego County will continue on its trajectory of becoming one of the nation’s top business destinations and continues to commit significant resources to help the region achieve that goal. “We’ve established a strong local team whose members live and work in San Diego, and who are involved in the community and committed to providing a superb customer experience,” he said.

In addition to office space, firms participating in the EvoNexus incubator receive pro-bono mentoring from leading industry tech executives, as well as equipment and utilities, and guidance and advice from top brokerage, insurance and legal firms. Firms in the incubator represent a broad range of industries and technology services, including the life sciences, defense, bio-medical and wireless.

Last night’s open house included tours of EvoNexus’ facilities and demos from the startup firms in the incubator. “The attendees were amazed by the innovation taking place in that space, to put it mildly,” Holte said. “The atmosphere is nothing short of electric, and it would be difficult to walk away not feeling energized by the creativity and imagination at work.”

The Irvine Company’s involvement in the EvoNexus incubator is part of the company’s historical commitment to encouraging and fostering emerging industries in California. For example, in 1985 the company opened Irvine Spectrum®, which today is widely regarded as one of the world’s largest and best-planned business centers. Since its debut, the 5,000-acre center has been a magnet for emerging and established industries alike and is now home to more than 3,400 companies that employ nearly 80,000 people. Industry leaders located there include Blizzard Entertainment, Verizon Wireless, KPMG, Toshiba America, UBS, Billabong and Taco Bell.

As long ago as the 1960s, the Irvine Company began plans for what today is known as University Research Park (URP) – a 212-acre campus-style business park adjacent to UC Irvine, one of the nation’s top research universities. As planned, URP continues to attract a wide range of innovative companies drawn by the synergism of UC Irvine’s robust research programs and its large pool of potential talent. Broadcom’s national headquarters are there, for example. Other nationally prominent firms in URP include America Online, Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc. and Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Capitalizing on this synergy in URP, Irvine Company Office Properties has joined with UCI, the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Works and others in the creation of the Irvine Incubation Center to assist area entrepreneurs successfully launch high-growth technology companies in the hopes of boosting jobs, the economy and innovation.

At Tuesday night’s open house, EvoNexus announced its first two incubator graduates: IO Semiconductor and ecoATM. IO Semiconductor focuses on applying new technologies to radio frequency devices for the cellular industry. ecoATM has developed “eCycling Stations” that automate the trade-in and buy-back process for mobile phones and other recyclable consumer electronics. The company’s goal is to make the recycling of consumer electronics convenient and profitable for consumers and retailers, in turn significantly increasing participation in environmentally responsible recycling and the flow of used goods into secondary markets that need them. The two graduates will be replaced by others on a waiting list for entry into the incubator.

About the Irvine Company
The Irvine Company is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties, and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management. The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties, and holdings in Northern California. As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important open space and parklands, the company has donated to Orange County more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held, diversified company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.