Murrieta Genomics, a genomics sequencing lab, chose Riverside County for its cost-effective real estate and community support. It is a model example of the growing biotech market in Riverside, which has hundreds of start-ups in various tech sectors. Many of these companies have leveraged support from Riverside County's innovation and accelerator programs, including the University of California, Riverside's network of incubator, accelerator, and advisory services.
When Jay Goth, John Powers, and Brandon Young partnered to start a genomics sequencing lab, it was easy to decide on a location. Goth and Young both live in Riverside County, and recognizing the opportunity within the county, chose a location here, and opened Murrieta Genomics at the city-supported Innovation Center. The county is home to a healthy pool of C-suite executives that commute to coastal markets for tech-related jobs; however, start-ups are finding a long list of benefits in the region, including attractive real estate costs and government and community support. Together, these benefits have lured technology entrepreneurs to the market.
“We really liked the fact that the City of Murrieta is very pro-active in trying to attract businesses into the Innovation Center, and there was a financial incentive because the cost of rent is very low,” said Goth, a founding member of the company.
Murrieta Genomics is a model example of the expanding biotech market in Riverside County. The company is one of only two genomics start-up incubators in the country, and it currently has 12 start-up biotech companies under its wing, all of which show real promise of success. Goth says the lab is just gaining momentum. “Our goal is to build companies here from the beginning. I believe that the technology base for life sciences is going to continue to grow,” he says, adding that the lab has received a lot of interest from foreign start-ups looking to expand into the US. “I think this could be another factor that will push the region forward.”
The biotech industry is one of several budding technology subindustries to see substantial growth in recent years. There is a real renaissance blossoming in the region, which is now home to hundreds of companies across various tech sectors—biotech, clean energy, and agricultural and engineering technologies are leading the way. There are innovators like crop optimization company Vinduino, which can save farmers substantially by managing changing climate conditions; HNO Hydrogen Generators, an after-market hydrogen system that can immediately reduce global diesel exhaust gas emissions; and TRIO Pharmaceuticals, a cancer immunotherapeutic company developing dual action drugs. This is just a sampling of the start-up community evolving in Riverside County.
Like Murrieta Genomics, many of these companies have leveraged support from Riverside County’s innovation and accelerator programs. Vinduino works with City of Temecula supported Temecula Valley Entrepreneurs Exchange, and EV Enterprises is growing under the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and Palm Springs iHub. EV Enterprises is a producer of lithium-ion battery components, microelectronic & other related products for electric vehicle applications and more. “Through the CVEP/iHub we received mentoring, introduction to contacts and funding,” says Bill Schlanger, president of EV Enterprises. “The city of Palm Springs has a facility for start-ups that has been a great location for us.”
The University of California, Riverside plays an important role in driving this growth through a network of incubator, accelerator, and advisory services. CE-CERT, OASIS and SCEIN support clean tech developments; EPIC-Small Business Development Center provides support to early-stage start-ups, helping entrepreneurs in the program to secure nearly $35 million in the last two years; and ExCITE works closely with high tech and science start-up companies. “These are a key part of the puzzle,” says Martin Kleckner Interim Director of EPIC-SBDC at UCR. “We are identifying more and more viable companies than ever before.”