Vator Splash Conference Celebrates Oakland
With more than 300 businesses and an estimated $242 million in venture capital invested in the last fifteen months, Oakland’s tech community is growing. On May 6th and 7th, the international tech conference Vator Splash convened investors and entrepreneurs in Jack London Square for a start-up competition. Organizers moved the flagship event from San Francisco in recognition of Oakland’s emerging technology cluster. Many Oakland start-ups participated in the competition, including Clef, a mobile security app, and OppSites, a real estate listing app, which won the grand prize. For more information about Oakland’s tech ecosystem, check out LiveWorkOakland.com, an information portal formed through a partnership with The Kapor Center for Social Impact. The site tracks the diversity and depth of tech innovation in Oakland, including a database of technology companies as well as makers, designers, and artisans who are creating and using tech tools.
Oakland a Leader in Community-Based Financing Tools; City Launches Kiva Zip
Microfinance leader Kiva, in partnership with the City, now offers a way to support new businesses and job growth through Kiva Zip, an online crowdfunding tool offering loans to micro-businesses. The City of Oakland is a trustee of Kiva Zip, endorsing loans to small businesses. The loans issued to date have a 100% repayment rate. Recent loan recipients include: OwlNWood, Pollinate, and Loakal/5733. For more information on the program, contact Aliza Gallo, Business Development Manager.
Bootstrapping Women Define Downtown’s New Fashion Retail Cluster
When it comes to defining the look of Downtown Oakland, independent fashion boutiques are gaining on the hyped nightlife — and many of these new businesses are owned and styled by young women. Show & Tell, Owl & Wood, Urban Stitch, and Shoe Groupie are all new boutiques that sell cutting-edge fashion. The boutiques tap into downtown’s energy by hosting First Friday events and a shopping blog that pulls together looks from the different stores is underway. Until then, check out online Oakland style magazine Wear Your Voice.
Foothill Square Opens: More Retail on the Way
In the spring, the City celebrated the re-opening of the Foothill Square Shopping Center in East Oakland and welcomed new tenants to the rebuilt and remodeled mall. The project includes a 75,000-square-foot Foods Co. grocery store, a Ross department store, Anna’s Linens, a Wells Fargo branch and other businesses. Since 2011, over 700,000 square feet of retail has opened in Oakland. This summer, a Sprouts grocery store will break ground on Broadway, and Safeway is expanding in several locations.
The Hive Opens on Broadway
In May, the Hive, a new mixed-use project developed by Signature Development Group, had its official ribbon-cutting. Located in the Uptown neighborhood, the project is home to Impact HUB Oakland, a co-working space offering innovative programs and community events. Other tenants include Numi Tea, Balfour Beatty Construction, Drake’s Brewing Co., Calavera Restaurant, Flynn Architecture, Truve Fitness, and Red Bay Coffee. A second phase of the project will include 104 new apartments. Ahmed Rahim, co-founder and CEO of Numi, explained, “The Hive is about how to live a well-balanced life. Everything a person needs to sustain themselves throughout the day is here.”
Brooklyn Basin Breaks Ground
Brooklyn Basin, a new mixed-use development on Oakland’s waterfront, is under construction. The project includes 3,100 units of housing, 200,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 30 acres of parks and open space. It will also include the renovation of two marinas, extensive wetland renovation and create a new link in the San Francisco Bay Trail. The developers behind Brooklyn Basin include Signature Development Group and Zarsion Holdings Group Ltd., a Chinese investor that committed $1.5 billion to the project. Brooklyn Basin is one of the biggest residential projects in Oakland’s history.
Oakland Establishes Hiring Agreement with CVS Pharmacies
The City has been growing a talent bank through its workforce investment programs and can now offer businesses custom hiring services. The Workforce Development unit has established a Memorandum of Understanding with CVS pharmacies to act as a hiring agency for CVS stores in Oakland, screening applicants through its workforce programs to fill 70 vacant positions. For more information about the program, contact Tamara Walker, Program Analyst.