In celebration of the budding growth of the city’s tech community, 2.Oakland is holding their annual Technology Innovation Celebration Event tomorrow at Port Workspaces in the Jack London Square area on December 4th.

2.Oakland was originally launched in 2010 by business executives from Pandora, Skytide , Oakland Local, Tech Liminal, and other Oakland start-ups. It was born InOak and renamed 2.Oakland after its rebirth in 2012 with the goal of connecting entrepreneurs and new start-ups to larger technology companies to help water the seeds of Oakland’s tech community.

According to Karen Wertman, co-chair of 2.Oakland, forty one start-up deals have been inked for Oakland in the last year alone, with $510 million worth of funding for them.

“Back when it was InOak, we began doing what we do now, which is networking events as well as education and trying to focus attention on what was a nascent, emerging tech innovation ecosystem,” Wertman said. “What’s really kind of cool is that it’s now gone beyond nascent.”

What started as a small group of volunteers with a tech-forward vision has steadily grown into the beginning stages of a formal non-profit. This year, 2.Oakland has obtained a $30,000 grant that will enable them to produce more programming, like the successful networking events and educational workshops put on by the organization in the past.

According to Wertman, 2.Oakland is really about “nurturing the tech ecosystem” and not only providing stepping stones for start-ups to grow, but also to help relocate business owners to Oakland from the outside. 2.Oakland first and foremost serves as a connector between the ideas of a business and making it a tangible reality.

“Our steering committee members are  passionate and know a ton about Oakland and we all act as connectors ” Wertman said.  “A founder of a tech startup in New York that’s relocating here emailed us recently asking about where to live and we can guide him to good resources. Also, people may not know that Oakland has one of the largest Enterprise Zones in the state and certain businesses can qualify for tax credits; We know exactly who in the city to talk to about that.”

Trying to start a business in Oakland also has its financial perks. According to Felix Stuckey, 2.Oakland co-chair, Oakland’s affordable real estate compared to its neighbors in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Area and the many start-ups relocating to the East Bay has created a climate that attracts angel investors, or individuals who invest considerable amounts of money in start-ups.

“We’re attempting to create an envrionment that helps these people talk to each other and network,” Stuckey said. “We talk to small businesses about anything from private property to  corporations and funding around becoming public.”

Get tickets to the event here

About The Author

Natalie Meier is currently writing about issues in public health, tech and small business innovation as a freelance contributor for Oakland Local. Meier is a senior at Mills College studying English and Journalism and is also cross-registered at UC Berkeley. She currently interns for ABC7 News in San Francisco and has written for The Daily Californian, Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), StuVoice, and KALW.

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