Art Center College of Design Partners With Caltech, Teams With Idealab to Launch First Design-Focused Incubator in Southern

Art Center College of Design Partners With Caltech, Teams With Idealab to
Launch First Design-Focused Incubator in Southern California

"The Design Accelerator" Will Develop Design-Driven Startups

PASADENA, Calif., June 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Art Center College of
Design and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) today announced
the launch of The Design Accelerator, an incubator aimed at helping startups
grow by merging great design, cutting-edge technology and business strategy to
create innovation. The Accelerator initially will be housed within Idealab,
which is well known for creating and operating pioneering companies in its own

"In today's economy, artists and designers play a vital role as creative
leaders and catalysts for innovation and change," said Art Center President
Lorne M. Buchman. "Integrating technology, design and business, The Design
Accelerator creates an opportunity for Art Center and Caltech alumni to expand
on what they learned as students and provides a stimulating space for their
concepts to become viable businesses."

The Accelerator is an integral part of Art Center's 2011–2016 Strategic Plan.
Understanding students' concerns about employment prospects following
graduation, The Accelerator fills a critical gap by giving students and alumni
the opportunity to develop their concepts into sustainable and commercial
ventures—a bridge between academic and professional life.

Fred Farina, Caltech's chief innovation officer, adds, "We know that making
connections across different areas fuels innovation, and that's why we're
excited about this collaboration. The combination of our complementary but
very different perspectives in a startup team promises powerful results."

The Design Accelerator benefits from its prime location in Pasadena, Calif.,
which has become a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship with vibrant
creative, technology and business communities, enriched by the presence of Art
Center, Caltech, angel investors and venture capitalists.

"By virtue of their respective international leadership positions in design
and technology, Art Center and Caltech are ideally positioned to establish a
groundbreaking model with tremendous influence in the business and higher
education sectors," said Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard.

After an extensive application process, The Accelerator has selected promising
early stage, design-driven technology companies from the Art Center and
Caltech communities to participate in the intensive three-month program.
During that period, the fledgling companies will be located in the Pasadena
offices of Idealab, a technology-focused incubator.

Idealab CEO Bill Gross sits on the boards of both Art Center and Caltech and
is thrilled to be part of their partnership. "Having started more than 100
companies," Gross said, "Idealab is excited to help bring The Design
Accelerator to life, further growing the Southern California startup
community. We look forward to sharing with young entrepreneurs the lessons
we've learned from 17 years of starting companies."

Businesses are selected for The Accelerator based on their ability to
demonstrate the value of human-centered design in support of advanced
technologies, and the potential to disrupt the marketplace. Startups in the
first class include a foldable electric bike company, a healthcare company
focused on using 3D scanning and printing to provide custom-fit medical
products and a web-based company that allows consumers to custom design their
own household products.

Leading The Design Accelerator are co-founders Mark Breitenberg and Erik
Hovanec. Breitenberg is the special assistant to the president of Art Center
College of Design and was hired by President Buchman to develop the
initiative. He was formerly the provost at California College of the Arts and
was president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
until 2011. Hovanec has extensive startup experience. He has been the CEO of
LeisureLink, Inc. and was an early executive at both Green Dot Corp. and Services, Inc. He also advises and is an investor in early
stage companies in Los Angeles.

"Great design creates emotional bonds and a seamless experience between
technology and users," said Breitenberg. "Both startups and the venture
community are beginning to recognize the competitive advantage that design
brings to business."

The Design Accelerator is the first among Southern California incubators to
focus on design. According to Hovanec, "We are focused on using the power of
great design to create market disruption, and we believe that markets reaward
disruption. It's the same phenomenon we see with Apple's smart phones or
Pinterest's website."

Teams in The Accelerator's immersive environment will be provided with seed
capital from a related investment fund, as well as professional mentorship in
design and technology drawn from the world-class faculties of Art Center and
Caltech. Mentors in marketing and business strategy from the local community
have also joined the initiative. The companies will employ low-cost startup
methods and have access to Art Center's preeminent rapid prototyping and 3D
modeling facilities. The goal by the end of the three-month term is that each
startup will be positioned to raise larger rounds of funding from angel,
strategic or venture capital investors.

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned science
and engineering research and education institution, where extraordinary
faculty and students seek answers to complex questions, discover new
knowledge, lead innovation, and transform our future.

Caltech's scientific, engineering, and technological contributions have earned
national and international recognition, including the 32 Nobel Prizes awarded
to its faculty and alumni. Caltech offers a rigorous science and engineering
curriculum for approximately 1,000 undergraduates and 1,300 graduate students.
Caltech's 124-acre campus is located in Pasadena, California. The Institute
also manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, and owns and
operates large-scale research facilities such as its world-renowned
seismological laboratory and a global network of astronomical observatories
that includes the Palomar Observatory and the W. M. Keck Observatory. Caltech
is an independent, privately supported university.

Art Center College of Design is a global leader in art and design education.
Art Center offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of art
and design disciplines, as well as public programs for all ages and levels of
experience. Renowned for its ties to industry and professional rigor, Art
Center is also the first design school to receive the United Nations'
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, providing students with
opportunities to create design-based solutions for humanitarian and nonprofit
agencies around the world. During the College's 80-year history, Art Center's
alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and
important issues in our society.

The Design Accelerator and its seed-stage investment fund are for-profit
entities created by Art Center College of Design in partnership with Caltech.

Images: High-resolution images are available for download in this online

CONTACT: Jered Gold
         Art Center College of Design

         Deborah Williams-Hedges
         California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

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