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Irvine's Sunstone Management Recognized as Founder-Friendly Investors

Sunstone Management Named to Inc.’s 2023 List of Founder-Friendly Investors

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Inc. today announced its fifth annual Founder-Friendly Investors list, honoring the private equity, venture capital, and debt firms with the best track records of success backing entrepreneurs.

Sunstone Management Founder-Friendly InvestorsThe final list recognizes 218 firms that remain actively involved with the businesses they invest in, and that have earned the trust of the entrepreneurs they support to help drive growth.

“Now more than ever, founder-led companies need financing partners that offer guidance, expertise, and understanding—not just capital. These are the private equity, venture capital, and debt firms that have founders’ backs when it comes to accelerating growth,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. Business Media.

“We’re very honored to be part of this prestigious list,” John Keisler, Sunstone’s CEO and Managing Partner, said. “Our Founders are the lifeblood of what we do, and they will shape the future with their innovative solutions and products. It is a joy to walk beside them in that journey.”

Sunstone is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Southern California. It was a founding partner of the Long Beach Accelerator in 2019 and remains the capital partner there. In 2022, Sunstone partnered with Lair East Labs in New York City, and signed a 5-year agreement earlier this year to continue as a capital partner for that accelerator. Earlier this fall, Sunstone signed a letter of intent with the city of Irvine to create a high-tech accelerator there.

In the second quarter 2023 PitchBook rankings, Sunstone was ranked the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and the 18th most active overall.

There currently are 90 early-stage companies in the Sunstone Management portfolio.

Sunstone has a division dedicated to helping Founders continue to advance after completing accelerator programs, and regularly produces Founder Focus profiles that help spread awareness for startup companies. Networking and educational opportunities are hosted, as well.

To compile the list, Inc. went straight to the source: entrepreneurs who have sold to private equity and venture capital firms. Founders filled out a questionnaire about their experiences partnering with private equity, venture capital, and debt firms and shared data on how their portfolio companies have grown during these partnerships.

To see the complete list, go to:

Introduced in 2019, the Founder-Friendly Investors list quickly established itself as one of Inc.’s most resourceful franchises. It has become a go-to guide for entrepreneurs who want to grow their companies while retaining an ownership stake.

The November 2023 issue of Inc. magazine is available online now at and will be on newsstands beginning October 31.

About Inc.

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community they need to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit

About Sunstone Management

Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row.

Connect with Sunstone Management at: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Crunchbase | Pitchbook

Jennifer Huang
Sunstone Management
(562) 732-0617
[email protected]


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